Stay Longer Underwater: Learning to Breathe
Nobody wants to have to cut a diving trip short because they run out of air more quickly than expected. What’s even worse is when you have to cut your buddy’s diving trip short too. Suffice is to say you’ll likely be buddy-less after a few of those episodes.
Time is generally the main thing needed to learn how to get better air consumption while diving but there is also a few other tips and tricks. Get more from a single tank of air by putting these tried and true practices to work.
This is generally easier said than done while being underwater in a completely new and unfamiliar place - with your life is in the hands of a bunch of equipment. However, relaxing will definitely help your air go further.
The more you dive the more comfortable you will become being underwater and using the equipment.
You’ll notice that at the beginning of your scuba vacation you run out of air right away. As your trip continues, however, you’ll notice that your tank lasts longer and longer. That doesn’t mean that your tank is being filled with more air; it means that you are becoming a better and more relaxed diver.
The more you move, kick, and squirm, the deeper you breathe, and the more air you will use. Find a comfortable position especially for your arms and try to maintain it throughout your dive.
Relax your body and use your fins to move you forward. You don’t need to do a lot of moving; just float along and focus on breathing instead of moving!
Remember: Swim with your legs not your arms, use big slow fin kicks for the most energy efficient swim.
Extra stuff dangling from your gear just drags you down and increases the amount of air you consume. As an added inconvenience, they also tend to catch on coral and damage them plus your equipment.
All those fancy scuba accessories are entirely unnecessary and are actually hindering your dive a lot more than they are helping it.
Triple Check Your Gear
All it takes is the tiniest leak in the tiniest place to take up your air and bring your dive to an abrupt halt. Check your gear several times before a dive and have your buddy make a safety check. O-rings, inflator hoses, and connection points are generally the main culprits when you’ve got a leak.
An easy way of catching a leak is by listing, so put your ear to the O-rings and hoses. Otherwise you can put your equipment in the water and look for bubbles.
Get Into a Horizontal Groove
While the term “horizontal” has one meaning when you’re on dry land, it means something entirely different when you’re diving.
A vertical position means that you are creating greater resistance by trying to swim against the natural flow of the water. By remaining horizontal, you create less resistance and use less air. It's all about getting better buoyancy while diving.
If you find yourself struggling with verticality, adjust your BC, weights, and tank; they may be pulling you upright.
The deeper you go, the more air you use, so if you already struggle with maintaining your air it may be a good idea to swim above the rest of the group. As you learn to make better use of your air, you can slowly start going to more depth, but for now, remain shallow so that you don’t have to be the one who cuts the trip short.
These tips and a whole lot of practice will have you breathing like a pro in no time. Bet you never thought breathing would take so much practice and effort, did you?
Do you have any tips for better air consumption? Leave a comment below!