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21Jan/100

Learning Neutral Buoyancy Scuba Diving Control How To

I have many of the open water skills mastered but as with any thing else try to practice each one to keep my muscle memory fresh in case I need the skill during an emergency.  My next skill I've been trying to polish up on is buoyancy control.  During my first dives my hands flailed a lot, I seemed to either be positive or negative and had trouble hitting the sweet spot.  I think a lot of it was I didn't sit down and think about it until many frustrating dives later.  I've also been logging things I've figured out and tips that may help others which is below:

  • Go to a pool and figure out how much weight you should have to begin with. The more weight you have the harder it is to find the sweet spot.
  • The correct way to figure out your weight, for me at least:  Dive around in the pool and practice skills until you get 500-600psi.  At that point empty your BC completely and make sure your wetsuit is flooded.  Take out weights until you are neutral.  I keep playing with it until i could go up or down just by adjusting my air intake and exhale.  For the next 2 minutes I was in buoyancy heaven.
  • The key seems to be having your BC almost empty.  Its easy to judge where you are when you know you'll be close to natural with all your air out.  It gets hard to find when you have to fill your BC to an arbitrary amount between full and not full.
  • Its really nice to make your safety stop without a line because you ascend in a controlled fashion and by letting air you don't plummet too fast to make an adjustment after letting your BC air out.

I still don't have this perfected mostly because it takes me a minute to get my breathing right and body position right. But I'm getting better.  The reduced weight helps a lot to quickly get to neutral by an empty BC. Problems I have is grabbing a different tank, taking extra equipment, etc.  I've been writing weight +- buoyancy on all my gear to help with on the fly adjustments.

Hope this helps and please comment or add your own experiences.  I'd like to hear from you.

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