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Scuba Buoyancy - Peak Performance Buoyancy

Submitted by admin on 2009-02-09 | Last Modified on 2009-07-16

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In diving, buoyancy control skills 'separate the men from the boys.' Experienced divers save air, energy, and get the most out of a dive by being able to control their buoyancy to such an extent that it appears their movements are merely activated by thought. The following information touches on the pivots for maintaining peak performance buoyancy and will be dealt with in practice during the course.

  • Breath control. Inhaling will result in floating upward, exhaling will make you heavier. Filling and emptying your lungs in accordance acts as an inner flotation device control.
  • Weight distribution
  • Avoiding the bottom
  • Add the least amount of air possible to your BCD to remain buoyant, in accordance with suit type.
  • Manage your weights in accordance with dive gear.

Remember that the air you use from your tank makes you lighter during the course of the dive thereby increasing your buoyancy to around 2kg/ 5lbs. This factor extends distribution consideration to setting your weights when preparing for the dive.

When fine-tuning your buoyancy consider the amount of air you need to release into your BCD in accordance with the type you suite you are wearing. Dive skins require little or nothing whilst dry and wet suits are subject to the three points of adjustment during the dive namely:

1. Adjusting for original buoyancy.

2. Adjusting for lost air during the course of the dive.

3.Adjusting for the increase in buoyancy that occurs during the ascent.

Remember when wearing a dry suit that it should serve as your buoyancy control mechanism.

Taking time to properly visualize the feeling of attaining buoyancy before the dive assists in the psychological training and preparation necessary to attune your motor skills to successfully achieve the level of performance you want. This way when you are in the water, your mind is already pre-programmed to naturally allowing the energy and focus it would have required to maintain buoyancy to shift to enjoying the dive.

Fitness plus stamina equals the muscle power required to control buoyancy, allowing you to stay within your physical limitations and save energy. Saving energy means saving the breath needed to maximize peak buoyancy control. Also, remember that leaner mass sinks, and proves to be less to lug around thereby minimizing drag.

Streamlining is essential to maintaining buoyancy. Making sure that your diving equipment is neatly tucked away and not dragging on the bottom damaging the natural inhabitants in whose home you are merely an uninvited guest. Being over-weighed also adds to drag and countering this will allow you to remain more effortlessly horizontal due to equal weight distribution.

PADI's five step buoyancy check recommends:

1. Submerge yourself fully kitted for the dive.

2. Find a point where your feet just cannot touch the ground and inflate your BC or dry suit valve completely.

3. Suspend your body vertically and hold your breath.

4. Take away or add weights in accordance until you float at eye level whilst holding your breath.

5. Finally, check that you sinking slowly while exhaling.


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