Perfecting neutral buoyancy while scuba diving may look easy, but it’s just the opposite. Not only will achieving neutral buoyancy make your dives a better experience, but it will improve your overall athleticism. While buoyancy may be one of the most challenging aspects of diving to master, it’s not impossible.
Here are 5 ways you can hone your abilities and achieve neutral buoyancy fast!
1. Find Your Right Weight
Many professional divers and even instructors are the first to admit that this is the number one reason achieving neutral buoyancy is so hard for people. Often, most divers, especially beginners, wear too much lead to get them down farther. The excess lead is akin to training wheels when it comes to diving. Your best bet is to check your weight at the surface to make sure you’re carrying just the right amount, (not too much). This is done by floating upright and exhaling completely with your regulator in. You know you have the right amount of weight if you sink to eye level only. Simply remove or add more lead until you achieve that level and you’re set!
2. Don’t Overdue Your Air
Another issue divers may run into when trying to achieve the right amount of buoyancy, is adding too much air too quickly. If you find that you need a bit more, add it in short, small bursts to your BC. This will prevent you from accidentally adding too much at once and suddenly shooting to the surface. Adding more air will help you achieve more neutral buoyancy if you’re feeling a bit negatively buoyant.
3. Lower Yourself
We realize the humor in this statement… All we mean by this is that divers who have the right weight for perfect buoyancy, won’t immediately sink to the bottom. They will have to do some work to bring themselves down. It’s perfectly acceptable to pull yourself down or kick yourself down a line until you reach a point where you are feeling neutral or even barely negative. This work you must do makes it easier to descend slowly, allowing your ears and mask to equalize properly.
4. Control Those Breaths
Did you know your own lungs act as natural buoyancy compensators? Next time you need a minor adjustment to your buoyancy, simply inhale or exhale as needed. Say you want to rest or kneel on the bottom, you can exhale all the way to allow yourself to slowly lower. Breathing in and out will adjust your buoyancy by about one whole pound with each breath. With this in mind, learning to control your breaths will keep you from wrongly adjusting that BC’s inflator hose.
5. Neutral Buoyancy Via Proper Ascent
As a rule, it’s best to start your ascent by venting some of the air from your BC. This is because air expands as you rise, which makes you more buoyant. This is also important to avoid health problems or dangers that can occur with hasty ascents.
More Tips for Beginners
You’re now equipped with the basic steps for achieving that perfect, neutral buoyancy. This will enable you to dive like a pro, and take your focus off adjusting your gear and turn it to the amazing underwater world around you.
For more helpful articles on the basics of SCUBA diving, safety, etiquette, and how-to’s, check out our blog page! Take an informative class with us and see for yourself what we have to offer in terms of education.