Frequently Asked Questions – Side Mount

What is side mount diving?

Side mount diving is mounting one cylinder on each side of your body. It is used mostly by cave divers for exploring into restrictive underwater cave passage that isn’t accessible by standard back mounted cylinders. A BC harness system is responsible for holding the cylinders in place on your side.

What are the advantages of side mount diving?

Side mount configurations allowed the diver to maneuver through much smaller passage by placing the cylinders on the divers side, thus reducing the overall girth of the diver. Side mount rigs also allowed for the easy removal and replacement of cylinders underwater, enabling the hard-core cave explorer to squeeze through even smaller restrictions by removing one or both of the cylinders and pushing the cylinder in front of them through the restriction.

Do you need a special certification to side mount dive?

No, you don’t need a side mount certification; however using a side mount system does require training and practice. Before diving a side mount system in a cave, practice in open water to get your buoyancy, technique, and kicking technique correct.

Do you need special equipment to side mount dive?

You need a special BC harness system that accommodates attaching a cylinder to both sides of your body. You need two cylinders, two regulators, and two pressure gauges. There are a couple of manufactures such as Dive Rite that uses the Transpac system and Advanced Diver Magazine that makes the Armadillo system. Proper sized tanks, such as steel 80s are extremely important for proper technique. Using large steel tanks are cumbersome and difficult to swim. Tank valves with a left and right handed post are also important so that it’s easy to access the valves when diving.

How much does side mount equipment cost?

A side mount BC harness system can cost $450 to $550.