Vintage Scuba: The First Buoyancy Compensators – S01E04

Alec shows the first devices that started the evolution to today’s functional, comfortable and reliable Buoyancy Compensators (BCs).

*** In this episode of Vintage Scuba ***
– “SCUDA” – Self Contained Underwater DRINKING Apparatus!
– a modern Oceanic Biolite BCD with its key diving features
– surface life vests were commonly called “Mae West” or “horse collar” vests, not used underwater
– Alec inflates an early “Healthways” surface vest with its CO2 cartridge
– a “SwimMaster” surface vest with new zippers, pockets, still with CO2 surface inflation
– a “SeaTec” with its new over-pressure release valve
– a “Aqua Lung” by U.S. Divers, one of the first true BC’s with the new underwater “oral inflator/deflator”
– a Sherwood 1970’s BC vest with the new “low power inflator” attachment
– a BC with a built in scuba tank to power inflate the BC only
– a “SeaPro” 1970’s jacket BC with built-in weight holder (filled with lead shot & marbles!!!), plus a quick release

Alec knows there are few ideas in diving today that are truly new. They may use better materials, better designed, more reliable, but are not always totally new. That’s what makes this series so interesting.

***** Alec Peirce Scuba *****

▶︎ Series 6:
▶︎ Series 5:
▶︎ Series 4:
▶︎ Series 1, 2 & 3:

▶︎ Series 3:
▶︎ Series 2:
▶︎ Series 1:

▶︎ Series 2:
▶︎ Series 1:



respt46 says:

Hi Alec. I’ve seen some brand new horse collar bcs with factory power inflators and I’d really like to get one. Is there a reason why modern or new divers should NOT use them? Are they suitable for the same kind of dives as modern bcs? Thank you in advance.

Connor lynch says:

Did you ever make a video of you cleaning the knife in the #4 tech tip

Miguel Gerov says:

Alec, thank you!

Bernd Nies says:

In Switzerland those horse collar style bcd’s were called “Schiissideggl” (Swiss german for “Klodeckel”), meaning toilet seat in english.

Taselukaneta says:

How you said that I don’t really want to search up Mae West

Alain Dumesny says:

you missed a BC between the CO2 and the power inflator. When I started diving (35+ years ago), our over the head vest had a small bottle in the front that you filled from your tank before diving, that you manually opened to fill your vest as you dove. Just a mini tank for the vest – later we had a spare breather on it as a backup air tank as we dove until we ran out of air and pulled the double tank reserved that signalled time to go up and decompress! good times.

Jacob Fay says:

Really good / interesting video as usual, thank you Alec.

Jim Schnurr says:

Hi Alec:  I ran into these about a month ago and have been fascinated ever since. I have really learned a lot since I am a new-old diver getting back into the sport. Thanks, Jim

Karl Marx says:

Cool!!! thanks!

TheOldManEric says:

SCUDA, Great for beer…. That’s all we drink here in Australia. And I just love the idea of having yet another thing to get tangled up with.


Thank you Alec !

E-Boat tanit says:

Great info as alway. Love your show

Robert Righter says:

Since the scuda is such a hard find might have to delve into those prototyping skills my grandfather instilled in me and make my own especially since the swallow method makes is easier for me to clear


Thank you Alec !

José Luis Rosales says:

great video! Thanks…and What about the single and double bcds wings?

Pavel Jedlička says:

Hey Alec, I love your videos, but honestly, Kevin should do something with his video shooting technic. I am little bit dizzy at 2:36 already 🙂

Army Davis says:

Hey Alec peirce can you do a video on backplates?

Alex Ceric says:

They still make the underwater drinking device, but with modern techniques. Here is one:

FGO says:

Great video, very interesting

Slick85 says:

Gives new meaning to losing your marbles 🙂

Flatdog Sound & Light says:

Hi Alec great video , a friend of mine in Quebec have a backpack hard shell with the weight integrated it was nice I just can’t remember the name of it ,kind of Cousteau styles , I start diving about 30 years ago and quit after 2/3 years but now I am retired and live in Baja’s close to Cabo pulmo it come back often in my mind to do it again at least here you can see what is in front of you , keep the mojo Alec and Kevin .

Tom Knudsen says:

Hi Alec, thanks for showing and describing this to us. I was watching this video after yours and got to wonder; It seems to me the double regulator with venting in the back is better thant the system we use today, could you elaborate on this when you get to the regulator part.. You do not get boubles that blows up your hood and you could in fact have a camera like gopro on your mask. Why did they move away from that system Alec?

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