Skills » Air usage

5 techniques to conserve air while scuba diving




Have you ever gone scuba diving with a group of divers and found yourself running out of air before others in the group? If so, you may be breathing inefficiently and depleting the air in your tank well before you should. Of course, there are factors that may be beyond your control. For example, smaller divers use less air. If you're larger than other divers, you'll use more air. That said, there's likely plenty you can do to conserve the air in your tank so you can enjoy the experience of each dive more fully. Below, you'll find 5 strategies that we recommend you explore to conserve your air during your dives.

Techniques

Technique #1: Get more diving experience

New divers burn through more air than experienced divers. Most experts think the reason is due to beginning divers being anxious in a new environment. Their heart beats faster, they breathe faster and as a result, deplete the air in their tanks faster. Dive often to grow comfortable with being underwater for longer periods of time. With experience, you'll likely find you're less anxious and using less air.

Technique #2: Get some rest

When your body is tired, it requires more oxygen to function properly. When you're scuba diving, your body will use the air in your tank more quickly. If you drink a lot of alcohol the night prior to a dive, you'll find that your body needs more air than normal to feel alert and energetic. Try to rest peacefully the night before a dive. Your air tank will probably last longer.

Technique #3: Slow down

A lot of beginning divers are excited underwater and race to new destinations. However, the increased speed they use to propel themselves requires more air for their body to react. They don't realize that the amount of air required is not proportional to the speed they swim. That is, increasing their speed 20% can require 40% more air. Slow down. Swim at a leisurely pace and you'll end up extending the life of your air tank.

Technique #4: Streamline everything

You may be surprised by the things that can create drag while underwater. Keep in mind that an increase in drag causes you to use more energy to realize the same results. That is, if you have items that are creating a drag, your body will need more air to swim the same distance. Try to streamline your gear by putting items in pockets (if they fit) or simply leaving unnecessary items behind.

Technique #5: Take deep breaths

When you breathe shallowly, the oxygen doesn't enter your bloodstream. So, even though it feels as if you're getting the air you need, you're not. Take deep breaths and let the air enter your lungs. That way you can release as much carbon dioxide as possible while maximizing your body's use of the oxygen in your air tank.

Extending your dive by conserving air

There are several things you can do to conserve the air in your tank and extend the time you have underwater. Try to get as much diving experience as possible so you don't feel anxious or nervous while diving. Make sure you're rested before a dive and take your time while getting from point to point underwater. Also, check to make sure your gear isn't creating drag around your body. Finally, practice taking deep breaths so your body can make the most use of the oxygen in your air tank. If you can master these techniques, you can extend your scuba diving adventures.