The third - and fi­nal - ar­ti­cle in a se­ries of­fer­ing prac­ti­cal tips on how to dive like a pro. This month we look at buoy­ancy, in­clud­ing breath­ing tech­niques, cor­rect weight­ing and body po­si­tion­ing.

This month, we dis­cuss the thorny topic of buoy­ancy, and of­fer some tips on op­ti­mum body po­si­tion­ing, weight­ing and breath­ing tech­niques

Sport Diver - - Contents - Pho­to­graphs by MARK EVANS

You know the ones I mean. Those divers who just seem to re­main mo­tion­less in the wa­ter col­umn, re­gard­less of whether they are just hov­er­ing, play­ing with a cam­era, launch­ing a DSMB or run­ning through some com­plex tech­ni­cal shut­down drill. It can be frus­trat­ing to be in the wa­ter with these peo­ple when you are a new­bie, and still com­ing to grips with con­trol­ling your buoy­ancy through your breath­ing, your BCD and, if you are in cold wa­ter, your dry­suit. How­ever, while there is no sub­sti­tute for in-wa­ter ex­pe­ri­ence - in gen­eral, you will find that most of these ‘dive gods’ have been div­ing for count­less years or have logged thou­sands of dives, and so have re­lent­lessly honed their tech­nique - there are a few things you can prac­tice and bring into your div­ing ar­se­nal that will get you on the right track. First up is weight­ing. It is no good try­ing to sort out your buoy­ancy if you are vastly over-weighted (or un­der­weighted, for that mat­ter!), as your po­si­tion­ing in the wa­ter will be lousy and you’ll be fight­ing the ef­fects of be­ing too heavy or too light. Do a weight check when you get into the wa­ter and at­tempt to at­tain neu­tral buoy­ancy - the gen­eral rule of thumb is that with no air in your BCD or dry­suit, and with a full breath in your lungs, you should float around eye-level in the wa­ter. Once you’ve got this sorted, make a note of the ex­po­sure pro­tec­tion you are wear­ing and whether you are in salt or fresh wa­ter, as there is noth­ing worse than for­get­ting how much weight you were us­ing when you go div­ing the next time. Now you need to look at weight po­si­tion­ing. The ideal po­si­tion un­der­wa­ter is in a nice hor­i­zon­tal trim - it is the most stream­lined for when you are swim­ming around, and it keeps your legs and fins up away from what­ever is be­low you, be that sand, silt, mud, coral or rock. You want your weights in such a place that you can stay hor­i­zon­tal rel­a­tively eas­ily with­out your legs drop­ping down or your feet float­ing up. Try mov­ing your weight­belt, or re­dis­tribut­ing weight in dumpable and trim pock­ets, un­til stay­ing some­what hor­i­zon­tal is pos­si­ble. Don’t worry if you are a lit­tle un­sta­ble, you will get bet­ter with time, but as long as you are some­where near, it’s a good start. When you are ad­just­ing your depth, keep the changes mi­nor - just add or re­lease small amounts of gas from your BCD and then stop mov­ing af­ter­wards. If you are still drop­ping or ris­ing, add or re­lease a lit­tle more and re­peat. Even­tu­ally you will be at the point where you have at­tained neu­tral buoy­ancy and will just be go­ing up and down slightly as you breathe. Keep your breath­ing nice and reg­u­lar, and that way you will avoid go­ing up or down in the wa­ter col­umn un­nec­es­sar­ily. You will get to the point where you can go up and over, or down and un­der, cer­tain ob­sta­cles sim­ply by us­ing your breath and then re­turn­ing to the depth you were pre­vi­ously at with­out ad­just­ing your BCD. If you are wear­ing a dry­suit, then you have an­other air space to deal with. My per­sonal pref­er­ence is to just add enough gas to the suit to re­move any squeeze, and still use my BCD for buoy­ancy con­trol, as I feel that hav­ing less gas in your dry­suit is a much safer op­tion than hav­ing too much.

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