Tip of the Week

Improving your Air Consumption

When I learnt to dive my air consumption was the worst I have ever seen in any diver. These days I have great air consumption and I can out dive most others. The following are a few tips I have learnt over the year.

Poor Air Consumption

Poor Air Consumption

1. Dive More

Inexperienced divers are famous for burning through their air supply at a furious rate, so one of the best diving tips for saving air is to simply dive more often. You may not be a new diver, but unless you dive almost every week it’s still an unnatural activity. By diving more, your body will get used to the idea, and you’ll breathe less. Come on out on our FREE divmaster led shore dives.

2. Minimize the Lead
If you’re overweighted, you have to put more air into your BC to float it and be neutral. The inflated BC is larger and requires more energy and oxygen to push it through the water. An extra eight pounds of lead means your BC is 3 litres bigger when inflated enough to make you neutral.

3. Use Split Fins
There are significant efficiency gains in using split fins. Normally a good quality pair of split fins uses 30% less air than a traditional blade fin.

v12 split fins

30% impoved air consumption with split fins

4. Stay warm
Wear a good quality, good fitting wetsuit appropriate for the area. If you are cold you will use up oxygen to burn up more energy to keep yourself warm. A Thermalution heated undergarment is a good investment in this area and you will be amazed how much it will improve your air consumption.

5. Swim Slowly
The energy cost of speed is even more than you might think: Swim twice the speed uses 4 times the air.

6. Stay Streamlined.
Dive with a back inflation BCD, use a flutter kick, keep your gauges tucked in and your arms close to your body. All these things will reduce drag and hence save on air.

7. Have a High-Quality Regulator.
A high-quality regulator with a low worker breathing rate will significantly improve your air consumption. It takes energy to breathe and the harder you make that, the more air you will use.

8. Stay Shallow
Because your regulator has to deliver air at the same pressure as the water, a lungful at 10 meters (two atmospheres) takes twice as much out of your tank as does the same breath at the surface. At 30 meters (four atmospheres) it takes twice as much as at 10 meters. There’s absolutely nothing you can do about that except to avoid being deeper than you have to be. If you’re making a transit over an uninteresting sand flat to get to the edge of the drop-off, do it at 5 meters instead of at 12 meters, and you’ll save air?

Most divers start out using lots of air but it is amazing how quickly you will improve. There are a number of things which will improve your air consumption. Why not take advantage of them and maximise the time you can spend diving in what can only be described as a world of wonders.