Have you ever had to end a dive early due to low air? Ever surface after a dive with 1000 psi less than your dive buddies? Often times, the excitement of diving causes us to breathe harder or faster than normal. If you find yourself using more gas than your fellow divers, or simply want to be able to make longer dives than you are presently, focusing on some simple techniques that could easily be overlooked can help you significantly reduce your air consumption.
1. Be relaxed BEFORE you enter the water.
When preparing for all elements of a dive here in the beautiful Florida Keys, we can often become overwhelmed and find ourselves out of breath before even descending. Start preparing as soon as the boat leaves the dock to avoid having to rush around when it’s time to splash.
2. Slow is better.
More often than not, it is possible to see a great deal of life in a smaller area than one would think. Looking a bit closer and swimming at a relaxed pace will not only call for less air use, you might find a creature you would have flown right over had you been torpedoing about!
3. Have a routine.
One of our instructors recommends a counting method for new divers to guide them on breathing rate: A 5-second breath in, followed by a 7-second exhale. Using a count, or simply focusing on breathing calmly and deeply, will relax the heart rate and make for less air consumption and a more enjoyable dive.
4. Focus on buoyancy.
Using breathing to control your buoyancy does wonders in the water. By focusing on timing your breaths to float and sink, you become exceptional at swimming neutrally and expel less energy. As a result you will consume even less air!
5. Dive, Dive, Dive (Here in the Florida Keys of course!)
As we all know, experience is essential to excel at anything, so dive as much as you can, in as many places and conditions as possible. Ask advice of those who have extensive experience and incorporate that into your own diving. We as divers have access to a mesmerizing world with such a diverse plethora of sights to see and creatures to meet. Take advantage of your superpower!