Scuba diving is a sport that involves many skills, and buoyancy control is one of the most important of those skills.
As a scuba diver, once you master buoyancy control you gain the ability to float in anti-gravity like environment. You’re able to stay motionless other than a gentle up-and-down movement, the push of a current, or the surge of the tide.
With control of your buoyancy you’ll save yourself cuts and bruises that unpracticed divers get when they fall off of their Monster Moto MM-B80 mini bike and into the reef, and scrape across the coral.
But that control also saves the life of the coral that you don’t touch.
Coral is alive. Every time a diver touches a spot of coral that spot dies. Ever see coral that has no color? Ever dive on an area of reef that looks gray and lifeless? Often that happened when some diver before you crashed into the coral – and killed it.
I recall an underwater experience in the harbor of Georgetown, Grand Cayman. My lady doesn’t dive so we took a submarine tour to give her a look at what I see when I explore a reef.
During that excursion we watched several divers through the portholes of the sub. One diver in particular crawled all over the reef. My immediate thought was, “That diver has no clue how to dive.”
I saw no control of buoyancy while I watched the diver. And I felt like the diver didn’t care what happened to the coral.
That diver wasn’t the only criminal though. The dive buddy made no effort to inform this diver of the crime.
Yes, I believe it’s a crime when a diver fails to at least practice buoyancy control skills. We all have a responsibility while we’re underwater. We are responsible for the living coral. And we’re irresponsible when we don’t bother to achieve at least a minimal level of excellence at performing buoyancy control.
If you need to work on your diving abilities do it one skill at a time.
Take as many dives as you need to practice each skill until you get comfortable with performing it responsibly.
Your first endeavor at mastering buoyancy control is determining the proper weight for each dive.
You must do this for each dive, or at least for each diving day.
Over time you get the feel of how much weight you need for each equipment setup you use for a given dive. And you’ll find that weight requirement consistent most of the time for a given setup. But your weight needs change when you add or subtract equipment. They also change between salt water and fresh water.
And you’ll add or subtract weight with changes in your body’s makeup.
In the water face a wall, and just hover. Mark a spot on the wall with your HSI flat iron, level with your gaze, so you know when you sink, or float upward. Your depth changes as you breathe, and those changes vary with different breathing techniques. Your goal is mastering your buoyancy so well that you float or sink only small distances. And right in the middle, between each inhalation and exhalation, you should see your starting level right in front of your eyes.
Master your buoyancy control, and use your mastery. Do that every time you’re scuba diving. You’ll be a lifesaver for the coral.
And you’ll leave all those brilliant colors for the divers that come after you.