As you gain experience as a diver one of the most important skills you can master is control of your buoyancy throughout the dive, this is an important skill which is taught and practised right from the start in your Open Water course, and then improved upon in the Advanced Open Water course.
What’s the big deal about neutral buoyancy?
You start to descend, but suddenly you’re sinking deeper and faster than intended; a quick burst on the BCD inflator hose (once you’ve managed to press the right button) rectifies the problem… but a few seconds later, you start floating towards the surface. By the end of the dive, you’re exasperated and wonder how you managed to use quite so much air!
We’ve all been there – beginners and experienced alike. Learning to perfect your skills so that using your BCD inflator hose is second nature and rising above obstacles just by taking a deeper breath may feel like a distant dream at the start. But why is it so important to stick with it and learn to maintain neutral buoyancy – where you are neither sinking nor floating? The benefits extend beyond the comfort factor – here are a few to consider….
Learn to fly
OK, perhaps not in the literal sense – but the weightlessness of being neutrally buoyant is often compared to a sensation of flying, and is akin to the holy grail of scuba diving skills. Add the PADI Drift Diver course to the mix, and you’ll feel like superman in no time.
Safety, safety, safety
Learning to keep control of your buoyancy means you will stay relaxed, confident and safer in situations where monitoring your depth is crucial – from hovering on safety stops through to avoiding hazards such as dangerous marine life or sharp edges – and even wall diving where the seabed could be hundreds of meters below your fins.
Look, don’t touch – even by accident
The underwater world is filled with beautiful yet incredibly fragile living organisms, from corals and sponges to exotic marine creatures. Just one tiny bump from your fin or a slight brush of hand can destroy in seconds what may have taken decades to flourish. Keep control of your buoyancy you’ll be helping to preserve these stunning waterscapes so that you – and others- can enjoy them time and time again. Project AWARE’s top 10 tips for divers highlights buoyancy control as an important aspect of looking after the marine environment whilst diving – read more about the tips here.
What’s that supposed to be?!
If your photos are regularly turning out as nothing more than a watery blur, then maybe it’s time to look at how your buoyancy skills might be a contributing factor. If you master the skills of staying perfectly still in the water, hovering silently until the perfect shot is composed, then you’ll be taking prize-winning pictures in no time (especially if you’ve completed the PADI Digital Underwater Photographer course).
What’s your air out?
Confused how your buddy only uses 50 bar of air when you manage to use everything but 50 bar? If you’ve not perfected your buoyancy skills and find yourself constantly fighting the ups and downs of your dive, then this could be one of the biggest factors contributing to a higher air consumption rate. By perfecting your trim and learning how to make adjustments to your position just by breathing in and out, you’ll spend less time putting air in and out of your BCD, and more time enjoying longer dives.
If you are continually kicking your fins against the seabed, you’ll no doubt be stirring up vast clouds of silt, turning what was once perfect visibility into a murky soup. So if you want to remain popular with your buddies, make sure you learn how to hover and fin carefully so that everyone can enjoy the view.
Whilst excellent buoyancy control is an asset to any diver, extending both the enjoyment and safety of your dives, it is an essential technique for divers who enjoy underwater photography and filming underwater videos to be in total command of their buoyancy and positioning in the water. Enabling you to have the opportunity to position yourself and the camera in such a way, so that an ordinary snapshot becomes an outstanding photograph or piece of video footage that you want to share, not just with your fellow divers but with all your friends and family as well.
PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy Specialty Course
Book onto the PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy course and not only will you reap the benefits above, but you’ll learn all-important skills which will make you a better, more confident diver, under the expert guidance of a PADI Instructor.
This course includes the PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy manual together with two dives where you learn:
- Trim your scuba gear so that you are perfectly balanced in the water
- Determine your weighting so that you’re not too light or too heavy
- Effortlessly descend and ascend
- Cause no harm to marine life or organisms
- Streamline to save air and move more smoothly through the water.
- Hover effortlessly in vertical and horizontal positions
After taking the PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy course, diving will become more enjoyable, allowing you more time to take in your surroundings. You’ll be able to take better photos as well as help to preserve the marine life – and you’ll be hovering like a Pro on your next safety stop!