There is nothing more refreshing and awe-inspiring than plunging beneath the surface of the water and staying there. Unfortunately, it's only a matter of time until you run low on air and have to end your dive. We want to help you stay submerged in that underwater bliss for as long as possible. By following the five simple tips below, you will be able to drastically decrease your air consumption. And as the laws of physics state: the slower you breathe through your air, the longer you get to stay underwater.
5 Tips to staying underwater longer:
TIP 1: Stay Fit!
The number one thing you can do to extend your bottom time is actually not something you do each time you dive, but the way you live your life each and every day out of the water: Practice a healthy lifestyle. Staying healthy and fit allows your body to function more efficiently. An efficient body has a lower pulse, therefore, using less air; it's as simple as that. Practice a daily exercise routine and eat a healthy, balanced diet.
TIP 2: Stay Streamlined
Every seasoned diver knows the most efficient way to move through the water is to be as streamlined as possible. Being streamlined applies to both your gear and the way you move/swim in the water. Ensure that all gauges are hooked to your BC with retractors or gauge clips so that they do not dangle away from your body and cause extra drag. Also, consider investing in the least bulky BCD that you feel comfortable diving in. Finally, swim through the water in a horizontal position to reduce drag.
TIP 3: Master Your Buoyancy
The less air you use filling, emptying, filling, and emptying your BCD during your dive, the more air you will conserve in your tank for you to breathe. Every time you slightly over inflate your BC, therefore, having to vent air equals less air for you to use on breathing. Also, constantly correcting your depth with your BCD creates unnecessary work, wasted energy, and raises stress levels, all increasing your air consumption. By perfecting your buoyancy skills, you will be able to descend and become perfectly buoyant above the reef all in one smooth transition. Good buoyancy is achieved with practice and proper weighting. Carrying any excess weight that is not needed to get you under the surface is not only dangerous in the event of an emergency but just causes extra drag (see "staying streamlined" above).
TIP 4: Breath Calmly!
While diving you always want to breathe fully and slowly. NEVER hold your breath or "skip breathe" underwater to consume less air. Instead, pretend you are in a yoga class; breath with deep abdominal breaths. If you've never been to yoga, breathing is typically done in a slow, deep, deliberate manner....usually 6 seconds inhale and 6 seconds exhale. During yogic breathing your heart rate actually slows slightly, slowing your pulse and, therefore, your air consumption along with it. If you can master this breathing technique, it will go a long way toward improving your air consumption.
TIP 5: Dive, Dive, Dive!
The old adage, "practice makes perfect," is always true, and especially so in the world of diving. The more dives you have under your belt, the more comfortable you are going to feel in and under the water. When you are at ease, your breathing rate is slower; therefore, making the air you have in your tank last longer. Also, the more experienced you are, the more your diving skills develop. Confidence and skill in the water come with diving experience.
If you can master these 5 actions, you will see immediate improvements in your air consumption. If you need a little assistance in learning how to improve your buoyancy and staying more streamlined, consider coming into Underseas Scuba Center and signing up for one of our great advanced or specialty courses to improve your diving skills.