Z-Side-Mount is a standardized system of Side-Mount diving that includes our roots of DIR/Hogarthian diving and yet incorporates and adheres to our UTD Principles and Convenants. - It is Scalable, Consistent, Integrated and Minimalistic*.
Side-Mount diving places the scuba cylinders under your arm/s, instead of mounting it or them on your back. The Z-Side-Mount System is a standardized configuration that allows you to realize the liberation and ease associated with not having the cylinder/s and/or weights on your back. Side Mount diving was born in cave diving, however the configuration was often incompatible with UTD/DIR/Hogarthian configuration.
The Z-Side-Mount System configuration now allows for full compatiblity, intergrated, scaleable and unification of the team, when side-mount diving is needed. For example, when recreational or technical diving from a zodiac, or kayak or when one needs to make a difficult shore entry, Z-Side-Mount Diving has proven to be a viable alternate to back-mounting your cylinder/s. Of course when "advanced side mount cave diving", meaning you are crawling around in some really tiny places, or even when do a general cave dive, side-mounting the cylinders can be of great advantage, especially when one can now stay consistent and unified in their configuraiton, skills and approach towards the dive. Another area that has taken advantage of Z-Side-Mount Diving configuration is divers with disabilities or physical limitations and they need to remove the weight off their backs while on the surface. The reason Z-Side-Mount Diving configuration has such advantages for divers in the above examples is that it allows you to put the cylinders in the water prior to entering the water and then attaching them to the diver prior to descending.
Z-Side-Mount diving takes advantage of the the cylinders
mounted on the side but remains “Team” oriented by still having the
donateble long hose, necklace hose, bcd inflation hose and drysuit
hose - if needed all feed by the cylinders that are plugged into
the distribution block (Z-Manifold). The Z-Side-Mount Diving
configuration allows for this. The system consists of a Z-Harness,
a Z-Manifold (Distribution block), a Z-Trim Device/Z-Plus-Trim Device and Z-Weights. These components can be used together independently to provide you with an Z-Ultimate experience. For more information about the system go to http://utdequipment.com/zsystem1.html
Benefits of the UTD’s Z-Side-Mount System Configuration for Side Mount Diving
Z-Harness (a basic Side-Mount Harness) can be custom fit to each diver. The advantages include comfort, ease of movement,
simplicity, and minimal drag.
Z-Trim Device or Z-Plus-Trim Device is a low profile, streamline "buoyancy" device which enables buoyancy, balance and trim control resulting in a
more streamlined profile making moving through the water easier and
Z-Manifold (Distribution Block) is a extremely robust distribution block which allows one to have one or two "inputs" and up to 6 outputs.
This allows the diver to plug in the gases of choice and then
provide the diver with a donatable long hose, necklace, BCD,
drysuit and even drive a side mounted rebreather.
Z-System Side-Mount Diving makes is easier for entries and less stress on the body by staging tanks in the water. Great for divers
with physical limitations.
A safe option for air management as there is easy access to cylinder valve(s), first stage(s) and alternate regulator should a
100% compatible and integrated into DIR/UTD back mounted configuration and rebreather configuration and our signature "team"
In the Z-Side-mount system, we use the Z-Manifold (distribution block) to "enhance" the functionality of the system and DO NOT RELY on for the dive. By distributing the gas, one is able to enjoy all the benefits (Long hose, necklace, bcd and so on at all times) with far less risk than an isolator knob on a set of doubles (z-manifold is low profile, low pressure, static o-rings). If you have any issues with the Z-Manifold, your first line of defense is bailout to "traditional" side-mount and then ultimately to your buddy. By bailing out to traditional side-mount you can simply unplug the cylinders and use a standard second stage to breath the gas, you can orally inflate the BCD.
With the Z-Side-Mount System and the Z-Manifold Block (Distribution block) what one get's is all the benefits, as listed below, without increasing the risk, in fact the risk is less than an isolator knob on a standard set of doubles manifold.
Benefits of Z-Side-Mount System over Traditional Side-Mount
Scalable - One can use ONE system for all diving... Single (1) Tank (Recreational), 2 tanks (Tech-reational), 3 tanks(Technical), 4 tanks (Trimix). Deco bottles, Stages...Imagine that you can now stage a cave with cylinders, and deco bottle, plug them into the system and always have donate-able long hose, necklace, bcd, drysuit and even rebreather function with any cylinder in the cave. Even Rebreathers (PSCR and mCCR) - See MXZ mCCR Rebreather Configuration - One CANNOT do this with traditional Side-mount.
Consistent - Within a UTD/DIR Team and all environments. One can easily dive within a mixed team (back-mount, rebreather and side-mount) and still have the donate-able long hose wrapped around your neck at all times. (NO MORE Stuffing the long hose) Most importantly one can ALWAYS DONATE FROM ONE'S MOUTH - again something traditional side-mount configuration does not offer. With Z-Side-Mount System we can even do better than with traditional UTD/DIR back-mount in that we even have donate-able long hose at all times even during DECO.
Minimalist - Only take what you need. One does not need to configure every tank and/or stage bottle with two regulators, drysuit hose and BCD hose. Again when staging a cave ( dropping stage and deco bottles) to do big cave pushes, one does not worry about the fact that the stage bottle only has a single regulator on it anymore (traditional Back-Mount and side-mount) Now when one uses stages, we have the ability to plug it into the Z-Side-Mount system and get FULL functionality.
Integration - It integrates perfectly into our already established 20 years of UTD/DIR/Hogarthian system. The light is still on the right side, the argon is still worn on the left side, the 7'/2m long hose still wraps around your neck and tucks under the light or knife, One still breaths the donate-able hose at all times, you still have a necklace regulator always ready to go, one still uses rock bottom gas management, one still uses Ratio Deco... blah blah blah.
UTD’s Essentials of Z-Side-Mount Diving class is designed to compliment your current certification level. You can add the advantages of using a Z-Side-Mount System into your personal recreational diving. These classes are not designed to be classes based on “gas certification” or “teach you to dive” but rather to highlight “how to” use the Z-System within your current certification level.
Basic Z-Side-Mount System Equipment System Outline
Primary regulator on a 7 ft. primary hose, donatable and worn in the traditional UTD/DIR hogarthian style
Back-up regulator, necklaced and worn in the traditional UTD/DIR hogarthian style
Non-split variety fins.
Backplate or Z-Harness system
Back inflate style trimming device - Z-Trim Device.
At least one depth-measuring device
At least one time-keeping device
One spool with minimum 100 feet of line
One surface marker or lift bag for OW only
Exposure suit appropriate for the environment you will be diving in.
Note regarding cylinders:
- AL80’s/11l or Al40’s/6l depended on volumetric needs
- Single tank worn of left side
- Z-Manifold for input and distribution of gas.
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