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Buoyancy Control
The Key to Air
Consumption reduction
and longer scuba dives!
By David Holt NAUI #15465

In the early days of diving, BBC (Before Buoyancy Compensators), divers paid very close attention to their weighting. Without sophisticated equipment to overcome excess weighting the "old timers" were much better at buoyancy control than many modern day divers. With the advent of the BC, divers frequently enter the water grossly overweighed and then attempt to reach neutral buoyancy by adding air to the BC. This practice wastes valuable air and the diver woks harder to move more weight through the water, which also uses more air. Not only that but its dangerous and should be avoided. The connection between overweighing and diving accidents is well documented.

So, what is "proper weighting"? Proper weighing is enough weight to over come the buoyancy of the wet suit at the surface. When the diver releases all the air from the BC at the surface, the diver should sink to the top of his head. Then swim down a few feet until the wet suit compresses and then begin to add air to the BC. If properly weighted it should be quite easy to maintain neutral buoyancy and proper diving trim.

"But Bwana, in my Advanced class, you said have enough weight to hover at 15 feet with no air in the BC." This still holds true! Remember, at the beginning of the dive, your tank has negative buoyancy at and at the end it has positive buoyancy (about 2 pounds positive). The compression of the wet suit will overcome this problem.

"Ah come on, Bwana, you told me what weight to wear in Basic Scuba and I've used the same weight belt with the same weight ever since." Yes, but you now you're a better diver, you're more relaxed, and you breathe with a full lung volume. Its time to remove some of that weight.

Next time you go diving, remove 3 to 5 pounds of lead. You'll be surprised at the difference in buoyancy control and the decrease in air consumption. Also, as an added bonus, your trim will be much better and buoyancy control will be a cinch.

Have fun, and dive safe.
 
 


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