Your body becomes quite buoyant in salt water after you’ve suited up in 7 millimeters of neoprene from head to toe. Free divers use weight belts to dive deep without having to fight too hard.
The ocean is already scary enough, but adding weight to your body can be something that is tough to get comfortable with. There are many calculations of how much weight you’ll need, and to get started with an idea I would head to divebuddy.com’s weight calculator.
That should give you an idea of where to start. The only way to really know is to get into the water, swim around and try a few dives. If it’s really hard to get deep then you don’t have enough weight. If you sink too easily you’ll need to pull off some weight.
Once you’ve got a decent idea of how much weight you’ll need, you need to decide on a weight belt.
There are two types of abalone diving weight belts. The type that you lace lead weights through and the type that has pockets that hold bags of lead weight.
The laced type of belt makes it harder to add and subtract weight as you try to dial it in. You have to strip the weight completely off of the belt and may have to take off other pieces of weight.
POCKET WEIGHT BELT
The pocket type of belt makes it easy to swap in and out different bags of lead to get it feeling good.
Here is an example of a pocket weight belt by XS Scuba:
Here are the XS Scuba weight bags you can use with the belt:
LACE THROUGH WEIGHT BELT
Here are two examples of lace through, nylon weight belts:
This is what lace through weights look like:
Ask your friends what type of belt they prefer and then go for one.
You can find the rest of my gear recommendations in the checklist here.