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Adjusting the backplate/harness

by GUE Instructor Cody Gardner (inactive) and Peter Steinhoff.

  It's important to have the harness properly adjusted. It doesn't have to be super tight but it shouldn't be sloppy either. This is a guideline that will help you get it right.

If you are tall like me, (6'5", 1.95m) you may need to wear the backplate slightly lower than in the pictures.

When you do the adjustments try to wear something of similar thickness to your underwear or wetsuit.

Adjustment checklist:
  • Make sure the harness is properly weaved.
  • Adjust the length of the shoulder straps.
  • Adjust the height of the shoulder D-rings.
  • Check that it's evenly adjusted.
  • Adjust the waist strap.
  • Adjust the left D-ring.
  • Adjust the length of the crotch strap.
  • Adjust the back D-ring.
1. Is the harness properly weaved?
Before we start, make sure you have the harness properly weaved. It should be a one-piece harness and it must be weaved like this to work.
  2. The length of the shoulder straps.
Adjust the harness so that you can easily reach back and touch the upper part of the plate. The top of the plate should be an inch or so below your prominent vertebra (the one that sticks out). Don't put on the crotch strap or waist belt just yet.

3. Placement of the shoulder D-rings.
Extend your arms and close your eyes. Make sure your thumbs touch the D-rings when you bring your arms in.

Make sure the D-rings aren't too low - they will restrict your range of motion otherwise.



4. Make sure that the right and left side are the same.
Double-check that you got the same shoulder strap length on both sides and that the D-rings are placed in the same spot. Adjust if necessary.

5. Adjust the waist strap.
The waist strap shouldn't be too tight and it should never restrict your breathing. Make sure the buckle is on your right side. You can place it all the way back to hold the canister light in place but most people use a second buckle for that.

Weave the buckle like this:



6. Adjust the left D-ring.
Align it with the center of your body.

7. Adjust the crotch strap.
The crotch strap should be fairly loose. Pull on it and make it an inch (25mm) longer than what it takes to reach the waist strap.

If you are not flying scooters, you can stow your D-ring like this. We don't do that any more. Always keep the D-ring deployed.


8. Adjust the back D-ring.
Sometimes you need to clip things to your back D-ring. Put it as high as possible but not under your tanks.

Tips and tricks
If you intend to scooter I recommend fixating your crotch strap with bolts or by sewing when you are satisfied with the adjustments. Several people have had the crotch strap come undone on serious dives.

Now you are all set up!
Happy diving!

(C) Peter Steinhoff 2002-2006
Updated 2006-08-30

This page was last modified 29 August 2006

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