Buoyancy control is one of the most important skills when diving.
When you first start scuba diving it can be frustrating getting the hang of it. Remember practice makes perfect! Improving your buoyancy control can be done quickly by following some quick and easy tips!
Let’s jump straight in! One of the biggest mistakes when starting to dive is adding too much air to the BCD at once. Quickly you realise you are going up too quickly and then taking too much out to stop/slow the ascent and then having to start again with adding it! One of the easiest way to overcome this is to be patient. Add a short burst into your BCD and wait. Take a couple of breathes and then if you still find that you are still negatively buoyant add a little bit more. This avoids the up and downs and also saves your air so that you can spend longer on the dive exploring!
Next up is weighting.
When was the last time you performed a weight check? At the end of your next dive when your tank is empty just take 2 minutes and do a quick check. If you aren’t sure how ask your instructor to show you. The aim is with an empty tank to be floating at eye level when holding a normal breath. If you find you are under the water try your next dive with 1-2kg less on your weight belt and see how your buoyancy control is. Let your instructor or dive guide know you’ve changed your weights. They will be more than happy to carry an extra just in case you do need it.
Once you have fine tuned your weighting – log it!
Record in your log book how many weights you had and as much detail about the conditions as possible. What wetsuit were you wearing? Steel or aluminium tank? What size was the tank? How did you feel about your buoyancy control on that dive? All this information helps you remember for your next dive, so that you can plan, relax and enjoy!
The final key to improving buoyancy control…practice!
The more dives you do, the longer you spend underwater the easier it will get. Relax during your dive and remember your training. If you want to improve quickly sign up for the PADI peak performance buoyancy course. Although it doesn’t sound an interesting course – deep diving sounds so much more fun no?! – it is! During 2 dives you will play a series of underwater games with your instructor. Learning how to fine tune your breathing to help control your buoyancy. As an instructor this is one of my favourite courses to teach. Weight football, swimming through hula hoops and seeing the rapid improvement in my students buoyancy makes for a great days diving!