The living human body tends to float. This is especially true when you drop in saltwater more than freshwater. But the general rule of thumb is if you relax your body and stop thrashing about, you will rise to the surface and stay there.
This scientific fact answers our main question today and makes it imperative that you don’t go spearfishing without a weight belt. Whether you’re spearfishing in fresh or saltwater, a lake or the great ocean, you need a weight belt to help you get underwater and remain in the company of the fishes. Otherwise, you’ll be struggling to dive, lurk, and give chase to your targets.
But now more questions crop up. If you need a weight belt to go spearfishing, what is the ideal weight? And which material works best for you? How about the costs? And most importantly, how do you secure that heavy belt around your waist in a way that it doesn’t drag you to the bottom or hinder your mobility underwater? We answer all these questions here.
Why Do I Need a Weight Belt?
We already talked about your buoyant body. The chest cavity and the air in your lungs both keep you afloat even if you don’t use your arms and legs to kick the water. Add another element that makes you lighter than a feather and that’s your wetsuit.
Spearfishing puts you in the kind of situation where you need to against the laws of physics and give gravity some traction. How you make it easier for gravity to pull you down is to increase your mass by wrapping a weight belt around your slender waist.
Even if you discard the diving suit altogether and decide to meet the fish head-on with nothing but a skimpy speedo. Even then, you still will find it hard to stay underwater. This is why divers, be it the ones going underwater to dig for gold or amateurs who want to get a glimpse of the teeming life under the surface, they all have to weigh themselves down with a few extra pounds of lead.
Not to mention that the fins and other traps of the diving suit are usually too light to keep you submerged. If anything, they make you float. If you throw your fins in the water, they’ll float. Because of all these factors, a weight belt is simply a necessity more than an accessory if you want to get underwater.
How Much Weight Do I Need for Spearfishing?
To answer this question fully we need to get a little bit technical. So bear with me here. For most people, their buoyancy point is between 3 and 5 feet underwater. The buoyancy point is the depth at which if you let yourself be, you will naturally go up to the surface. Your buoyancy point is impacted by your body weight, the salinity in the water, and the temperature among other things.
The air in your lungs increases your buoyancy point and so does the wet suit, flippers, and other light accessories you carry on your body. As long as you are within that depth you will be kicking about trying to stay underwater. If you go deeper and cross that point you will sink.
When you add extra weight using the weight belt you make it easier to drop to the depth you desire without having to fight the tendency to float back to the surface. So how much weight you need depends on the depth you wish to dive to. Keep in mind that you’re not trying to push yourself to the bottom of the sea. You’re just trying to stay floating at a certain depth.
The golden rule of the weight you need is to get the thickness of your diving suit and add 2 to it to get the weight in kilograms. For example, a 3mm thick suit means you need 5 kilograms of weight and so on.
If you’re new to spearfishing or diving in general and not sure how much weight you need, you can experiment with 2 pounds of weight to start with and see how deep it will push your buoyancy point. Add more weight incrementally as you venture deeper.
How to Set up Your Weight Belt When You Go Spearfishing?
No matter how warm the water you go spearfishing in, it always gets colder the deeper you dive. This has to do with the lack of sun penetrating the murky waters as well as the currents of the ocean. This makes it almost always mandatory to put on a diving suit to keep you warm.
This is where it gets tricky. The wetsuit is made of light material that makes you more buoyant. This all leads to the necessity of the weight belt. It balances your weight at a certain depth and saves you the effort of wasting your air and energy trying to stay below. And that’s where the weight belt comes in.
Once you’ve settled on the right weight for your depth as we explained in the previous section, it’s time to secure those weights around your waist. The weights are usually made of lead as it resists corrosion in saltwater. Thread the weights one at a time into the belt and keep them at equal distance.
Now secure the belt around your waist and make sure the weights don’t budge. It’s important to keep the weight well distributed around your waist so it doesn’t interfere with your buoyancy and movement.
Weight Belt Materials
In general, weight belts come in two varieties: either rubber or nylon. Each has its advantages and drawbacks. But before we get to that, it’s important that you invest in a weight belt with a quick-release buckle. We can’t stress enough the importance of having to dump the extra weight in a hurry and rush to the surface.
Rubber belts are by the far the best option. They tend to stay in place, are easy to secure, and don’t react to the water. This makes them more durable and convenient especially since they have to literally carry a lot of weight. The only drawback to these belts is their high price. But when you’re relying on something like a weight belt to keep your underwater, it’s worth it to pay a little more.
Nylon weight belts are cheap but you get what you pay for. Once you’re underwater, they are hard to keep in place. They would slip down under the weight and you’ll need to adjust them all the time. If you make a sudden lurch to the left they automatically shift to the right with all the weights. This can put you off balance quickly.
Rubber belts are recommended and we chose many brands below as examples of good weight belts that do the job.
Choosing Your Weight Belt for Spearfishing
As you might expect the market is filled with many weight belt options to suit all tastes and needs. Sometimes you might be tempted to just pick one and go with it hoping it will be the right one for you. But that would be a mistake. Here are a few standards to help you pick the one that works for you:
- The Buckle: choose a belt with a quick-release buckle rather than a clasp. Clasps can be tricky to release.
- Size: a good belt will have a one size fits all. It won’t require much adjusting and fits around your waist without shifting all the time underwater.
- Pocket: as a spearo, you’ll need a weight belt with a pocket to keep your camera, krill, or any shells you find underwater.
- Weight Belt Keeper: It keeps the weights in place and prevents them from sliding to the left or right which can play havoc with your balance underwater and thwart off your aim.
Spearfishing Weight Belt Cost
To give you a good idea of what kind of weight belts you can find we compiled this list of the most popular products based on their quality and user feedback. Here are the top 5 weight belts and what makes each one exceptional.
1. SEAC Nylon Buckle Rubber Belt
It costs $18.85 on Amazon and has high elastic properties that make it fit around your waist whether you’re moving or standing still. It expands and shrinks as you distort your body and becomes part of the wetsuit. The belt has a corrosion-resistant nylon buckle with a quick-release mechanism. The 51-inch belt is suitable both for weight blocks or soft lead threaded into the belt.
2. Cressi Weight Belt
At only $18.59 the Cressi Weight Belt is not only cheaper but also specially designed for spearfishing and free diving. It is made of woven nylon and has a quick-release stainless steel buckle. This Italian brand has been around since 1948 and has a long history with diving gear including weight belts. The riveted buckle pin makes it easy to secure the belt without the need to readjust it as you chase your target fish.
3. Scuba Choice Spearfishing Free Dive Heavy Duty Rubber Weight Belt
This belt is slightly more expensive than the previous two. It costs $25 on Amazon. It comes in two sizes: 53 inches and 61 inches. Made of heavy-duty rubber, the belt adjusts to the varying pressure underwater and keeps the weights secure around your waist as you dive deeper underwater. The stainless steel buckle is sturdy and worth every cent you sink into it.
4. Riffe Rubber Weight Belt
The Riffe weight belt is $30 on Amazon and comes in one size. At 53 inches you can cut off the extra length to fit your size. The nylon buckle is filled with glass to give you extra weight. The weight capacity of the belt is 20 pounds but you’ll hardly need to load it to capacity.
5. Riffe Marseilles Rubber Weight Belt
The last weight belt on our list also comes from Riffe and costs $48 on Amazon. The roller buckle and the rubber belt fit snugly around your wetsuit and keep your weights in place. At 4mm thick, it comes in one size, 57 inches.
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