Improving Your Buoyancy Control

Improving Your Buoyancy Control

Nailing Buoyancy Control Dramatically Increases your Enjoyment of Scuba Diving

Some divers get diving immediately but not all. Students who are strong swimmers and confident in water tend to find the course easy and a whole lot of fun. This gives the opportunity to experiment and really get hold of buoyancy during the PADI Open Water Course.

That’s not the case for all new divers. Although you’ve successfully completed all the skills, had immense fun and opened up a whole new world, you still may not have quite grasped perfect buoyancy control. You’re in the general ball park but you still need some work.

A few indicators that suggest you may need to work on buoyancy would be; quick descents, overuse of BCD, constantly kicking, using your hands and heavy air consumption. If you have any of these issues then please read on, there could be a simple fix.

Why Should I Care?

Safety is always paramount, enjoyment and protecting the environment are very close behind. All can be affected by being overweighted:

  • Quick descents can cause equalising issues
  • Being overweighted can accentuate emergency situations at the surface
  • Constant kicking leads to heavy air consumption and possibly greater DSC risk
  • Greater chance of damaging delicate marine life

Never be afraid to ask your guide, instructor or buddy for advice, our jobs are much easier if you have good buoyancy control so we’ll be more than happy to help.

Strange as it sounds, overweighting can lead to fast ascents. Excess air that you’ve put in your BCD will expand as you go shallower and so accelerating your ascent. What goes in must come out but that’s easy to forget. If you’re correctly weighted, you’ll barely need to put air into your BCD while diving which will almost completely nullify the chance of a fast ascent.

If you struggle to stay down on a safety stop, get your buddy to check your BCD for trapped air. Quite often the diver still has lots of air in the BCD and simply hasn’t vented correctly. So the next dive they’ll add a weight to compensate. We’ve seen this countless times, make sure you’re in the correct position to vent air from your BCD if you need to do so. The air will always go the highest point of the BCD so remember to be in a vertical position and extend the low pressure inflator hose before venting. If you’re in a head down, feet up position then use the rear dump valve.

Check Yourself

You should be diving in a horizontal position, when you stop to look at something you shouldn’t sink or float but remain neutral. So every few minutes completely stop, you should be able to remain in position without using fins or hands, just breathing control.

the correct position for diving

the correct position for diving

Relax And Don’t Be Afraid To Say Stop!

Good practice for buoyancy control starts before the dive. Make sure you kit up well beforehand, give yourself a chance to complete an unhurried buddy check and make sure you understand the dive briefing. Rushing around or being confused before the dive can raise your heart rate and therefore breathing making a descent a lot harder than it should be. If you feel you’re breathing getting deeper, ask your guide/instructor to stop or slow down.

If you have a long swim to the decent point then again stop and relax, get your breathing under control before you descend. Many new divers carry too much weight simply because of heavy breathing on the surface. Being overweighted makes buoyancy control extremely difficult for new divers but is a very common issue.

Keep It Simple

You will see divers who have a ridiculous amount of accessories, most of which they have no idea what to do with. Avoid the Christmas tree look for a while and keep it simple. Slowly build up your extras and make sure they’re actually useful.

Avoid using cameras until you’re really competent. We go into that in more detail in our photography tips section which you read here – getting started with photography

Buoyancy Check & Log It

You should have been shown and asked to carry out buoyancy checks at the surface during your PADI Open Water Course. If you can’t remember how to do it then ask your guide or instructor to refresh you. You should run through this procedure any time you change equipment or if you haven’t dived for a long time and then make sure you log it.

You’ll then very quickly build up a reference for how many weights you need in various diving situations and be able to quickly and confidently set yourself up for a dive which can help alleviate some unnecessary anxiety and relax you a little quicker.

Do Your Research And Don’t Be Afraid To Ask

There will be dive sites that require a quick decent or even a negative entry. If you feel you need time on the surface then avoid this type of dive for a while. Ask your dive centre or dive master well in advance about the different dive sites and plan your trip accordingly.

Be Patient And Stick With It

It may take you 10 or 20 dives before you really master buoyancy, don’t worry you won’t be alone. Be patient, when you finally nail buoyancy you really get to enjoy diving and concentrate on taking in the wonderful world under the waves rather than being worried about were you are in the water. The more relaxed you are the less air you’ll use so the more time you’ll get. Taking the PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy Specialty will be a great help to quickly get you on track.

Of our day trip tours, Racha Noi/Yai and Phi Phi/Shark Point will not require a fast descent in normal conditions. Things can get a little hurried and hectic on the King Cruiser dive.

Get in touch with our experienced staff to talk about any issues you have. Let us solve them and ultimately make diving the wonderful activity that is is.

