Hi there! We're new divers in New England. Actually, I was certified back in 1971 when I was 15 and was "refreshed" 4wks ago in Ixtapa, Mexico while my partner got the PADI Basic Scuba Diver cert (soon to be an Open Water Diver, too)!!!
Within the last 3 weeks, we've been to every dive shop within 50 miles, having heard all kinds of opinions (that's okay) - some agree, some don't....so our heads are in a bit of a spin!! We've got 3mil wetsuits, masks, & snorkels already and have bought some addt'l equipment, while still searching for the rest. We'll put our kits together for up here (obviously means new wetsuits) and will dive here (cold) and, when we can, on vaca. (tropics).
I do have a question (one??) for you wise folks. We had connected with a dives hop/dive master who we thought we liked well enough. However, he is ADAMANTLY opposed to back flotation bcs and jumped all over us because I had purchased a .... backflotation bc - the Sherwood Tortuga, to be exact. We certainly had heard his concerns ... and picked the brains of all the shops we went to. They ALL said "floating face down" is a matter of how the bc is trimmed out and that the general concern over being forced face down just shouldn't be an issue. I also have MS and equipment weight is very much a concern. Not only is the Tortuga more comfortable (for me) but it's also lighter. We have now found a new dive shop (and will move away from the other as we can.....yeah, there are some extenuating circumstances) but I really don't want to take the bc back just because of what this 1 guy has said....provided it can be trimmed out correctly and be safe. What do you guys think? Does it make a difference that I am an "amply endowed" female, over 50, and of good, solid German-stock Oh, and was carrying 24# on a belt in the Mexican waters.