As a scuba diving instructor in Rasdhoo, Maldives, I always come across a constant question – ” How do I dive longer?” or ” How to save air while scuba diving?”.
To put it simply, More air means:
- Longer dives.
- Greater chance of seeing more variety of marine life.
- Emerging as a more confident scuba diver.
- Increasing your time underwater.
Ten tips for conserving air underwater:
- Swim slowly
- Breadth slowly
- Good command over buoyancy control
- Being streamlined
- Fix/reduce small leaks
- Fins with correct fit
- Use a snorkel
- Choose the right scuba suit.
- Take a class
- Practice makes perfect
The top tip to conserve air while diving is to swim slowly. Remember? As the fable goes, “Slow and steady wins the race” works well for scuba diving. The best part about Scuba diving is that it is a recreational sport and not a race. Increasing your underwater speed would only require more energy and air consumption. While diving, make sure you relax, keep your nerves calm, and enjoy the underwater world.
2.Breadth Slowly and Deeply
Many beginner scuba divers find it challenging to get into the diving groove by breathing long and deep. By getting into the diving rhythm, what we mean is taking complete deep breaths. Your body will absorb more oxygen when you take deep long breaths, reduce the dead air volume, and eliminate carbon dioxide. This breathing pattern will allow fresh oxygen into the lungs.
Note: Never purposefully hold your breadth or expand your lungs unnecessarily, as it may result in severe lung damage.
3. Good command over buoyancy control
To conserve air, command over buoyancy is critical. Buoyancy control is a mechanism by which you can regulate your motion underwater.
In a nutshell, when you breathe in, your lungs expand like a balloon, and your body would feel an upward push. During exhalation, your lungs contract, and the air escapes out of your lungs. This would result in your body feeling a downward push. Thus, by inhaling and exhaling the right way, you can easily regulate your movement underwater.
Here comes the catch, if you descend and ascend in a slow and relaxed manner, you would be using less air than when you frantically try to descend or ascend as you would be using a lot of energy.
If you are neutrally buoyant during scuba diving:
- You can save a lot of air
- Have long-lasting dive trips
- Reduces the no: of times you inflate or deflate your BCD
- Reduces the risk of accidents.
Diving in a streamlined motion might take some effort and practice. Here are a few things you could start with:
- Keep your equipment nice and trip to reduce resistance while swimming.
- Tuck your gauges and other diving gear appropriately to reduce drag.
- Make it a habit to swim in a horizontal position.
- Avoid bringing unnecessary items to the dive. Make sure all the things you get are necessary.
5.Fix or reduce small leaks
Make sure you check your equipment before you start your dive. Check if any air is escaping through any connection point and fix them immediately.
6.Fins with correct fit
Selecting fins with the right fit becomes obligatory during a dive as they are the key players to propel your motion underwater. Choosing a larger-sized fin could result in painful cramps underwater. Choosing the right size fins will help you dive quickly and help you conserve air.
7.Use A Snorkel
Swimming on the surface, waiting for your dive buddy in a wavy condition, using a snorkel will help you reduce your airtime while still allowing you to breadth.
8.Choose the right Scuba suit
To conserve air while diving, choose a good quality, right-fitting wet suit. Using energy produces heat. Oxygen is used for metabolism, which in turn requires energy. While diving in places like the Maldives, you would be using you would be diving with wet suits. Diving in cold conditions would result in fatigue which would also eat into your air supply.
9.Sleep More Party Less:
Take rest. Give your body to rejuvenate. Don’t dive already tired. If you start your dive already tired, your body would require to put in more effort effectively eating out on your air supply.
10.Practice makes perfect
The best way to conserve air while diving is to relax and dive slowly. As you keep diving, the more comfortable you will be underwater, and the better you will become at buoyancy.
You could consider advancing your skills with further scuba diving courses.
Some additional factors that could add to your airtime: