Threading Quick-Release Buckles 3

01Is there a “right” way to thread a standard 50 mm/2.0 in quick-release buckle? No — if for no other reason than not all of these buckles are identical. There is, however, a way that we’ve found works extremely well with most such buckles and for most applications.

As much as we’d like to take credit for this approach, that credit actually goes to author Dennis Graver, who first published it in his 1978 book, Sport Diving A to Z. Although most of today’s divers do not recognize Dennis’ name, in the 1970s and 1980s, his work with two of the world’s largest diver training organizations had a tremendous impact on how people learn and dive.

Graver’s recommended method is simplicity in itself:

  • Start by folding open the buckle’s tang (the part that pivots).
  • Working from the inside of the buckle, thread the webbing through second open slot — the one that’s one slot in from the end of the buckle.
  • Bring the webbing back up through the slot closest to the end of the buckle.


  • Fold the webbing flat.

That’s all there is to it. This approach offers numerous benefits, including:

  • It’s idiot simple.
  • It allows for instantaneous and infinite adjustment of strap length, without having to completely unthread the buckle.
  • No excess strap sticks out the front of the buckle to confuse matters.


  • All excess strap is automatically tucked between the outer webbing and the the diver’s body, and is directed back in the direction from which the webbing came.

Unless they are among the few divers still using weight belts, most of today’s recreational divers never have to deal with this type of buckle. Once you get into technical diving, or technical-style diving harnesses, this type of buckle is common.

Speaking of which, have you ever been frustrated by trying to get the “bitter” or free end of the webbing into that tiny slot beneath the tang, when you can’t look directly at it?

There’s an easy way to deal with that:

  • Fold the tang to a 90-degree angle to the rest of the buckle.
  • Touch the free end of the webbing to the tip of the tang.


  • Slide the tip of the webbing down the tang until you find the slot.
  • In it goes.

The quick-release buckle has been with us for well over 40 years. Despite its age, it serves its purpose well. Master these two tricks and you’ll find yours very easy to work with.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

fifteen − fourteen =

3 thoughts on “Threading Quick-Release Buckles

  • Steve Chamberlain

    As a Tech Instructor and “Old Geezer” I have been going on about this for years and get really po’d with the system that tends to push students thru courses when they clearly haven’t mastered the requisite skills… A massive part of lousy divers being encountered more frequently does come down to the instructor who wants the $$$ and the next class to be filled… Interestingly, one time when I refreshed a group of divers who hadn’t been in the water for a number of months on some breathing and buoyancy skills before their wall dive, everyone who listened to my briefing about how we were going to get neutral and “shed some lead” with a 5 minute session in the sand at 40′ before we dropped over the wall and to be relaxed and “go with the flow” did exceptionally well, had no issues and came back with lots of air left EXCEPT for the instructor who was their group leader and who brought them on vacation from his place of business in the states. He ignored my briefing, ignored the demo and skills session and then fought his buoyancy the whole dive, ran low on air about after about 40 minutes in the water…. Everyone else ( that listened to me) had a nice 55 minute dive (total time in water, not at depth) with no issues, saw loads of stuff, and raved about how my “shed the lead” session was something they should have had in their open water classes……….needless to say, the OWSI was pissed at me for his looking bad once we got back to the boat.. I just said that the ability of the student to comprehend and perform any topic or skill was a direct result of the skill of the instructor and their methods of geting the info across to their students…. The divers wanted longer bottom times and to use less lead, and to see more critters… I had only translated their greed (for bottom time and their desire to take more photos) into a focus (on my briefing and eagerness to “learn these new skills” ) which would satisfy their greed… Where there is a will, there’s a way….

    • Admin Post author

      I’m not quite sure what this has to do with threading quick-release buckles but, as a veteran dive boat captain, I can tell you that you’re preaching to the choir here. Instructors and, especially, brand-new instructors often think they are God’s gift to diving. Guess what? Four weekends conducting open-water training and two week-long dive vacations every year doesn’t make them an expert at anything. Go spend a season working a dive boat, experiencing first-hand just how bad some divers (and instructors) can be, then we can talk.

      What’s worse than know-it-all instructors? Know-it-all training agency employees, some of whom have surprisingly little real-world dive experience, yet have no difficulty telling the rest of us what to do. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of training agency people I know, from all major agencies, who have actually captained or crewed a dive boat. That’s pathetic.