Weightbelt, IST Weightbelt

My favourite weightbelt
FIFTEEN YEARS AGO, I EQUIPPED A LITTLE DIVE CENTRE I ran in Mallorca with SeaQuest weightbelts. I chose them because they were the best I had ever encountered.
     When I sold up, I kept some of the belts but, being the forgetful person I am, I had a tendency on my travels to leave them with the weights I had borrowed at overseas dive locations. Two years ago, I left the last of the bunch of these SeaQuest weightbelts at Small Hope Bay, on Andros in the Bahamas.
     I got on to Aqua-Lung UK, the British distributor of SeaQuest products, with the idea of buying a couple more, but to my disappointment I was told that SeaQuest had not made them for years. So when I went back to Small Hope Bay this year, the first question I asked when I got there was this: did they still have my weightbelt
     To my delight, I found that the resident dive-guide was using it. As he reluctantly unthreaded his weights and handed it back, he too admitted that it was the best weightbelt he had ever used. Perhaps I should have been more generous and let him keep it but - tough!
     To my delight, I have discovered that IST, the Taiwanese manufacturer, is now making a weightbelt of the same design and that the IST distributor (the former distributor of SeaQuest products in the UK) had just started importing a consignment.
     Alas, I didnt get there in time, but I am told that there are more on the way. So heres a review of a 15-year-old weightbelt made with the assumption that you will be able to buy the IST product by the time you read about it.
     Its made from the usual 5cm-wide webbing and you thread the weights on in the usual way. Its important that you use the two H-clips provided at either end of the line of weights to prevent them sliding onto the buckle.
     One end of the buckle is threaded back on itself and the loose end of webbing can be tugged on to pull the weightbelt tight. This can be done easily at depth, when your suit may be compressed and the belt in danger of slackening its grip on your waist. It can be kept tidy by threading through an extra slotted piece of plastic.
     The buckle has a rigid loop that is hooked onto the opposing part of the other half of the buckle. This opposing part has a short loose end finished off with a toggle. Although the whole thing clunks together very firmly, pulling on this short toggle, normally secured out of the way with a patch of Velcro, affords an instant release.
     I can tell you that the weightbelt photographed here has endured 15 years of heavy use, including virtually two or three dives a day without break in the past two years, without providing any problems. However, I must remind myself that when I first used it back at the Inland Sea site in Gozo, I stupidly dispensed with the H-clips. The weights slipped round to the front and pushed the quick-release buckle open.
     It did this just at the moment I had decided to remove my mask and swap it for another. Im sure George Vella of the Calypso Diving Centre will remember the scene well, as I swam round blindly at 30m looking for the weightbelt.
The IST weightbelt is remarkably cheap at between £6 and £10. Thats a lot less than the SeaQuest version was all those years ago, and theres not much in diving that costs so little. Rest assured, I will send a replacement back to the dive-guide at Small Hope Bay.

  • Sea & Sea 01803663012,

  • Divernet Divernet
    + The most secure but instantly releasable weightbelt ever
    + Very inexpensive

    - Takes a little time to thread the weights on