Fortunately, because of my work (or unfortunately) I find many divers who don’t know how to control their buoyancy. But a few days ago, I came across a case of a diver who had totally uncontrolled buoyancy. He dropped in uncontrolled descent followed by an uncontrolled ascent and followed by another fall like a lead almost to the bottom (-45m). In every moment, I had to intervene “putting hand” to his BCD and inflator, otherwise it would be dangerous for the diver.
Who is guilty? The diver? In part yes, but this problem really has roots in the first day when one is presented to the world of the diving, in his course of initiation. The importance of teaching buoyancy from the first day is the same as the ability to empty the mask. So why not everybody does it? All manuals of diving initiation talk about buoyancy, but how many instructors teach it? How many divers with 5 dives can say that they control their buoyancy and can descend, ascend and dive having the perfect control of it? And with 500 dives?
As I always say, buoyancy is the ability to be under water where you want to be. Do you want to ascend 30 centimeters? You ascend it and stay there. Do you want to descend 1 meter? You come down and stay there. Without sudden movements, without constantly using the BCD, maintaining control always.
Before figuring out how we do it, we should discover the causes and symptoms of poor buoyancy control.
Symptoms of negative buoyancy (uncontrolled):
1. If you stop and stop moving, you go down.
2. If you stop and constantly do the movement with your hands down like the rappers.
3. If you stop and you need to flutter to stay on the same depth.
4. During the ascent, you need to flutter up.
5. During the descent if you fall with a horizontal trim and to stop you need to stand upright and flutter.
Symptoms of positive buoyancy (uncontrolled):
1. When diving you have a trim with a negative angle (head is lower than knees) and you have to flutter constantly.
Symptoms of uncontrolled buoyancy:
1. You constantly need to inflate or deflate your BCD.
2. You change the depth before controlling it more than 1 meter (both up and down).
3. You constantly need to move your legs and / or hands.
And now, without discovering America, how do we do it?
1. Knowing the capacity of our lungs and USING THEM!
2. Knowing our equipment (in this case BCD and dry suit) and using all its potential correctly (to know when to use the inflator and when the dump valve, when we must add or remove gas from the dry suit, to know how strong and how long we must have the button pressed or pulling the valve cord, “feel” the amount of gas that we add and that we take out).
Let’s go to the important thing. How is it achieved?
1. Training in shallow waters and controlled environments.
2. Constantly training in each dive. Because during any dive you can enjoy it at 100% and train the skills without taking away the part of the fun.
3. Record you on video – we will always have a better reference of what we do well or badly having some visual support.
4. Having a proper diving education. A good instructor will always tell you tips and techniques that you by yourself will take a long time to discover.
I want to pay special attention to the fact that in this article I have not touched the theme of a TRIM which is just as important and is linked very closely to the buoyancy. It has been the purpose, it is so that you are willing to wait for my next article about the trim 😊 And still you can have an exquisite buoyancy and not have a good trim, in this case the buoyancy costs much more, it is more difficult to maintain it and it’s much less efficient… But we’ll talk about it later.
I hope this article has been of your interest! Have a safe dive and always enjoy it! See you under water 😊
Sasha Karnilovich // UTD Instructor #165