Top 5 Tips to Extend Your Bottom Time during a Scuba Dive
SCUBA Diving is a mesmerizing and magical experience – no doubt! And Pondicherry is one of the best SCUBA diving places in India. It displays heaps of unique marine life and brags about having 26 dive sites! So, considering this and all the amazing benefits of SCUBA diving, you’d want a long and fantastic dive, right? But say you’re fun diving at Aravind’s Wall or at Temple Reef or any sites and always find yourself having a shorter dive than your buddies. We’ve all be there, so don’t worry, this is a common difficulty amongst many divers. The good news is we can fix it! 😃 Check out our top 5 tips to increase your dive time…
This is a biggie! Your method of breathing plays a big role in conserving air, thereby giving you a longer dive within the actual bottom time. Are your breaths too shallow? Could you be simply pushing the air out quickly while exhaling? These factors should be considered while diving. ’Slow and deep breaths’ is your mantra to avoid rapid air consumption. All you need to do is inhale and exhale slowly and deeply without holding your breath. Remember to use only your mouth to breathe underwater.
- Calm and slow yourselves down during the activity.
- Make an ‘O’ shape with your mouth and inhale slowly and deeply till lungs are full.
- Once again make an ‘O’ shape to exhale in a controlled manner from your mouth.
An average person breathes around 20 minutes per minute and by following the above method, you can cut down the breathing cycles to even less than half! Just imagine how much air you’d save! Make sure to practise this every time you dive. We will teach you this technique during your PADI Open Water Diver course or whenever you come diving with us. You can also consider investing in a high-performing regulator, that is engineered to reduce the effort of breathing from the regulator itself.
Buoyancy is one of the most important parts of SCUBA diving because it will also determine the longevity of the dive. Let’s first quickly cover some basic principles of buoyancy. There are three kinds of buoyancy:
- Positive Buoyancy – you float/ rise up
- Negative Buoyancy – you sink
- Neutral Buoyancy – you are mid-water
There’s a lot of physics behind it but this is the simplified version. To be positively buoyant or rise up from the seabed, you add small bursts of air to your BCD. To be negatively buoyant, you release air from your BCD little by little. When you’re neither sinking nor floating, you’re neutrally buoyant like fish, which is what you should aim for while diving.
Now, how does this extend your dive? By adapting to a combination of using breathing and BCD for buoyancy control. Initially, you have to add small bursts of air to your BCD after descending, so that you’re not negatively buoyant. After this, inhale enough to fill your lungs to rise up and exhale to go down. Repeat this process to hover. By doing so, you reduce the amount of air going into your BCD from the cylinder, conserve air and have a longer dive. Neutral buoyancy takes some effort and patience to achieve, but hey, if you can extend your bottom time, it’s worth it right? 😃
We do recommend doing the PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy Speciality course that will hone your buoyancy skills and make you a better diver overall. Just a PADI Open Water diver certification is enough!
The way you streamline yourself sets you apart from a novice diver. This is an important aspect of SCUBA diving and helps you to extend your dive time. You can properly streamline by practising the following steps.
- De-clutter yourself while diving – what this means is, don’t dive with unnecessary equipment. The bulkier you are underwater, the more resistance you’ll face and exert excess energy to swim. Less drag, less energy spent to swim.
- Bring only what is important – usual dive gear + safety gear such as Surface Marker Buoy (SMB), compass, dive computer etc.
- No dangling equipment – put away your gear in pockets or clip them to a D-ring. This prevents the equipment from dangling and damaging the marine ecosystems as well as the gear.
- Weighting – balance your weights for proper trim. For example, if you carry a 5-kilo weight belt, place two on either side and one on the back. You want to have a good horizontal position underwater to swim easily. To check if you’re properly weighted, simply do the buoyancy check. If you have forgotten how to do so, talk to any of our friendly staff.
- Good-fitting diving equipment – a loose BCD, tight fins or boots etc. will need constant adjustments underwater and you will end up spending a lot of your dive time fixing the problems. So always make sure that the equipment you buy or rent fits you properly. We have an on-site pool so find a staff member and jump in to test the equipment.
All these steps will surely improve your air consumption and allow you to get that nice long dive you crave for!
Well this is fun and easy to do, right? 😃 Your SCUBA diving journey does not end after a PADI Discover Scuba Diver programme or a PADI course. The only way to become a fantastic diver is to dive more often in different conditions and depths; to be in touch with the underwater world and getting more comfortable with it. This will help you to relax, better your air consumption and essentially increase the dive time. By diving often, you also improve your buoyancy skills. Practice your skills whenever you go diving, we are happy to help!
If you’re going to be diving often, you may benefit from using Enriched Air instead. Also commonly called “Nitrox”, this breathing gas reduces nitrogen loading by adding a higher oxygen content of maximum 40% – super helpful for repetitive dives! Furthermore, Nitrox extends the no decompression limits, reduces surface interval time and allows a longer bottom time up to a limited depth. Pretty sweet right?
Did you know that faulty SCUBA gear limits the bottom time? We are not kidding! Be it leaks from O-rings or free-flowing mouthpieces or punctured BCDs or unsealed mask, these easily stop you from having the desired fun underwater. Always check your equipment before diving as well. This is one of the reasons why, at Temple Adventures, we advocate for and sell high-quality SCUBA equipment like Scubapro, simply because deep down you always want the best! But just buying the equipment does not suffice. Make sure to annually service them with us and learn to properly maintain your gear. This is super important guys! We also regularly conduct ScubaPro Technician course that will teach you how to repair your gear and care from them. Let us know if you’re interested!
There are a few more ways you can extend your dive. But the above pointers are the starting point for you to have a long, enjoyable dive. Fundamentally, you’ll have to improve your diving skills and to do that, keep diving as much as you can. Lucky for you, Pondicherry offers all sorts of diving, making it a perfect SCUBA diving destination in India to learn and become an amazing diver! Come along now! 😃