From your training, you should be able to explain what does scuba stands for. As a scuba diver, you want to be able to enjoy your time underwater. Perhaps take photographs of the amazing marine life and explore reefs and wrecks. But to be able to do this, you need control of your body movement, in other words, you need buoyancy control.
With it, you will not struggle to make the moves you want to make; to ascend, descend or turn when you wish and this enables you to make the most of your time under the surface of the sea.
These are the 10 ways to improve your buoyancy control, but first…
Buoyancy is the science of floating or sinking in water. For an object to float, it should weigh less than the volume of water that it displaces. And the opposite is also true. For an object to sink in water, it should weigh more than the volume of water that it displaces.
If you were to drop a stone in water, it would sink because it weighs more than the water it displaces. On the other hand, a ship can float because it weighs less than the volume of water that it displaces. This is the relationship between Boyles law and scuba diving.
It’s really as simple as that. For a scuba diver to float, both he and the weight of the gear should weigh less than the water displacement. That means that if both you and the gear you wear have a total of 75Kgs, then the water displacement should be more than 75kgs for you to float. Get it? Good!
Now let’s get to improving our buoyancy control, shall we?
1. Achieve the right weight
Start by putting the regulator in your mouth and then release all the air out of your BCD. When this is done you should find that you are floating at eye level. Breathing in and out should cause you to rise and fall in the water. The 3 scuba diving breathing techniques for beginners can prove useful.
Keep in mind that when you have emptied all the air from your BCD, your tank will weigh between 1 or 2 kgs less than when it is full. To account for this weight, you should carry an extra 1 or 2kgs of weight.
2. Buoyancy with the BCD
You will need to empty the buoyancy compensator device to allow you to descend. Once having reached your desired depth, you can maintain this level by adding air in small bursts. You will do this by pressing the inflator button. If you pressed too fast then the rapid increase in the air could cause you to rise which could be risky.
As you release the air it’s important to ensure that it doesn’t end up trapped in the BCD. You can do this by stretching the inflator hose upwards. Keep an eye on the deflator to see if they are any bubbles.
If you notice that bubbles are not coming out, then all you need to do is to turn the BCD slightly and this should fix the problem.
You aim to achieve neutral diving buoyancy and you will know you are at this point when you start to move up and down as you breathe.
3. Using proper Breathing techniques
Breathing is one of the most effective methods that you can use to control your buoyancy when diving. Instead of making rapid breaths or even holding your breath, you will need to practice to inhale and exhale gently.
As you do so ensure that your exhale takes twice as long as you inhale.
While this may not sound very effective, you want to make sure that you are relaxed. Staying relaxed is in fact one of the best ways to maintain your buoyancy. You are far better able to control your body movement and after trying this for a few times, you will find that you can have just as much body control as on land.
5. Stay horizontal
Another excellent way to have more dive-control is practicing trim. This is where your body is in a horizontal position and your knees are bent making your fins also horizontally. It would be of great benefit to learn how to do proper scuba trim with scuba trim weights. It is like floating on air. Not only will it allow you more buoyancy control but you are less likely to harm the reef with your fins.
6. Don’t use the hands
Some inexperienced drivers tend to use their hands to control their body positioning in the water. Don’t do this, but instead make use of your fins. If you used your hands, you are more likely to lose your control in the water.
7. Take a course
You can perfect your buoyancy control by enrolling in the peak performance buoyancy course by PADI. Here you can learn a few extra things about buoyancy which you can practice under the supervision of your instructor in a controlled environment.
8. Take note of the wetsuit
Many people don’t realize this but the wetsuit is not only one way on how to stay warm while scuba diving but can affect your buoyancy as well. As you descend the bubbles trapped will compress making you less buoyant. This is something to keep in mind when thinking that you may be underweighted and that you need to add extra weight.
9. Practice more
At the end of the day, the more you practice the more you can have control over your diving buoyancy. Take as many dives as you want to and over time you will realize that it becomes second nature to control your body movement and position when you are in the water.
10. Make easy descents
Note that as you go down deeper, your scuba tank becomes lighter. This is why you should ensure that your descents are easy. You shouldn’t be too buoyant that you are struggling with. Even while you are making your safety stops you will find it hard to maintain your position. You must know the 5 scuba diving safety tips and solutions.
Globo Surf Overview
Learning how to control your diving buoyancy will allow you to make the most of your time underwater. You will use less energy and can move closer to marine life without causing damage to the reefs.