Appeared in DIVER August 2008

John John Bantin has been a full-time professional diving writer and underwater photographer since 1990. He makes around 300 dives each year testing diving equipment.


THERE ARE STILL CERTAIN THINGS in our lives that are accepted as being conventional. Houses with the living rooms downstairs and the bedrooms above; cars with the engines at the front, driving wheels at the back; telephones connected to the phone system by hard wires - all are examples of what is orthodox.
They are not necessarily the best solution but we know that they function well.
The Effesub Basic BC is a very conventional item but it does its job well and seems to be strongly made.
This might be important, considering the heavy use given to bits of diving equipment by those who didnt remember the pain of buying them.
Primarily aimed at the busy diving school or on-site rental market, this BC has its size clearly marked for instant recognition.
It has a normal inverted-T-shaped buoyancy cell, three dump valves and two enormous pockets with straight diagonal zips.
Zipped pockets are important to diving instructors who might find that they need to add a little lead to an otherwise under-weighted trainee. Such pockets can hold an extra kilo or two securely, if only temporarily, and this is important, as I found on a recent dive trip when a diver above me inverted to descend and showered weights from a less well-secured pocket onto me.
Luckily they all missed and I was uninjured, but it was a heart-stopping moment for those
who witnessed it.
I continued on my way, blissfully unaware of my close call.

If it wasnt comfortable, you wouldnt expect people to use BCs like this, or manufacturers to make them. The Effesub Basic was OK.

A single stainless-steel D-ring takes care of one item that a diver might want to dangle. There are other small plastic D-rings, but these are more useful for attaching hose clips for neat hose-routeing than for dangling anything substantial.
Under water, air for buoyancy control migrates to the highest point in the BC, which
is normally behind the neck at the shoulders. So a conventional BC is as efficient in providing a comfortable posture in the water as any other design, including any wing-style BC.
The direct-feed control seemed very efficient and squirted loads of air in quickly when it was needed. A dump valve at the lower back was easy to locate for quick head-down descents.
Even though it had a long cord with a toggle that could roam around, it never got entangled.

Control of Ascent
A dump valve at the top left shoulder had a cord and toggle threaded through to the front, where it was easily located. You could also dump air simply by pulling on the corrugated hose, and it was progressive and easy to regulate.
I tucked this away under the sternum strap so that I knew exactly where it was at all times, and was never tempted to lift it and dump air through the oral inflation valve, thereby filling the BC with water that would need to be emptied later.

Surface Support
Surface support was not as massive as some instructors would like their trainees to enjoy. It lifted the diver vertically in the water and my shoulders were well clear of the water, but its design does suggest that this BC is intended for those who surface in benign conditions rather than breaking waves.
You could argue that schools should not be taking less experienced divers out in rough weather but, for example, surface conditions in the Mediterranean can change during the interval under water. It certainly inflated quickly when the time came.

Ease of Removal
Taking off this BC when the time came was straightforward. Simply unclipping the waist-strap and cummerbund, the sternum-strap and a shoulder-strap on the left side enables the user to swing it off the shoulder, while still keeping the regulator in the mouth should this be necessary.
This BC enjoys the simplicity of a clean and uncluttered design.

Mares Origin Sport, £180
Scubapro T-Sport, £249
Frog Cobalt, £280

Divernet Divernet
Zipped pocket
-dump - M indicates the size for convenience at dive centres.

STYLE Conventional
MAX LIFT IN SIZE M Approx 12kg
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