In answer to the BCD question, I've tried a few, when learning and also hire kit when on holiday. I've ended up with the Seaquest Pro QD. I can't recommend it highly enough. It's totally bombproof, got a plethora of D rings and has various other little things going for it such as pre positioned knife attachment points, a hole on the left pocket that a retractor can be fitted through for your SPG (keeping it nice and tidy) and also some other little add ons such as the Surface Observation Signal (SOS), a SMB that attaches directly to the rear of the BCD.
There are othe stab jackets out there that are equally as good I quess but I swear by mine. Check out the two addresses below.http://www.aqualung.com/uk/content/view/241/9/http://www.aqualung.com/uk/content/view/80/284/
Hope it's of use and happy diving.