In the PADI Open Water Diver course, students are taught to drop their weights in order to gain sufficient positive buoyancy.
This skill is used in case of a surface emergency where the diver can’t float.

It has become one of the key exercises that candidates practice teaching on the PADI Instructor Development Course.


In Water Practice

It is important that students kick constantly to keep their head out of the water while performing this exercise.

They must drop their weight system (belt or weight pockets) in one movement and not hand it to anyone or put it on the pool side.

This video shows our Course Director Guillaume Fargues demonstrating the skill with the weight belt option. If the students are using integrated weight pockets, they may only have to ditch one pocket to become positively buoyant.

If they are still not positively buoyant, they can inflate their BCD orally, as if they were out of air.




This exercise can be performed in confined or open water where it can also be combined with the Controlled Emergency Swimming Ascent.

Many dive centers are concerned about the impact of falling weights on the bottom of their swimming pool. Some will use soft weights just for this skill. Others have devised different systems from padding the bottom to clipping the weight belt onto a float so it doesn’t actually fall when removed.

NOTE From Our Course Director


“The objective in the PADI Instructor Manual states that this skill should be performed with a deflated BCD. In some languages, it even says fully deflated. This has been cause for debate between many Instructors.

I personally like to ask students to deflate their BCD completely when they perform this skill.  This puts them in a more realistic situation where they are compelled to kick to keep their head out of the water. You can ask them to have their regulator in their mouth for safety reasons in case they sink. If out of air in a real life situation, they would take it out to catch a breath.”


Please message me if you have any questions.


Guillaume Fargues

PADI Course Director #482749



You can watch more skill demonstrations on our YouTube Channel.

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