Let’s take a look at Air Consumption

Welcome to our first Blog.  One of the segments we will talk about from time to time is addressing questions that our dive staff answers on a regular basis. We will title those “Let’s take a look at”.

So let’s take a look at high air consumption.  Nothing is more frustrating to a diver, new and old alike, than paying the same money for a long awaited dive trip to some exotic location only to have to return to the boat long before everyone else due to an air consumption situation.  First let me say, cudo’s to the diver that recognizes their air levels and safely ends their dive instead of sucking the condensation from the tank in lieu of acknowledging the issue.  This not only is dangerous to the diver but it jeopardizes the people diving with them.  That being said, the most common question we get is ” I need to buy or rent a larger tank because I use a lot of air”.  Believe me when I say that in most cases there is always a reason for using a lot of air and it rarely deals with your size or lung capacity.  A bigger tank is not the fix!

High air consumption can usually be attributed to one or more of the items below:

  1. Nerves or comfort level
  2. Improper or Inefficient fin kick
  3. Too much or too little weight
  4. Improper weight distribution
  5. Profile while moving underwater
  6. Unfamiliar Dive Gear

Being nervous or uncomfortable about or during a dive is normal if you haven’t dove for a while or are unsure of your skill level for the dive requirements. But if it happens every dive then you need to take steps to overcome the stress.  Stress sucks air!  Some suggestions……… 

  1. Enroll in a Scuba Refresher every few months to keep your skills sharp and then one right before the trip.  At ARSC we include a complimentary refresher with every trip.
  2. Take a PADI Continuing Education Course.  It’s not just about getting another card it’s about obtaining more confidence, getting guidance and support from an ARSC professional while having fun diving and learning new skills. 

An improper kick is one of the biggest culprits to high air consumption.  Just like an improperly maintained car has poor gas consumption; improperly kicking during a dive will do the same thing to your air.    Try these tips………..

  1. Are your fins in good condition for the best possible performance?  Materials have become lighter, faster and quite simply better. Fins are not a lifetime purchase, upgrade you won’t regret it.
  2. Do you still think diving is a speed sport and the faster the better?  Slow down, kick and then glide as far as you can before your next kick.
  3. Have you had your fins fitted and evaluated by a dive professional to ensure they match your kick and your style of diving?

Too Much, Too Little or Distribution of Weight = Underwater profile problems and all contribute to air consumption problems.  New divers want to wear more lead for a certain comfort level, like a security blanket. But more lead means pushing more volume through the water and using more energy creating less comfort, it’s a cycle.  Not enough weight is usually because a diver has failed to account for the buoyancy of salt water or the thickness change of their suit; whichever it is they struggle.  Even a seasoned diver will consume more air if they are under-weighted and constantly trying to control their buoyancy. Some divers become obsessed with dropping weight but this is never a good idea.  Learn to dive with enough weight to compensate for tank changes at the end of the dive. When you distribute your weight properly you will create a profile that allows you to move effortlessly throught the water (yes, you hear that in your entry level class but it’s still true). Try moving the lead forward, to the tank band if possible or on your ankles.  There are lots of options so experiment.   If you want help from a professional…………..

  1. Enroll in a PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy Course.  It’s like having a private counseling session with a professional to custom tailor your diving style for your weight needs and profile concerns.  Lead placement is unique to each diver and this course finds the perfect place for you to wear the perfect amount of weight.  At ARSC we offer PPB pool clinics all year around in our heated pool so fine tuning your diving is a call away. 

And finally have you ever noticed that you may not drive a rental car with as much comfort and ease as your own.  Or that you play your other sports better with your racket, skis, or golf clubs than the ones you borrowed?  The game is OK but not as good as it could be. Diving is no different.  Owning your own gear makes that much difference in weight distribution through integrated systems and proper fit for streamlining and comfort. It removes the stress from having to figure out how everything works or doesn’t.  If you purchase the right fitting gear for your type of diving along with a custom pool dive to learn how to weight it and use it properly, you will probably pay for the gear with the new dive time you are going to get back underwater because you have fixed your air consumption problems. 

Now that we have looked at Air Consumption, you don’t have to pay to sit on the boat ever again.  Happy Diving From Aquatic Realm.