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SCUBA Skills – What’s up with your Buoyancy?

Drag and Resistance - image of a diver in the correct horizontal position and one in an incorrect position experiencing more drag and resistance

Not all of us can expect to master a perfect lotus position hover straight away like this guy in the YouTube video below. But we can make some minor adjustments that completely transform our diving experience from a struggle, to relaxed and controlled. Scuba Buoyancy control does not need to be a loosing battle.


Common causes of SCUBA Buoyancy problems

Do you remember the buoyancy or weight check you did on your PADI Open Water Course? It is the best way to start every dive. Build it into your dive routine. This will allow you to make minor adjustments when you hire a heavier tank or add a new piece of equipment.

Join us for a dive if you would like a quick demonstration. It’s also advisable to check again at your safety stop, at the end of your dive. Your weight will have changed by the end of the dive.


Let’s assume you have now found the correct amount of weight. What’s next?

Once you have descended and adjusted the air in your BCD to find that magic neutral buoyancy, try and hover. Float perfectly still in the water without skulling or kicking. What happens?

Pay attention to if you roll a certain way. Where are you heavy and where are you light? do you have options for redistributing the weight you’re carrying to even it out or counter balance the equipment you can’t move?

Do you have floaty feet or is the combination of a new wetsuit and positively buoyant fins pulling your feet up?


Apart from having the correct amount of weight, you also need to think about it’s placement. Weights placed near the front of your body can be great for assisting you to stay in that perfect horizontal position, but too much concentrated in one spot can be bad too.

To reduce the drag you experience, you may need to adjust your equipment and the weight placement around your body. This can in turn improve your position in the water, reducing the drag of the water moving into you, and reducing the amount of effort you have to use to move.

Stick with it, practice makes perfect

As your training progresses you will learn to master correct weighting and placement, breath control and BCD adjustments. To put theory into practice consider joining us for an Advanced Open Water course which includes practical training on buoyancy skills and adjusting your buoyancy based on the dive you are planning (both for shore and deep dives up to 30 meters)

Buoyancy is not a “Set and Forget” factor. It takes practice, and sometimes an expert set of eyes with instant feedback on your progress is exactly what you need to get the most out of your diving. Want more? Check out this PADI blog on 4 things I wish someone had told me about buoyancy.

Sometimes paying attention to what’s up (which part of you is floating up) can help you find the solution to your problem. The same goes for what’s down.