Having good buoyancy skills is essential to being not only a competent diver but also a safe one. It is something that you will practice and develop on every dive after you learn the proper techniques.
We all know how frustrating it can be to get to a dive site with conditions looking beautiful, only to find a less experienced group of divers getting out of the water having dragged along the bottom silting up the site, lowering the visibility. At the same time, many instructors overweight their students to overcome the obstacle of poor descent technique, which in turn doesn’t help the student properly practice buoyancy skills.
I am a believer that every diver who has completed their Open Water Course should go on to their Advanced Open Water Course sooner rather than later. Furthermore, even though it is not one of the compulsory modules I would recommend the Peak Performance Buoyancy adventure dive for any student looking to improve their diving skills.
During your Advanced Open Water Course with Abyss Scuba Diving you will complete the Peak Performance Buoyancy adventure dive on the first day of the course. The first step is discussing breathing and visualization techniques because if you are focused and prepared before you enter the water you will find it much easier to control your buoyancy during the dive.
At the surface we will do buoyancy checks to properly weight each student. Most people find they drop a significant amount of weight than what they used in the Open Water Course. We will leave whatever weight is dropped at the entry point and then use various techniques discussed beforehand to descend in a controlled manner. You don’t want to just deflate and sink, if it’s that easy you are wearing too much weight.
Underwater we will practice some hovering in different positions such as the Buddha pose, Upside down, recline position and skydiver pose. If needed adjustments can be made to where your weights are placed to achieve the right balance for the student.
When I did my Advanced course years ago in Jamaica my instructor dug a stick into the sand and my test was to hover upside down for a few minutes with my nose touching the top of the stick. It was a lot of fun and made the course all the more enjoyable.
After perfecting our hovers we move onto the hoops. Students will be asked to swim through several hoops without touching the edges to work on their streamlining and body position as well as displaying efficient fin kicking styles such as the kick and glide. We will teach you the proper techniques to harness the potential energy of the fin.
To finish off the Peak Performance adventure dive we go for a dive while practicing all the techniques we have learnt, and trying to avoid dragging along the bottom or ballooning to the surface. Students will learn to use their breath to manipulate their position in the water. For example, as you approach a rock formation you may breathe in as you approach to lift yourself over the rock, and then exhale as you have to drop back down on the other side. It is truly amazing how useful your lungs are when it comes to buoyancy.
After you have completed the Peak Performance Buoyancy module of the Advanced Open Water Course you will feel much more confident in the water, and you will continue to develop as a diver on each dive you do. This adventure dive will also credit towards the Peak Performance Buoyancy Specialty, getting you that little bit closer to the Master Scuba Diver rating.
If you are currently an Open Water Diver, don’t hesitate in going for the Advanced Open Water Course, it will give you a fantastic platform with which to become a safer diver, and I guarantee you will enjoy your diving much more.
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