Appeared in DIVER June 2006

BC Seac Sub Pro Lady
There was a time when a man did what he had to do and a woman made the sandwiches. Now, despite what some beer-drinkers in Rotherham might tell you, times have changed. Women do what they want to do and men still have to do what they have to. That includes diving.
Dont think I have wimped out of my responsibilities. I still take all the major decisions in my household. I decide whether George Bush should have been re-elected or whether Tony should have committed our armed forces to Iraq and Afghanistan. My wife makes minor decisions such as where we live, what we eat, what we wear and where we go on holiday.
Diving manufacturers have only just caught up with this latest state of affairs. They are starting to realise that women are just as likely to jump into the water as their menfolk, and have their own hard-earned money to spend.
They are just beginning to realise too, that women are not simply shorter men with bigger bottoms. Women are often an entirely different shape.
Women often have narrow waists and squashy, sensitive chest areas. The Seac Sub Pro 2000 BC captured the hearts and minds of many of our readers and was even voted among the all-time top 25 items of diving kit on Divernet.

Shapely back
Now Seac Sub has revamped its BC, including a vastly improved integrated-weight retention-and-release system. On top of that, the forward-thinking Italian company has introduced the Pro Lady.
What are the differences Well the Pro Lady has a backpack that is fully adjustable for height as well as girth, hidden behind a shapely cushion. I say shapely, because it is contoured to fit a shapely back. The single-tank camband has a choice of positions to allow a long tank to be worn on a shorter person. A number of strong fabric loops do the job of otherwise heavy D-rings.
The conventional inverted-T-shaped buoyancy cell is independent of the harness, so there is no uncomfortable torso squeeze when the BC is fully inflated at the surface.
Air is introduced by the normal direct feed, but with a very nice pistol-style inflator mechanism.
You can dump air either by pulling on the corrugated hose to activate a dump-valve at its top, or on a toggle attached to a lanyard that operates a dump valve at the opposite side.
The lanyard is threaded through a flexible plastic tube to a point at the front of the shoulder facing. Both dump-valves are positioned at the very top of the buoyancy cell - so no drama there.
The buoyancy cell itself is made from 1000 denier nylon contained within a 1000-denier cordura outer shell.
The harness attaches well to the back of the waist to avoid compressing the chest. It has a couple of normal-sized D-rings and two little ones.
A novel feature is the elastic octopus-holder. The harness has kind material added to the area that might otherwise rub on an unprotected neck. There is also a sternum strap. This is thoughtfully long enough to stop the shoulder straps slipping but without putting pressure on the upper chest area.
This brings us to the integrated-weight system. Unlike the Pro 2000, the Pro Lady has no trim-weight pockets at the back. Perhaps because aluminium cylinders are so long compared to the height of the average woman, the designer thought trim-weights were unnecessary.
The front weight-pouches (an optional extra) now use Seac Subs own quick-release buckle system in addition to a healthy slab of velcro to keep them securely stowed. It takes quite a bit of effort to drag the weights free to pass up to a waiting pick-up boat, but I couldnt find any woman who would admit to not being strong enough to do it easily.
Each weight-pouch has its own strap and buckle midway, enabling the user to choose whether to have a half-load of lead towards the front or rear of the pouch. The pouches take a maximum of 4kg each. Most experienced women divers I know use precious little lead and even less air.
Finally, the Seac Sub Pro Lady has two pockets that are readily accessed thanks to zips that are easy to find and pull.
This BC is a well thought-out bit of kit. Its maximum buoyancy when fully inflated for use at the surface is not amazingly great at only 7kg in size XS, but because it is positioned low down, all the lift is put to good effect.
I am told that this BC is very comfortable when compared to one designed with a male diver in mind.
The Seac Sub Pro Lady is available in sizes XS, S, M and L, and costs£325. Integrated weight pouches,£24 extra.
  • Beaver Sports 01484 512354,

  • Divernet Divernet
    + Carefully designed to suit women divers

    - No trim-weight pockets