Davy Jones Locker instructor Rich (or Dick to his friends) is one of our longest serving diving instructors. He is definitely the right person to give advice breathing underwater so here’s a list of his top air consumption tips.
Dicks Top Air Consumption Tips!
How not to SUCK when your diving.
As you may or may not know, breathing is quite an important part of life. AND as diving is life, it makes sense that this fact applies while diving!
In your Padi Open Water course one of the first things you will learn, is NEVER HOLD YOUR BREATH. (The same applies when waiting for dive instructor Matthew Hall to buy a round)
So as you are continually breathing at some point you will reach the dreaded 50 bar signalling the end of your dive.
Dicks top air consumption tips this month, are designed to help that 50 bar be as far off as possible, creating a longer and fun filled dive!
1- Go Slow.
Swim slow, turn slowly, reach slowly for your console. Do everything as if you are in a John Woo movie……. in slow motion. There are are number of factors which help save energy and air, but swimming slowly is the obvious air-saver. Remember to move your hands, arms, head and torso slowly. Initially this will require some concentration, but it is important as the normal speed we move on land is too fast to attempt underwater.
2- Perfect your Buoyancy.
Not being able to control buoyancy during a dive results in a diver using extra energy. Having to make constant adjustments after sinking to the bottom of floating upwards will take it’s toll. The extra energy used will have a direct effect on how much air is consumed on dive. Another reason that good buoyancy control helps make your air last longer is that you tend not to inflate and deflate your BCD which uses air.
3- Going Deeper isn’t always the best choice.
Going for longer will get you there in the end! Remember, the deeper you dive, the more dense your air will be. As a result you will consume your air more quickly so stay shallow for a longer dive time.
4- Review any training material for entry level dive courses and it will no doubt tell you that you should breath SLOWLY and DEEPLY.
Divers need to careful how they interpret the technique of breathing slowly and deeply. Using a breathing technique similar to Darth Vaders’ heavy, deep breaths will guantee that you tank will empty pretty rapidly.
Shallow breathing is also not advised due to the amount of dead air spaces which are found in diving equipment and also in our body. So, not too deep, not too shallow, but just right is the key. I would suggest that taking a normal breath in would be appropriate.
It’s recommend that you should be breathing out, in terms of time, at least four times the amount of time it takes you to breathe in. Count your breathing whilst diving. A useful technique to help divers breathe out for longer is to release the air from your lungs in a slow trickle. Counting as you breath can also be really helpful, some divers find that it helps with relaxation. The repetition of the numbers can almost induce a light meditative state. Diving while relaxed can be really beneficial when it comes to air consumption.
At last but not least, practise practise practise………. just like everything in life practise makes permanent…… Only the few of us out there can be perfect!