How to Improve Your Buoyancy Control?



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Buoyancy control is without a doubt the hardest diving skill to master. But once you have learned how to do it, diving becomes a lot more fun. Johan of DIVEadventures gives some practical tips for improving your buoyancy control, that can also come in handy for the more experienced diver.


19-08-2015 -  by Kevin Van der Straeten

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Buoyancy control is without a doubt the hardest diving skill to master. But once you have learned how to do it, diving becomes a lot more fun. Johan of DIVEadventures gives some practical tips for improving your buoyancy control, that can also come in handy for the more experienced diver.

 

Hi Johan, welcome back to our studio.  

 

Hello.  

 

Today's topic is buoyancy control, one of the most important things in diving, but also the most difficult, I think.  

 

Yeah, so buoyancy is important. Why? Because when you're diving, you're not allowed to touch the coral or the bottom. That's why it's important. Many beginning divers have problems with the buoyancy. And that's why you have to learn it.  

 

And how do we do it? How do we make sure we keep in control?  

 

There are three pillars on which the buoyancy rests. One of the most important things is the trim, as we call it. So the position of the body in the water. It has to be horizontal. The second point is the weighting, the proper weighting. Many divers have too much weight or not enough, so that's also important. And the third thing is breathing control. All those three things are important for the perfect buoyancy.  

 

But let's start with the trim.  

 

Yes, first of all we have the position of the body. The position is like a cyclist or a race car. It has to be streamlined. So if you're diving like this, you're not streamlined. That means that you have much resistance from the water. And secondly, you're kicking all the sediment with the fins, and that's not good. So you have to be horizontal. But I'm coming to the second point now. It also has to do with the weights, of course.  

 

The ballast weight, yeah.  

 

A lot of the weights are mostly in the middle of your body. So if you have too much weight, it pulls you down like this, and you will get into a more vertical position. So that's not good. The position of the weight on your body is also important, because if the weight is more on the head side, then you go like this. If it's more at the feet, then you go like this. It has to be somewhere neutral so that you'll be perfectly in balance.  

 

Is that also the reason why most BCD-jackets have those small pockets, to put weights in?  

 

Yeah, normally we have what we call trim pockets. So we have trim pockets behind at the tank, you have trim pockets here more at the sides of the body. Everywhere. So the BCDs, the modern BCDs, have many places where you can put the weight.  

 

So you can distribute the ballast weight?  

 

Yes, that's the idea, in fact, yeah.  

 

So that also helps?  

 

Of course.  

 

But then you're horizontal, but then again a lot of people go up and down.  

 

Yeah, that's normal because when we're breathing, when we breathe in, we go up. If we exhale, we go down. So normally, when you inhale: up, exhale: down. So you have to find a neutral point, and one of the tricks we teach our students, is that you have to be neutrally buoyant with almost full lungs. So when your lungs are full, you cannot rise any more. So you stay at the same level. That's the whole idea. But there is also a difference between breathing at the surface and breathing under water. Normally we don't think about breathing. It's something normal and we do it without thinking about it. But under water the breathing pattern has to be different. Normally what we teach our students is: the interval between two breaths has to be longer than normal. So it can be 10, 20, maybe 30 seconds. And then you have to inhale very quickly and also exhale very quickly. And then you stay at the same level with full lungs like this. That's the whole idea. But of course it's not easy to do it...  

 

No, this is of course the theory, but I think it takes a lot of practice to do so.  

 

We have of course a course to learn it. It's called the Specialty Peak Performance Buoyancy Course. And there you will learn everything I told about, so the buoyancy, the trim, the weighting, the breathing... And we learn it really with counting the time, in fact. So you have to be conscious of the new pattern. It's not going to happen like this. You have to learn it, really. And be busy with it. That's quite important, yeah.  

 

Okay Johan, thank you for those tips.  

 

Okay, thank you.  

 

And you at home: thank you for watching our show. I hope

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