One of highlights of scuba diving is the freedom of movement we feel as we swim weightless underwater. Much like changing gears in a car is difficult to begin with, mastering buoyancy control takes practice. Buoyancy control is one of the most challenging skills for divers to master, but it’s not impossible – just watch our Bali Scuba dive guides when you are put diving.
Here are six tips for buoyancy control to help you feel perfectly weightless on your next dive trip.
1. Get Your Weights Right for Buoyancy
Wearing the right amount of weight is the most important step to mastering buoyancy control, and most divers wear way too much. Do a weight check at the surface by floating upright with your regulator in and exhaling completely. You should only sink until the water’s surface is at eye level. Add or remove weights and repeat until you get it right. Make sure you record the amount of weight you carried in your log book along with information relating to your exposure suit and if you were diving in salt water or fresh water so you can refer to it again in the future.
2. Don’t Sink
A perfectly weighted diver shouldn’t sink like stone. It’s normal to have to exhale, pull yourself down a line or kick yourself down at first, but once you’re a few feet under, you should feel neutral or slightly negative. This will allow you to make a slow, controlled descent with plenty of time for equalizing your ears and mask. Getting down isn’t a race – comfort and safety come first.
3. Short and Sweet
If you feel negatively buoyant at the bottom, add one or two short, quick bursts of air to your BC. Never hold the inflator button down — if you do, you may find yourself overinflated and making a runaway ascent. Check your buoyancy after each burst of air by breathing in and out to see if you rise and fall with your breathing.
4. Easy Does It
Once you feel neutrally buoyant at depth, leave your inflator hose alone – try to use it as little as possible. Instead, make minor buoyancy changes with slow, deliberate breathing. Take a long, deep breath to rise slightly as you swim over a coral head, and exhale slowly and completely to sink if you need to kneel on a sandy bottom.
5. Vent on the Way Up
It seems natural when we are learning to dive that we would inflate our BCD to ascend. Wrong – remember that air expands as you go up which will make you more buoyant. To avoid a runaway ascent situation, always start your ascent by venting some air from your BCD. As you ascend, hold your inflator hose up so you can continue venting air as needed until you reach the surface.
6. Ask your Divemaster & Get Trained
All of our Bali Scuba Divemasters and Instructors are PADI Professional with years of experience. If you are unsure of how many weights you need or what you can do to improve your buoyancy – just ask! Do you want to develop your buoyancy skills? Take the PADI Advanced Open Water course with us while you are in Bali! 5 epic dives to work on getting neutrally buoyant under the guidance of one of our professional PADI Instructors!
Are you ready for your next diving trip to Bali? At Bali Scuba we dive all of Bali’s best and most famous dive sites, including the USAT Liberty shipwreck in Tulamben, Blue Lagoon in Padang Bai, Shark Point at Gili Tepekong and Manta Point and Crystal Bay at Nusa Penida.
To make a booking or for more information, contact us on letsdive@BaliScuba.com