Buoyancy is something that I am still learning and understanding. It has been a huge learning curve. I know the more I practice the better I get. However, completing the PADI Peak Buoyancy Specialty course helped me in understanding how the buoyancy works in the water and how I can make sure I am properly weighed so I can be buoyant well.
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What is buoyancy?
Buoyancy, in simpler scuba diving terms, refers to a tendency that makes the body float in the water. The force of buoyancy is caused by the pressure applied by the water when we descend in the water for a dive.
Six factors impact the buoyancy of scuba divers underwater:
- Weights, the additional weights that the divers wear on their weight belts or in their pockets.
- Air in Buoyancy Compensating Device (BCD). The air can be controlled by either inflating or deflating.
- Wet suit buoyancy.
- Position of your body in the water, which is also called as Trim.
- The depth at which the diver is at.
- Breathing technique.
There are three types of buoyancy:
- Positive buoyancy – The positive buoyancy is when the diver finds it difficult to descend to the bottom in spite of blowing out all the air from their Buoyancy Compensating Device (BCD). This happens when an object (which is the body) is lighter than the fluid (which is the water) it replaces. I have a lot of problem descending and even with a lot of weight, I often have to be pulled down so I can descend.
- Negative buoyancy – The negative buoyancy is when the diver automatically sinks to the bottom once the air is blown out of the Buoyancy Compensating Device (BCD). This happens when an object (which is the body) is heavier than the fluid (which is the water) it replaces.
- Neutral buoyancy – The Neutral buoyancy is where every diver wishes to be. This is where the object’s (which is the body) weight is equal to that of the fluid (which is the water) it replaces. The diver’s body is in the horizontal position while diving if they are neutrally buoyant. And the PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy Specialty course helps the divers in learning and managing their buoyancy while diving.
Wikipedia has a very detailed explanation with pictures of how the buoyancy works.
Why do you need good buoyancy in the water?
Having the right buoyancy underwater helps in many ways. Some of the reasons how it could help the divers are:
- Not harming the marine life – The corals and the marine life are very fragile and it is a diver’s responsibility to be mindful of them. Not being neutrally buoyant can harm the marine life. So. being neutrally buoyant helps in ensuring that the marine life underwater is not harmed.
- Safety – Being neutrally buoyant helps the divers to know their surroundings well. And this way they are well prepared for any unforeseen situations.
- Enjoyment of diving – One of the reasons how being neutrally buoyant can help is by easing the diver. The diver is more relaxed and calm. This way they enjoy the dive more than when struggling to be buoyant all the time. I can personally tell this with experience. I am happy and tend to enjoy my surrounding when I am neutrally buoyant.
- Less tiredness – Constantly trying and focusing on changing buoyancy underwater can be very tiring. It causes fatigue and is not a good feeling. So, being neutrally buoyant helps in reducing the fatigue.
What is PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy Specialty course?
The PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy Specialty course helps the divers improve their buoyancy skills that they usually learn in their Open Water certification course and elevates them.
PADI refers to Professional Association of Diving Instructors. They are the Worldwide leading scuba diving training organisation.
There are only two eligibility requirements for taking up the PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy Specialty course:
- Must be at least Open Water certified.
- Must be at least 10 years of age.
As part of this course, one needs to finish the below:
- eLearning module on the PADI app that will be assigned after enrolling for the course.
- Two dives where one demonstrates their buoyancy skills.
At the end of the course, the diver must have learned:
- To do the buoyancy check on the surface of the water.
- Determine the exact weight required to be neutrally buoyant.
- Use the air efficiently.
- Hover underwater, in a vertical or horizontal position.
Dive Centre Details
The details and the cost of my course are:
- Dive Centre: Scuba Waterhouse/Geo Divers in Sydney, Australia.
- Address: 1/50 George Street, Clyde NSW 2142.
- Cost: AUD 190 for the PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy Specialty course.
- Equipment: AUD 95 for two tanks, BCD, weights, and a regulator. I had my own wet suit, mask (3 mm) with an inner vest, snorkel, fins, and boots.
- Booking: via phone 02 9689 1389.
I dived at Camp Cove as part of the buoyancy course.
I had a great experience interacting with the owner Judith McDonald. She kept me updated throughout and made sure I had all the bookings done prior to the dives. She also arranged for my equipment to be collected by my dive buddy Malcolm on my behalf. The instructor Karleen Going and my dive buddy Malcolm Wright were extremely friendly. They were the best team I could have on that day. Very friendly and patient. They took care of me as they knew that I am still a newbie in diving. I loved diving with these two people.
Techniques that help in buoyancy
There are two techniques that have helped me in being buoyant and are taught in the PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy course.
- Weights – Wearing the right amount of weight can help the diver in being neutrally buoyant. In Australian waters, I need to wear a lot of weights (as close to 24 pounds) to sink and be neutrally buoyant.
- Breath slowly and deeply – Panic or breathing fast does not help buoyancy. Breathing slowly and deeply helps the divers control their buoyancy. This requires a lot of practice and I am still learning how to control my buoyancy by breathing rightly.
The PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy Specialty course did help me and provided me an understanding of the foundations of buoyancy. In all the specialty courses that PADI runs, I definitely suggest doing the Peak Performance Buoyancy Specialty course for sure.
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