Here are 5 tips for better bouyancy we find especially useful.
Tip #1: Bouyancy by relaxing and breathing
It sounds so simple, but when there are mantas in the water it is hard to relax and exhale, and this can affect your bouyancy. Many divers have trouble with their decent especially. Our advice is don’t rush your decent. Take your time, wash your mask, check your buddies, look around and only descend when you are relaxed and ready.
Underwater it becomes even more important to find a slow, steady rhythm of inhaling and long exhaling. For better buoyancy control try kicking only when you exhale and rest on the inhalation. Keep your shoulders and hips relaxed, kick slow and enjoy your dive.
Tip #2: Know your wetsuit
Here on Lembongan we often wear 5 mm, long wetsuits. These wetsuits are particularly buoyant at the surface, however once underwater the neoprene compresses and they lose a significant amount of positive buoyancy. If you can master tip #1 then you’ll find you won’t need so many weights once you have descended just a few meters.
Also new wetsuits are more buoyant than older wetsuits. Over time and few use the neoprene breaks down and wetsuits float less ad so reducing bouyancy, however they won’t be as warm.
Lastly, find the wetsuit that fits you properly. If the wetsuit is too baggy there will be lots of air trapped inside the suit making buoyancy more difficult, also it won’t keep you nearly as warm.
Tip #3 Body position
In the revised Open Water course there is a new emphasis on improving bouyancy by teaching students to be diving in the “trim” position. What does this mean? It means divers should have flat body position, with the back slightly arched and the knees in line with the shoulders.
The waters around Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida are well known for their currents, so divers with good body position are better able to control their buoyancy in the water column. Your body works just like a wing, so divers with an angled body position have a wider surface for current to push them in different directions.
Tip #4 Weights: How many and where do they go?
One of the most common problems with buoyancy control is that the diver is over weighted. Having too much weight makes buoyancy control more difficult because the diver is constantly having to add and release large amounts of air from their BCD.
For certified divers diving with a dive guide we often recommend divers improve their bouyancy try slowly reducing the amount of weights they use. The guides always have a spare weight they can give away and by experimenting with their weighting divers can find the number that is right for them.
We also find that moving weights from the belt to the tank strap can help bring a divers torso down which goes back to tip #3.
Tip #5 Healthy living for better buoyancy
There are no quick fixes or shortcuts, but by staying in shape you will find buoyancy control easier. Students that do some sort of physical activity outside of diving often have better body co-ordination. They are able to watch how their instructor positions their body or kicks and copy these body movements. Whether it is yoga, dancing, football, or just going for a walk by taking care of your body you will find diving easier and more relaxing.
To learn more about bouyancy control consider enrolling in the PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy course!
We hope to see you on Lembongan soon!