The Natural Way of Diving
Diving sidemount means you take one or two cylinders and place them on either side of your body, rather than mounting them on your back.
Sidemount equipment has been the preferred choice for cave divers. It is now becoming very popular for many recreational divers, including wreck divers & technical divers. Personally I have found that diving sidemount with one or two cylinders is more enjoyable and gives me greater freedom.
Why I use Sidemount equipment
Buoyancy control is better and a more streamlined profile reduces drag which makes fining and moving through the water much more efficient. This reduces air consumption resulting in longer dive times.
There is a much greater comfort level because the sidemount harness and equipment is custom fitted to each individual. This accommodates divers of all shapes and sizes.
Much easier for divers with any disabilities or back problems because you carry the cylinders separate from your harness .Once in the water you attach your cylinders negating the need to carry cylinders from the kiting up area to the dive site.
Safer option in terms of air management as you have an easier access to your cylinder valve.
One harness and BCD does it all. The same sidemount equipment is used for more advanced types of diving.
Can My Buddy Still Use Standard Equipment
Yes .All you need to do is note the differences in equipment setup on your pre dive check.