Buddy Commando BCD Review (Nearly 30 Years Without Failure)

Buddy commando BCD review - Nearly 30 years without failure

AP Diving Buoyancy Control Devices last forever…well nearly 29 years before failing

When I first started scuba diving in 1990 and bought my first scuba diving equipment, this included a Buddy Commando Profile BCD. Amazingly it only failed recently whilst diving in Barbados in 2019! But the failure was just the clips which I can have fixed, plus bear in mind I was diving with a 15 litre dive tank. Nearly 30 years of wear and tear and hundreds of dives this is pretty impressive!! So all I’d say is that Commando BCDs are built to last.

The built to last Buddy Commando Profile BCD has lasted nearly 30 years without breakage or failure. It was only in the 29th year when diving in Barbados that the shoulder clips broke. This happened when donning the BCD whilst attached to a 15 litre dive tank. To last for nearly 30 years is nothing short of amazing.

This Buddy Commando Profile BCD has been used to dive on hundreds of dives around the world and still be going strong after all that time is testament to a great company.

The best way to do more diving and to use your BCD more, is to book yourself on a scuba diving liveaboard. You can check the latest and best deals on liveaboards using the following window:

Buddy commando BCD review

There’s nothing like a ‘horses-mouth‘ review of something before you buy. This article is just that.

Nearly 30 years ago I bought an AP Diving Buddy Commando Profile Buoyancy Control Device of BCD. Actually, AP Diving was called A.P. Valves at the time I purchased my BCD from them back in 1990. In the above image you’ll see this printed on the jacket just above the ‘Buddy Commando Profile‘.

At the time it was my understanding and my reason for buying that this buoyancy control device or BCD came with a life-time guarantee.

More Reading: How Does A Buoyancy Control Device Work? (Don’t Dive Without Knowing)

What has amazed me though is that it has lasted for nearly 30 years. It’s been used for both cold water UK diving as well as diving all around the world. I’ve used it in the Red Sea to America and from the Farne Islands to the Caribbean.

More Reading: Farne Islands Diving With Seals (Best UK Place To Scuba Dive With Seals)

Buddy Commando Profile failure after 29 years – but don’t look at this as a negative at all

Buddy Commando Profile BCD failure after 29 years
Buddy Commando Profile BCD shoulder-clip failure after 29 years of use

The fact that this BCD lasted all this time without even the smallest of failure is nothing short of amazing. It was only recently whilst visiting the Caribbean (in fact diving in Barbados) that it failed me.

The shoulder clips on the BCD broke so I had to borrow one from the diving company I was diving with. Fortunately they had a spare buoyancy control device on the dive boat.

The reason the BCD shoulder clip failed at this stage was because I was diving with a slightly heavier dive tank. In this case I was diving with a 15 litre cylinder.

The dive was to 36 metres (118 feet) on the Stavronikita wreck. As I’m larger than the average diver, probably by around 25% larger, I need more air. That’s why I opted for the larger dive tank.

This meant that I could dive for the full dive time of 34 minutes with the rest of the group.

Of course the clips shouldn’t break like this, but they were getting old. In the past I’ve used this Buddy Commando Profile to dive with a twin set. The wight of twin-set tanks is more than a 15 litre dive tank.

I think the BCD clips were already getting fragile and worn, so they would have broken at some point using a 12 litre dive tank. However, the added weight pushed the limit and the clips broke.

More Reading: 28 Tips on How to Conserve Air While Scuba Diving (How To Extend Your Dive Time Safely)

There is another part that had broken before this on my Buddy Commando BCD. This is the mouthpiece on the inflator. This happened some time ago and hasn’t affected my diving, as I can still use the BCD with the mouthpiece as it is.

However, the clips are a more fundamental part of the BCD, which meant I couldn’t use it to dive. But it’s important to note that this should not be seen as a negative.

For these clips to have lasted as long as they have is amazing. Please bear in mind this jacket has been used a lot! These clips can easily be replaced, I just need to get around to sending my BCD off to AP Diving to have it fixed.

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Buddy Commando life-time guarantee

I have only just got back from Barbados today, which is a Sunday. I have checked on their website and I’m not sure if they still do the clips that I need.

Nor do I know at this time whether or not they will honour the life-time guarantee I bought into all those years ago. This could be as a result of the name change from A.P Vales to A.P. Diving.

However, I will call them tomorrow (i.e. Monday) and find out what they say. I will then update this article accordingly.

If I can get the new clips (assuming they are still available some 29 years later!), then I may be able to continue to use my Buddy Commando Profile jacket for diving.

Perhaps even for another 30 years. Although that would put me in my 80’s. Not sure I’ll be able to continue to dive at that age, but you never know?

Buddy Commando BCD review and recommendation

I want to stress that this article is in favour of Buddy Commando BCD Jackets. I will certainly buy another BCD from A.P. Diving and in all probability, I will buy their travelling version as it’s lighter.

I can categorically say that the A.P. Diving gear is probably some of the best in the world. It’s manufactured to a very high standard and lasts a long time.

The same goes for their buoyancy control devices or BCDs. The Buddy Commando BCD is well-made and strong and you’ll get many years diving from this awesome piece of kit.

Click this link for more information on AP Diving and Buddy Commando BCDs.

More Reading: How To Achieve Neutral Buoyancy Scuba Diving (Made Easy)

I hope you enjoyed this article about Buddy Commando BCD review

I’d love to hear from you. Tell us about your adventures of diving and snorkeling, in the comments below. Please also share your photos. Either from your underwater cameras or videos from your waterproof Gopro’s!

If this article hasn’t answered all of your questions. If you have more questions either about snorkeling or scuba diving (or specifically about Buddy Commando BCD review), please comment below with your questions.

There will also be many more articles about scuba diving (and snorkeling) for you to read and learn about these fabulous sports.

Have fun and be safe!

Buddy Commando BCD Review (Nearly 30 Years Without Failure)

Article written by Russell Bowyer who has been a scuba diver since diving on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia in 1989. After his first dive he trained as a BSAC diver in the UK. He attained his Diver Leader certification with BSAC. He then went on to become a scuba diving instructor, teaching others how to dive and was voted as Diving Officer and Treasurer for the Saffron Walden BSAC club too. Russell has dived all over the world, including the UK, on liveaboards in the Red Sea, the Caribbean, South Africa and the USA. Russell is experienced in all dive types, including drift diving, deep dives that involved decompression stops and recreational dives too.

2 thoughts on “Buddy Commando BCD Review (Nearly 30 Years Without Failure)

  1. Hi – cant date this (no date on the article) – I’m refurbing my Buddy profile (new AP100 auto air and dump valves) – I’ve had it since 2001 and it’s the only BCD I’m ‘at home’ in. Agree with all your comments and so surprised in Aug 2022 to talk to AP Diving (was AP Valves…) and they are so knowledgeable about what i needed

    1. Hi Brian, thank you Brian for your comment – I had my Buddy BCD fixed in 2020, the year of the dreaded Covid 19 lockdowns!! – I have to agree with you AP Diving are a great company. Did you need to have yours fixed?

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