12 Tips to Conserve Air Scuba Diving

As a scuba woman I want to know how can I make my air last longer? Why is conserving air so important for scuba divers? Simply put conserving air when scuba diving gives us longer dive times. It has happened to us all, in the midst of a spectacular dive we’ve had to return to the boat early as either our buddy or ourselves were low on air. Conserving air makes us more confident divers but really we want to be underwater exploring our oceans for as long as possible. To conserve air remember scuba lesson number one – breathe – never hold your breath. Breathing calmly and slowly underwater will give you longer bottom times and help you become a composed scuba diver. Many factors contribute to how much air you breathe, with practice you can conserve air whilst scuba diving. Here are my 12 best tips for conserving air when scuba diving.

How to conserve air while scuba diving

Female diver floating in bubbles EMPTY NEST DIVER
Why is conserving air so important for scuba divers?
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1/ Use your snorkel to conserve air while scuba diving

Start conserving air before you are underwater. Don’t waste air above water. Use your snorkel. Having backward rolled into the open ocean it is time to meet the group at the mooring line for your descent. Replace your regulator with your snorkel, facing your reg downwards to prevent free flow; use your snorkel for the swim to conserve air. A lot of divers waste air before they have even begun their dive.

2/ A controlled descent will conserve air

As a female diver it has taken me some time to perfect my descent. I have noticed a big improvement in the amount of air I use. Some divers start swimming down straight away, wasting air. Remain vertical, fins pointing down, legs slightly bent to lesson water resistance, deflate and exhale. Slowly sinking without effort you are conserving air. Use the anchor or mooring line to guide you, especially if there’s current, or you are having trouble equalizing Once you reach the dive site, let go and slowly fin away. I exerted a lot energy try to descend, breathing a lot of air, now it requires no effort. How to conserve air while scuba diving? Control your descent.

A SCUBA WOMAN Female diver EMPTY NEST DIVER
Conserve air with a conrolled descent

3/ Slow deep breaths will conserve air

Long steady breaths. Inhale slowly and deeply, slightly pausing before steadily exhaling. Slight pause, inhale slowly, pause, exhale slowly. Breathing this way creates a good gas exchange, oxygenating your body whilst removing carbon dioxide. Though it it may feel as if you are using more air because of the bigger breaths your body is utilizing air more effeciently allowing you to conserve air diving. Never hold your breath while scuba diving or over expand your lungs. How to conserve air while scuba diving? Simple – Breathe slowly and deeply.

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4/ Slow down – conserve your air

Slow down, relax and enjoy being underwater. Swimming around rapidly is detrimental to your dive, both scaring marine animals away and using more air. Quietly immerse yourself into your surroundings, using slow controlled movements, hover and become part of the environment. It is astonishing how much more you will see, and how much air you will conserve.   

5/ Correct weights while scuba diving will conserve air

Get your weights right. As a scuba woman diver I have had trouble with my weights. Continually inflating and deflating your buoyancy compensator will waste air.   An inflated BCD  increases water resistance which requires more effort to swim, using more air. How to conserve air while diving? Get your buoyancy right and conserving air will be your reward.

6/ Breathing calmly through anxiety will conserve air

Show me an anxious diver and I will show you someone who burns through air.  Big long steady breaths will help calm you and conserve air.  As a female diver I have spent a whole dive talking myself “down,” but I have always maintained steady breathing. Count – inhale for four exhale for six if you can manage it. Always breathe, never hold your breath. Dive within your limits, learn safely, and improve. My first wreck dive I was anxious, and it showed in my air consumption. Every dive you learn, take that knowledge, and apply it to the next dive.

Shark EMPTY NEST DIVER
Inhale, exhale remain calm

7/ Keeping warm conserves air

If I am cold my metabolism goes into overdrive trying to warm me up. It can shorten my dive by a good 10 – 15 minutes.  In the cooler months I layer under my wetsuit, I wear socks, gloves, and a hood.  During the surface break this scuba woman look very unglamorous with my green beanie and woollen gloves. Invest in a good windbreak jacket. Drink something hot between dives. How to conserve air while scuba diving? Keep warm.

SHOP SCUBA GEAR
A SCUBA WOMANdiver EMPTY NEST DIVER
Wear extra layers, gloves and hood to keep warm

8/ How to conserve air – Never get complacent

Check your gauge regularly. I roughly know what my air should be at different parts of the dive.  Knowing I am on track stops anxiety which also conserves air.  If for some reason I’m using a bit more than normal, I go slightly higher, slow my movements and steady my breathing. If that doesn’t work, I let my buddy know.  I always let the guide know, if I am in any way concerned I am using more air than normal.

9/ Watching your depth can conserve air

The deeper you descend the more air you breathe, one breath can be the equivalent to four on the surface, come up a meter or two if you don’t need to be so deep. If you tend to use more air than your buddy dive slightly higher than them. Diving slightly elevated shouldn’t affect what you see but it may extend your dive time by conserving air.

Bubbles EMPTY NEST DIVER
Breathe underwater

10/ Kicking styles can help conserve air

Consider your kicking styles, the flutter kick is vigorous, ideal in current. Current free the flutter kick uses a lot of energy which increases your air consumption. Practice the frog kick. The frog kick helps your buoyancy, keeping your body horizontal, and allows for a natural rest between kicks – meaning less energy – less air consumption. 

SHOP SCUBA GEAR

11/ Maintain your equipment

Always check for small leaks. They say small bubbles small troubles, I don’t like any bubbles or any troubles! Check o’rings and listen for any escaping air. Keep all gear clipped and tucked into your BCD and don’t take any unnecessary equipment with you, be as streamlined as possible.  The less water resistance the better. Check your tank is full before the dive.

Female diver checking equipment EMPTY NEST DIVER
Check your equipment

12/ Get your lungs healthy

How to conserve air while scuba diving? Get your lungs healthy. Introduce cardio activities into your daily routine. A brisk walk, swim or bike ride will help expand and strengthen your lungs.

It’s never too late – TAKE THE DIVE WITH TANYA

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Published by emptynestdiver

Learning to dive in my fifties has been a great adventure, I am a senior scuba diver but young at heart.

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