Have you ever had to end your dive earlier than your buddies due to having lower air than them? Or maybe you feel like you need to improve your scuba breathing? We have just the thing. I know how frustrating it is to not get the most out of your dive, and that’s why we have put together a list of scuba breathing techniques of 10 ways of conserving air and how to breathe longer underwater. Let’s extend that awesome bottom time and dive for longer!
1. First things first, fix those small leaks!
Even the tiniest stream of bubbles can all add up over a 40-minute dive. Always, always, check your equipment, this will help your scuba diving breathing! Bubbles from an O-ring, an inflator hose, and connection points can all contribute. Make sure you have a mask that seals properly, no one wants to waste their air on clearing their mask ever 2 minutes (there’s too much to see).
These can also be a sign of more serious trouble ahead and be a source of added stress, which needlessly elevates your breathing rate. To avoid this, have your equipment serviced regularly by professionals. It really is as simple as that!
2. Take Deep Breaths
So how can we conserve air when scuba diving? The best way to conserve air when you dive is to learn how to breathe properly underwater using your scuba equipment. Forget short shallow breaths as this will shorten your air supply. Think yoga. Breathe slowly, both inhale and exhale deeply, but comfortably.
One way how to breath longer is to avoid taking short shallow breaths, this will shorten your air supply because your body won’t absorb enough oxygen with each breath you take. Don’t try to hold your breath! Why not practice breathing deeply at home? Think of them as underwater breathing exercises.
3. Change your Scuba Diving Technique, Swim Slowly
Another way how to conserve air while scuba diving is to dive slow. It’s quite that simple. The energy you use to swim at speed is much more than you think. If you swim half as fast as you do now you will use a lot less air.
Scuba diving is never a race to see who can swim the fastest, if anything, divers tend to compete on who surfaces with the most air. And if that includes you, then listen up! The only way you will be winning this race is slow and steady. Get bragging rights by slowing things down, take deep breaths, relax and enjoy your dive!
4. Go with the flow
Literally. We don’t mean follow the majority on this one! Using the environmental conditions to your advantage will make your dive so much easier. Sound good? Plan your dive in advance keeping in mind currents and conditions of your chosen dive location.
The best way to use such currents to your advantage is to drift dive. Drift diving helps a lot when it comes to conserving air and energy. Remember, swimming against the currents won’t let you get far. This will only drain your energy and make you use up more of that air.
5. Stay Shallow
This is where things get a little technical. So listen up! As your regulator has to deliver air at the same pressure as the water you are in, a lungful of air at 33 feet (two atmospheres) will take twice as much out of your scuba tank as would the same breath at the surface. At a depth of 99 feet (four atmospheres) will take twice as much as at 33 feet.
There isn’t really anything you can do about this, apart from avoiding diving deeper than you have to be. As an example, if you are heading over to the edge drop off and swimming over an uninteresting sand flat, why not do it at 15 feet rather than at 40. You’ll save air, and have more dive time to look at the more interesting things the ocean has to offer. Go back to what you learned in your first scuba course and brush over those scuba diving techniques again – The deeper you dive, the more air you consume and the shorter the dive.
6. Streamline that body
Improve your scuba breathing techniques by streamlining your body when scuba diving. The scuba gear you wear when you dive will create less drag and decrease resistance while swimming. The idea is to swim horizontally, head first and facing in the direction you wish to go.
Another way to help your scuba breathing is to keep your arms close to your body and ensure your gear and gauges are tucked away. This will ultimately create less drag and reduce your overall air consumption.
7. Perfect your Buoyancy Control
Have you ever found yourself bobbing up and down, upside down or fighting to keep off of the bottom when you’re scuba diving? Don’t worry, it happens to most of us in the beginning.
A lot of people who ask how to breathe longer underwater do not realize that not being unable to control your buoyancy whilst diving results in a diver using extra energy. Using up your energy doing this directly relates to your air consumption. Another reason why good buoyancy control can help make your air last longer is that you don’t need to inflate and deflate your BCD as much during a dive. Practice makes perfect, so get diving and top up those scuba diving techniques.
8. Use your Snorkel on the Surface
We have all taken a swig of sea water at some point in our lives, and let’s be honest, it’s not great! Divers spend a lot of time on the surface during each dive. This can be due to swimming to your dive location, anchor line to descend or even just waiting for a buddy to get into the water.
Snorkels are a great way to avoid drinking that ocean water and to swim on the surface without using up the air in your scuba tank and also another way how to breathe longer underwater. However, sometimes with all those annoying, chopping waves slapping into your face, it is advisable to breathe through your regulator instead. #SaveWater.
9. Fins. Fins. Fins
Bet you didn’t know that? Yes, fins really can affect your air consumption and help us increase how to breathe longer underwater. Well, since they are the main piece of your scuba equipment responsible for our movements underwater, they can make all the difference.
We use fins to make our dives more efficient as it decreases use of energy and in turn, air consumption. It is essential to have the best scuba diving fins as the rate of your breathing and air consumption is directly related to your kicking style. Fintastic!
10. Dive, dive and dive
Last one… And we really did save the best for last! Newbie scuba divers are famous for burning through their air supply. So our secret for how to breathe longer underwater? Dive, dive and dive some more!
Even if you are aren’t a new diver, not all of us are lucky enough to be able to dive every single week. Mastering your air consumption gets better the more you dive and so does your scuba diving technique. Your body will get used to the idea and you will automatically feel more comfortable underneath the waves, allowing you to control your buoyancy better and dive longer.