Sunday, 09 January 2022 09:02

Breathing and Buoyancy Control

Buoyancy really is the ultimate foundation skill in the repertoire of a good diver. It is the base on which all other skills are laid, giving a diver full and proper control underwater to get the most from all aspects of diving.

With good buoyancy a problem does not become an emergency, it remains a problem to be solved calmly underwater.

Good photography, spotting more marine life, true weightlessness, longer dives, more exploring opportunities and generally more relaxed dives are the result of good buoyancy control and awareness.

The secret to mastery of buoyancy is the correct amount of air in the BCD to attain neutral buoyancy and then most importantly control of breathing. Calming your breathing can dissipate stress, give a sense of well being and control. Breathing moves a significant quantity of gas volume in the lungs and if the breathing is correct or incorrect it can impact buoyancy greatly. If the pattern is correct then it can fine tune your control in the water to perfection. Correct weighting, trim and kit configuartion are also of course very important but to really fine tune your buoyancy correct breathing control is king.

Proper breathing is important from a physiological perspective. Building awareness of breathing cycles by taking normal breathes in a slow rhythm and then adding minor adjustments when required is the key to fine tuning buoyancy control. This is particularly so when you are static and not propelling yourself through the water.

Good buoyancy also relies on the correct equipment to suit each individual. The right type, size and lift capacity of your BCD, Wing or whatever is integral in this. The absolute correct weighting is also fundamental, how many divers dive overweighted or without understanding their correct weighting. You should not be able to descend easily and your BCD should be empty and your lungs exhaled before you are able to start your descent. Once you have your correct weighting then log what you are using and adjust it for any changes on future dives like differing tank weights, differing kit weight and suit buoyancy. Are you diving in fresh or salt water and always do a weight check with any new configuration to ensure best weighting.

Build experience to master static neutral buoyancy and very importantly controlled ascending and descending. Seek the support of an experienced Dive Centre or Instructor to get you started. The Peak Performance Buoyancy speciality is another great learning tool you can use with an experienced Instructor, and spend time completing it until it's mastered.

Another important benefit or value of mastering buoyancy control is safety. As a virtuous cycle, buoyancy mastery triggers control. Control leads to comfort, comfort to calm, calm to control, focus and gas saving in order to maximise the time spent underwater and to simply make the best of your diving and the moment.

Spend time and effort on improving and perfecting your buoyancy control, the benefits to the enjoyment of your diving experiences are massive and you will see a different world of diving.