The Secret to Neutral Buoyancy
Neutral buoyancy is the goal for every diver. Many new or inexperienced divers waste a lot of gas by over exerting themselves; either by finning up to keep from crashing into coral or kicking down to keep from bobbing up to the surface. It’s an important skill to master because being able to float weightless in the water means you’re able to conserve air, move effortlessly though swim throughs and protect the reef. Read down below for Diving tips.
1. Don’t Overweight Yourself
Descend in a vertical position and switch to a horizontal position when you feel comfortable. Being in an upright position makes it easier to fully deflate your BDC and control your descent rate. A lot of divers like to wear “comfort weight”. As a perfectly weighted diver you won’t sink like a stone, it’s normal to pull yourself down on a line or kick to get past the first few feet. I like to take a big exhale and reverse frog kick to get off the surface.
Once you’re descending you’ll realise that the deeper you go the more negatively buoyant you
become. Counterbalance this by adding air to your BCD. Add air gradually to control your descent rate, you may be surprised at the amount of air you have to add depending on your depth.
2. Get Trim
If you’re swimming in a horizontal position but find your torso higher than your legs, it suggests that you’re overweighted. This can cause over exertion; depleting your air quickly, and possibly
damaging precious coral with your fins. If you’re swimming in a horizontal position but find your legs are higher than your torso, you’re probably underweighted. Again leading to over exertion. This may happen at the dive proceeds because your cylinder is getting lighter.
As you learnt in your Open Water Course, air expands as you ascend. The air in your BCD will
expand when you get shallower (e.g. ascending to your safety stop). To avoid any runaway
ascents prepare for this action by letting air out of your BCD. Don’t forget air always comes out
from the highest point, so when you’re in a divers position you may have to adjust yourself to make your low pressure inflator (LPI) the highest point.
Tip: look towards your LPI as you release air, your body will automatically tilt to make your left
shoulder the highest point.
3. Breathe Easy
When you’re comfortable at the desired depth, focus on your breath. Your lungs act as an internal BCD; when you inhale your lungs inflate causing you to rise (slightly), when you exhale your lungs deflate causing you to fall (slightly). There is a delay from the inhalation and the physical reaction(about 3 seconds), so take controlled relaxed breathes. You could take a deep inhale to rise over a coral head or a long exhale if you’re trying to examine the nurse shark under an overhang.
4. Log It
Be aware of all the factors that could effect your weighting and keep a detailed log book, especially if you’re not a regular diver this will make it easier for you on your next diving trip.
Firstly Fresh water/ salt water
Secondly Length and thickness of wetsuit
Lastly Time lapsed since your last dive (the more experienced you become the less weight you need)
5. Go Dive
Once you’ve mastered neutral buoyancy you’ll be able to relax during a dive and enjoy the
underwater environment. You’ll be able to cruise through Caymans swim throughs’ easily and
without kicking up the sand for the poor guy behind you; Snapper Hole, Turtle Pass and Iron Shore Gardens are a few of my favouritesI hope you remember these Diving tips.