Manta Divers May 2010 Buoyancy Check
Team Manta had a wonderful time in Grenada, with beautiful weather, warm water and of course, the fun and laughs that go with any Manta Divers’ dive trip! I will be posting a full trip report later this month, so keep an eye on the trip report page for that. In the meanwhile, in preparation for the local diving season, let’s talk about the buoyancy check.
In March, I produced a little video showing how you can lose 10lbs. by upgrading your dive gear and that is great advice for the traveling diver, but what about your personal weight? You may be diving with the same weight you dove in when you did your open water dives, but are you sure that is still the right amount of weight for you? Proper weighting is key to your diving comfort, air conservation, and safety, so it is worth the effort to get it fine tuned.
We all were taught the buoyancy check, but let’s dissect this process to increase the chances of success. First, perform your pre dive safety check, then enter the water with all your gear on. Take a few minutes to get everything thoroughly soaked. Make sure that all your exposure protection is completely wet by opening the front of your wetsuit and allowing the water to flow inside, next to your skin. This will also force any trapped air out of your suit. Wiggle your vest and tighten the cummerbund or straps to get any air out from behind your BCD. Now wade out to where the water is over your head, and have enough air in your BCD to float comfortably at the surface without moving your arms or fins. Be sure that you are in a “shoulders up” position. This will assure that all of the air will be at the shoulder dump valves and ready for release when the time comes. With your regulator in your mouth, take a deep breath (and hold it!), then let all the air out of your BCD by simultaneously pulling on the shoulder dump release and pulling straight down on the corrugated inflator hose. It may take several seconds to evacuate the entire BCD, so be patient and keep pulling until you no longer hear bubbles leaving your vest.
The goal here is to float at eye level with a full breath of air in your lungs and no air in your BCD. If you sink, you obviously have too much weight. Swim into the shore (or to the boat) and decrease your weight by two pounds, being sure to maintain even distribution of your weights. After re-weighting, go out again and repeat the process. If your entire head is out of the water, you don’t have enough weight and you will have to start by adding two pounds, again making sure that you have an equal amount of weight on each side of your body. Repeat until you can float at eye level. Remember that if your weight is way off, you will have to go through this process repeatedly to reach the happy medium, but fight the temptation to make large weight changes. Remind yourself that the reward is worth the effort and time you are putting in now.
Okay, so you have no air in your BCD, your wetsuit completely wet, you are not moving arms or fins, you have your regulator in your mouth, you are holding one breath of air and you are floating at eye level. Now exhale like you are blowing out many birthday candles; many, many candles. You should sink slowly. Like a leaf. Allow yourself to float down in whatever position you fall, so that you do not start moving your arms and fins. If you can sink, then you are ALMOST set. You need to return to the weight bucket once more to add a few pounds to compensate for the increased buoyancy your tank will have at the end of the dive, about 4 pounds for an aluminum 80.
Now you are ready to dive. Enjoy yourself and breathe your tank down to 500-700psi, before returning to your exit point. Complete your safety stop at 15ft. making sure that you can stay at that depth comfortably. You may want to ascend on a line in case you don’t have enough weight, however, if you can comfortably hover at 15 ft. at the end of your dive, then you are weighted correctly. After all this work, your reward will be better air consumption and decreased effort underwater. Your back will thank you too!
In Other News……
Congratulations to Casey Burke who finished his Open Water diver certification, Nikki and John Cappert, who earned the Enriched Air Diver specialty certification, and Mike Benes, who finished his Open Water, Advanced Open Water and Enriched Air diver certifications while on Manta Divers’ Grenada trip. What a great way to finish these fun classes. Good work, all of you!
Sign up and reserve any gear you may need to rent for Manta’s summer dive excursions. We have some rooms reserved for our group in Black River Falls, but they are strictly first come, first served.
Are you ready to hit the big pond and do a Lake Michigan wreck dive? The Port Washington trip July 18 is sold out, but there is still room for the August 15th charter. We will be visiting the Dredge and the Lumberman.