Solve Your Buoyancy Issues With Local Dive Thailand

By Justin Hartrey

I've been enjoying the incredible marine life in our oceans for over 25 years. 13 years ago I became a PADI professional, hoping to introduce as many people as possible to the incredible beauty of the seas.

Having been fortunate enough to dive all over south east and especially Thailand, I enjoy sharing my experience and passion on this blog.

Posted in Scuba Diving For Beginners on .

Popular Services

luxury similan island liveaboard the phinisi

The Phinisi Similan Islands Liveaboard

The Phinisi is a traditional Indonesian designed two masted sailing ship. This elegant boat is the only one we know of that sails in the Similan Islands. She also runs to Myanmar and the South Andaman covering the best diving that surrounds Phuket. Operated by the same owners as The Junk the official name of the Phinisi Similan Islands liveaboard is 'Cheng I Sao'. it's the name of a pirate queen loosely portrayed in The Pirates Of The Cari [...]

Find Out More
Diving Phuket With Hawksbill Turtles

Turtle Rock – Phi Phi Ley

If you want to go diving with turtles then Turtle Rock is the dive site for you. It's very rare that we don't see hawksbill turtles and usually more than one. They feed on the shallow shelves that run along the wall at Koh Phi Phi Ley. So shallow that snorkelers can usually see them. Quite often your safety stop is spent observing the turtles munching away on the bubble corals. They've got pretty used to divers over the years and seem to be c [...]

Find Out More

Daily Schedules

M/V Kepsub Schedule

Jobs @ Local Dive Thailand

Local Dive Thailand is one of Phuket's fatest growing & most vibrant scuba diving operations, we are always looking for quality staff to join us, so feel free to have a look at our jobs listing page.

Job Listings

Contact LDT

Local Guides, Local Knowledge, Local Experiences

Don't trust your diving to amateurs or freshly minted dive guides, dive with local experienced experts from Local Dive Thailand. Our Scuba Diving Phuket Tours will take you to see the rarest of the rare critters, you will be amazed by the macro life our guides can find, in the secret places only they know. To put it in perspective, if you were going to climb Mount Everest you would certainly hire a local sherpa to lead the way & keep you safe. Diving is similar because there is absolutely no substitute for local experience & local knowledge, Local Dive Thailand's guides are Phuket's Sherpa's of the Andaman Sea!

Learn More About Us

Scuba Diving Phuket, Phi Phi & Thailand

When talking about Scuba Diving in Phuket, you should believe the hype, many seasons we have had Whale Sharks grace us on our regular and easy to reach dive sites and on a good day you can add Sea Horses, Sea Moths, Snake Eels, Frog Fish & Octopus to what you can see on any given dive and so much more. If we are heading to Phi Phi Island for the day, you can possibly see Hawksbill Sea Turtles and Black Tip Reef Sharks, also don't forget the King Cruiser, 84 meters of beautiful wreck and the most amazing reef nursery for fish and nudibranch. Local Dive Thailand day trip tours to these locations are not to be missed when you are scuba diving Phuket, get in touch with us and book an 'awesome' day of diving.

Book Your Day Trip

Related News From Local Dive Thailand

See why we are Thailand's leading scuba diving Phuket tour provider, stay up to date & watch out for news & special liveaboard offers!

eLearning On A Phuket Diving Boat The Archives

What Is PADI elearning ?

In this digital age books are fast becoming a relic of the past, we can access all the information we need through the internet and diving is no different. 2017 marks the 10 year anniversary of the PADI elearning initiative, the modern way of learning. Just as you can access your Facebook and instagramm accounts pretty much anywhere at anytime you can do the same with your dive theory and arrive on your holiday safe in the knowledge that y [...]

Read Full Story
False Clown Anemone Fish (Amphiprion ocellaris) At Anemone Reef Rare & Peculiar Critters

Clownfish And Their Dirty Secrets

Finding clownfish/anemonefish in Phuket is not a difficult task for our diving guides, we have four different species of the 28 known that we regularly find, all colourful and all have the quirky clownfish attitude that makes them a favourite with divers but behind the cute colours are some very strange facts. I'm sure you're aware that they have a symbiotic relationship with anemone's but this doesn't come as easy to the clownfish as you [...]

Read Full Story
Scuba Diving Boat At Racha Noi Phuket Amazing Local Dives

What is The Best Dive Site In Phuket?

The best dive site in Phuket is of course subjective. Scuba diving in Phuket offers a variety of different dive types. It can be difficult to choose which trip to join especially if you have only one day. So we'll try to help you make up your mind with our top picks covering various different styles of dive site. I'm going to omit the South Tip of Racha Noi from this list simply because although it's a fantastic dive site we simply can't [...]

Read Full Story

Local Dive Thailand Office In Phuket


Find Us On Google Maps