07. BUOYANCY CONTROL

Successfully achieving and maintaining buoyancy control is a technique that divers must consciously visualize and actively practice.

The previous paragraphs have discussed many of the behaviors necessary to achieve proper buoyancy; however, in order to improve, a diver should visualize correct buoyancy control and implement the appropriate techniques when diving. 

Under normal circumstances, most people don’t think about how their body interacts with their surrounding environment. On the surface, the human brain is conditioned to evaluate obstacles in relation to the body, and together, the brain and body compensate almost instinctively. However, when under water, the extra dimension of depth and increased bulk brought on by the additional equipment change the equation. Under these different circumstances, the brain and body are not conditioned to instinctively react. As such, divers are required to be consciously aware of their surroundings and maintain buoyancy control to avoid obstacles and stay at the desired depth.

Prior to taking the SNSI Advanced Open Water Diver course, many divers assessed their buoyancy status by sight, by looking at the surroundings directly in front of them, often failing to accurately take into account their increased mass, including their equipment. The first step towards reaching the goal of proper buoyancy control is to understand that it is more than simply being neutral. It is the integration of the diver, as a unit, with the surrounding environment. Divers that properly visualize their total mass within the water will be able to easily achieve a higher level of buoyancy control when in the water.

Practicing various exercises in a controlled environment will help hone the diver’s senses and skills and improve the diver’s ability to create the mind-body-equipment link necessary to master buoyancy control. For example, closing one’s eyes (while diving in a controlled environment) then visualizing the surrounding environment and maintaining buoyancy, will help the diver improve his spatial awareness in relation to his overall mass. Under the guidance of an SNSI Instructor, the diver will be able to effectively practice these skills and will quickly notice improvements.

It is important to think before acting.

During a dive, the majority of the time is spent hovering over the bottom, or near a reef. If the diver is not thinking about his buoyancy or positioning, it’s likely that he will unintentionally brush up against the reef or collide with the bottom, possibly damaging the reef and, or killing sea life.

To prevent this, the diver must understand and think about their equipment configuration, respiratory capacity and total bulk while under water, how each has changed during the duration of the dive, and act based on those factors.

Understanding and adapting to hydrostatic force is one of the most important techniques the diver must learn. However, with ample practice and the assistance of your SNSI Instructor, you will learn how to adapt to the forces that divers are subjected to during a dive.

M

Advanced Open Water Diver