You feel like you are just hitting your stride. The underwater environment around you is revealing itself in all its splendour. You flash a big OK to your buddy, and glance down to check your air.
Impossible! How can you be down to half a tank just as the going gets great? Maybe you choose not to signal your buddy “half tank”. You think ‘who wants to be the loser that may force a dive to end early?’ No one. A big no-no my friend!
So work on reducing your air consumption. Don’t approach it from the perspective that you are breathing less, just that you are breathing more efficiently. Here are some tips to try out when attenmpting to conserve air that will make your future dives last longer, be stress-free, and even more spectacular.than they are now.
If you are stressed out as you descend your breathing is very likely to be rapid and you will lose a ton of air. Take a few deep breaths before you head down, equalize your ears at the surface, and relax. Let yourself sink slowly down. There is no need to kick furiously, and orient yourself head down towards the ocean floor on a descent. This is not a race. Take deep breaths, and make minor adjustments to achieve neutral buoyancy.
When you have reached the desired depth, concentrate on continuing with deep breaths that are exhaled slowly. Start your dive relaxed, and concentrate on staying relaxed throughout the dive. Don’t rush the breathing thing. You’ll end up burning through your air faster than you thought possible
Be sure and wear a wet suit that is suitable for the waters in which you are diving. Our bodies lose heat and energy quickly when we get cold. We also may breathe faster as our bodies attempt to create energy for warmth. Remember that a deep dive will mean lower temperatures. Sometimes less is more. Not so when it comes to keeping warm. You don’t need to drag out your dry suit, but make sure you have adequate protection. At Uber Scuba we offer 3mm long wetsuits to ensure you are nice and snug.
A wonderful way to waste your precious air is to continuously be emptying it into your BCD, and then spewing it out in an effort to achieve neutral buoyancy. When you have reached the desired depth, take a moment to relax, and see if you can hover. If so, all is well and it is unlikely you will need to make many adjustments as you continue the dive.
As you get more experienced, you will find that you will be able to ascend and descend simply by regulating your breathing. When you are comfortable and relaxed, take a deep breath and hold it for a moment. What happens? You rise. Let that air our and the opposite will happen. You’ll also be lugging around less weight on your belt.
If you have buoyancy issues, consider taking the SSI Perfect Buoyancy Speciality course. The better you can control your buoyancy, the better your air consumption will be.
A Streamlined Diver Saves Air, Energy and the Environment
Cars and aircraft are designed to provide as little resistance as possible to the air flowing around them. This increases their fuel efficiency, and the ease with which they move across the earth, or through the air.
Ditto for a diver. If you can maintain a streamlined, compact shape as you move through the water you will save energy. Using less energy means needing less air. Keep your body horizontal, stream lined, and your depth and air gauges close to your body. You’ll save energy and air.
An added bonus? You are far less likely to harm the underwater world you have the privilege of being a part of. There are few things more annoying than a diver who doesn’t bother to pay attention to his or her impact on the marine environment. Dragging your gauges across the reef, and picking up every underwater object or creature that catches your eye is a fantastic way to mark yourself as a disrespectful amateur. You are underwater to admire the life here, not disturb and destroy it.
Go with the Flow
The stronger the current, the harder we must work to make our way against it. Use the direction, and depth, of the currents, and the underwater environment to your advantage. If you find yourself in a strong current, try dropping down a bit. You will find it is weaker close to the bottom. Also, you can sometimes find an underwater mount to swim behind. This shelters you from the current and results in an easier dive.
You may find yourself in an especially strong current, and feel the need to anchor yourself for a moment to collect yourself, or stay in contact with your buddy. Be careful where you place your hands! Look for a rock or a dead piece of coral. Never forget that even touching live coral will damage it and may kill it.
Relax, breathe and enjoy your dive!