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How To Improve Your SCUBA Breathing Rate and Get More Bottom Time

5 Easy Steps You Can Take to Improve Your Breathing Rate and Get More Bottom Time On Your Next Dive!

What if I told you that there are four simple things you can do on your next dive that will absolutely help you maximize your bottom time.

You’ve invested time and money into your training, your dive gear, and even the dive trip itself. It only makes sense that you do what’s possible to safely maximize your time underwater.

Below are five simple steps you can take to help you become more efficient underwater and ultimately lower your breathing rate which will maximize your bottom time! Don't underestimate how powerful some of these steps are. Just because they are easy doesn't mean they aren't extremely effective!

Step 1: Be Very Mindful Of Your Movement! Motion Requires Energy and Energy Requires Motion

Don’t worry, you don’t need to be Isaac Newton to understand this. What you do need to understand is that one of the most important skills you need to master as a diver is how to move when you are underwater! As a diver, you should have a basic understanding of movement and how it affects us.

You See, the more you move underwater the more oxygen your body uses and the more oxygen your body uses, the more gas you’ll burn while diving.

Most of us rarely think about how efficiently we are moving on the surface because we don’t have a limited amount of oxygen while we go about our daily routine.

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Unfortunately, that’s just not the case when we are visiting our favorite reef or wreck. Our gas supply is limited to the available gas inside our SCUBA tank.

That’s why things like kicking technique, weighting and even how you move become important if you really want to maximize your fun time with the fish.

STEP 2: Do a Proper Buoyancy Check! YOU MUST BE PROPERLY WEIGHTED

“You should use ten percent of your body weight in lead when you go diving.”

Have you ever heard this before??? It’s a common yet dangerous recommendation which I’ve heard on dive boats before.

I cannot begin to tell you the headache I get when I hear that!

Just to illustrate how wrong that recommendation is let me walk you through the following scenario.

I live in S. Florida (warm water all year round). Here we absolutely do not need this much ballast to go diving.

I weigh 195 lbs (88.5 kilos). If I were to blindly follow the formula above, I would need to dive with 19.5 lbs (8.8 kilos) of lead. This is an amount of lead that would surely make me sink like a rock were my BCD not fully inflated.

Currently I dive with nothing more than a steel back plate, which is about 6lbs (2.7 kilos) negative. So, if I were to use the formula above, I would be diving with almost 14 more pounds (6.4 kilos) of weight than I actually need.

How much do you think carrying an extra 14 lbs of weight with me on every dive would affect my air consumption?

The extra weight means I need more air in my BCD just to stay neutral. This extra air creates more drag. More drag = more energy wasted.

The extra weight also takes more effort to move, again more energy wasted.

Then there’s the more terrifying aspect of diving with so much extra weight which is that it can be dangerous!

What happens if you’re BCD is punctured? Or if the inflator hose breaks? Can you swim back to the surface with so much weight strapped to you?

Then there’s the more terrifying aspect of diving with so much extra weight which is that it can be dangerous!

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I know, you might be thinking you can always ditch the weight, but what if you can’t. What if you were to lose consciousness and it’s no up to someone else to bring you to the surface.

Even if you could ditch it, how does having un-needed weight benefit you?

Now, there are times and places where diving with 10% or even more than 10% of your body weight may be warranted.

The issue here is not the amount of weight, it’s how you determine how much weight you actually need. As divers we have to be aware of our weighting needs.

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