BC, Oceanic Pro FX BC

Hours of entertainment
THE RECENTLY INTRODUCED OCEANIC OCEAN PRO FX is a conventional-style BC that I can foresee being well-received in the British diving market. It has a comfortable back cushion and an elasticated cummerbund, three ways to dump air, including a valve integrated with its corrugated hose, four stainless-steel D-rings including two big ones at the shoulders, and two easily accessed and capacious zipped pockets.
     Its integrated-weight system is excellent. This includes two large pockets (big enough for around 3kg each) at the upper rear for trim-weights. These prove handy when used with an aluminium tank .
     Then there are large curved weight-pouches at the front. These are closed up with large helpings of Velcro before being inserted into slots in the BC. They are held in place not only by Velcro but through a new Oceanic retention system. This includes a pinch-clip that levers open in a moment by pulling on the rigidly fixed toggle provided.
     I managed to load 10kg of lead in the front with absolutely no danger of any falling out when I was not expecting it.
     The integrated weight system is optional. Should you choose not to use it, flaps are provided that close up the slots so that they provide no drag under water, nor any risk of entanglement.
     I carried a lot of lead, which made the full rig hard to pick up, but once it was on my back I found it extremely comfortable, and in the water there was none of that swimming with saddle-bags effect I have encountered with some similar BCs.
     Pulling the weights out when I wanted to was a doddle. There was no doubt about the release and I was even able to reinstall the weights easily while under water, after that simple test.
     It was actually slightly harder in the dry on the deck of the boat. This system would afford a slick method of passing up your weights to someone in an inflatable.
     I tend to dump air by using the right-hand shoulder dump, but found the toggle on this dump cord a little irritating, because it floated. After jumping into the water from the boat it was often caught up under the shoulder strap and at other times it was hard to find. I suggest that Oceanic substitute this for a negatively buoyant ball that hangs down just where you expect it to be. Otherwise, the BC released air without any drama and without any sign of air getting trapped inside it.
     At the surface it provided masses of support but when fully inflated it put me into a bear-hug that was less than comfortable long before the pressure-relief valve blew off. That means that the buoyancy cell expands both outwards and inwards, whereas some BCs expand only away from the wearer.
     Oceanic also supplies a neat little pocket that seems ideal for a rolled-up delayed SMB. This too is held closed by masses of Velcro.
     I had the optional Personal Safety Device (PSD), a two-colour orange/yellow 1.5m safety sausage that is inflated similarly to an aircraft lifejacket. It comes with a long strap and pinch-clip, so once inflated can be attached, at the surface, to a waiting divers waist. It also has a zip so that it can be turned into the equivalent of a lifebelt or even rigged in such a way that it can be used like old-fashioned water-wings.
     If you find yourself with time to spare while waiting for your pick-up boat, it offers hours of amusement!
Other divers commented that it looked a little bulky on me, though I felt it fitted snugly. I certainly had no qualms about using it. £286 (PSD £25 extra).

  • Oceanic SW 01404 891819,

  • Divernet
         + Secure integrated- weight system
    + Comfortable

    - A little bulky
    - Floaty dump toggle