Learn To Scuba Dive In Northern Virginia: Tips on Saving Air
One of the very first things that you notice about an experienced scuba diver is how much longer they can stay down on every dive compared to the other scuba divers. This actually becomes a badge of accomplishment among scuba divers. It often takes quite a bit of experience to accomplish this, but there are a few tricks to help get you started.
Be Neutrally Buoyant When Scuba Diving:
Most new scuba divers, and many not so new divers where way too much lead when scuba diving. Being over weighted makes it easier to go down, but is more then off set by many other factors. First, when over weighted you have to put more air in your Buoyancy Control Device at depth. This in turn creates more drag and resistance making you work harder. Working harder makes you use your air faster. Secondly, the extra air in your BCD means that your body position on the dive is more diagonal then horizontal. This also creates additional drag causing you to use even more air.
Stay More Shallow On Your Dives:
You learned when you were first certified as a scuba diver that the deeper you go the more air you use with each breath. If you make shallower dives or stay a little bit more shallow then the group you will use less air then if you dove deeper. This in turn will increase your bottom times on the dives.
Breath Slowly and Deeply During the Dive:
When you breath, you take in 21% oxygen with each breath and exhale about 16% oxygen. You are using a small amount of the oxygen you breath in. The most efficient way to breath when scuba diving is to breath slowly and deeply throughout the entire dive. This forces you to use more of the oxygen in the air that you breath with each breath. This slow and deep breathing actually helps increase your bottom times on the dive since you are using your air more efficiently.
Own and Maintain Your Equipment:
You personal scuba equipment is your mode of transportation through the underwater world. When you own your own scuba equipment it should have been personally fitted to you when you purchased it. The sales person at the Dive Center also made sure that what you purchased was suited to you personally and the type of scuba diving that you do. Having your own equipment means you will be used to your equipment and not have to work as hard as you do when using rental equipment.
By maintaining your equipment in peak condition it will perform better throughout the dive helping you conserve your energy and improve your air consumption. A regulator that is out of tune or a regulator or BCD that has even a small leak with waste air during your dive, shortening your bottom time. If you use rental equipment when you scuba dive you have no control over the care that the equipment is given, nor any guarantee that it even fits you properly.
Many scuba divers do not realize the role that a wetsuit or proper exposure protection plays in bottom times. Your body burns oxygen to help maintain its warmth. A diver who is cold will go through his or her air faster then a scuba diver who is not cold. Newer or less experienced divers may not feel cold since they are working very hard due to poor body positioning or just plain poor dive technique. An accomplished diver does not generate his or her own heat since they are very efficient when scuba diving. On your next dive vacation look at the Divemaster on the Dive Boat. You will notice that the Divemaster is wearing a full wetsuit, since he or she is very efficient in the water and also knows the value in appropriate exposure protection.
Practice Good Buoyancy Control:
Good buoyancy control is something that is learned over time. A good way to get started with good buoyancy is to take the PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy Specialty Dive Course. This is a specialty that focuses on being properly weighted, having a streamlined body position in the water and having an efficient kick stroke. During the Peak Performance Buoyancy Course you will also learn not to use your hands when diving. Sculling or using your hands simple creates more drag and resistance in the water and causes you to use your air more rapidly. The PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy Course literally puts the icing on the cake, so to speak about what we talked about above. Good buoyancy control also comes in handy in many types of scuba diving, such as underwater photography or wreck diving.
Take some time to practice these tips and you will be surprised at how quickly your scuba diving improves and your bottom times along with it.