Basic Weighting Guidelines

Additional Information

Basic Weighting Guidelines

Basic weight guess for average build individual in salt water — decrease weight somewhat for lean individuals and increase for heavier individuals.

                               EXPOSURE SUIT TYPE                                 START WITH

                         Swim suit/dive skin                                           1–4 lbs

                         3mm 1piece full wet suit                                  5% of body weight

                         5mm two piece wet suit                                   10% of body weight

                         7mm wetsuit w/ hood & gloves                   10% of body weight, plus 3–5 lbs

                         Neoprene dry suit                                               10% of body weight, plus 7–10 lbs

                         Shell dry suit, light undergarment              10% of body weight, plus 3–5 lbs

                         Shell dry suit, heavy under garment          10% of body weight, plus 7–14 lbs

If you are diving in the tropics in a full 3mm suit and you are average build and weigh 150 lbs, you start out with 7.5 lbs of lead.  You then add or subtract as you feel your buoyancy.  (At depth of around 20 ft or so, feel your BC and see how much air you are adding to it to be neutral.)

(This is what you use if you already have been diving and have established your buoyancy in either fresh or salt water.  You add or subtract these amounts from what you are currently diving.  In other words, if I have been diving in Waldo Lake with 22 lbs, and I go to Hood Canal, I need to add about 6 lbs of lead to compensate for the salt water or vice versa.)

                                                                                                    Add (going to salt)
                    BODY WEIGHT                                        Subtract (going to fresh)


                               100- 125                                                                   4lbs

                               126- 155                                                                    5lbs

                               156- 186                                                                    6lbs

                               187- 217                                                                   7lbs

(Adventures in Diving Manual, PADI, 2001, p.213)