Achieving good buoyancy control when scuba diving

26 Jun 2018

Good buoyancy control is often considered to be the ‘holy grail’ of scuba diving; many struggle to perfect it and divers that have it look graceful and at ease in the water.

There are many reasons that divers should strive for good buoyancy control:

  • Reduces gas consumption
  • Comfort in the water
  • Less effort to move
  • Allows divers to get closer to the reef
  • Protects reef from damage
  • Preserves life of equipment
  • More enjoyable, less stressful dives

Many of the issues surrounding buoyancy control come down to correct weighting…
The temptation is to have a bit extra weight, it gets you down so that’s good, right? Wrong! With extra weight comes poor body positioning in the water, usually a fin down head up position so what happens when you kick? You go up! More weight needed then…and the problem continues and, along with that comes higher breathing rate, further increasing the tendency to go up unintentionally ….more weight needed! Soon enough the sight will be a diver in an upright position who sinks everytime he or she stops kicking.

Let’s just suppose that instead of adding more weight we take some off? Crazy right? Wrong again! By reducing the weight the position in the water improves dramatically, a more horizontal posture is achieved, then when finning the diver moves forwards instead of up. Without the stress of yo-yo-ing up and down all over the reef, the diver breathes in a more relaxed manner too so their air consumption improves and a longer dive is enjoyed – more time for spotting mantas, sharks and turtles!

When correctly weighted the diver is able to fine-tune their buoyancy with their breath, taking slow, relaxed breaths; breathe in and you will rise (never ever holding the breath though), breathe out you will descend. No one should have so much weight that they start to plummet down below the surface as soon as they deflate their BCD, a controlled descent should involve an empty BCD and an exhale of breath.

These are just a few of the techniques learned, practiced and perfected on the PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy course and of all the specialty diving courses there are to choose from, the skills gained on this one will be used on every single future dive. Contact us to find out more about the course.