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 that has lasted for 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 which was attached to a 15 litre dive tank. To last for nearly 30 years and used to dive on hundreds of dives around the world and still be going strong is nothing short of amazing!
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.
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.
Buddy Commando Profile failure after 29 years – but don’t look at this as a negative at all
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.
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.
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.
More Reading: How To Achieve Neutral Buoyancy Scuba Diving (Made Easy)
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