Here are a few tips to remember when descending while scuba diving:
1. Start to slowly let your air out of your BCD until you start to descend, then stop letting air out. You don’t, and shouldn’t, dump all your air. You should just get neutral.
2. Keep your fins below you so you can kick up in the event you start to descend to quickly or if your ears start to hurt and you need to bump up slowing to equalize.
3. As you’re descending, be ready to tap some air back into the BCD if needed to keep neutral.
I’ve seen some students and new divers dump all their air as they start to descend. If you are heavily weighted, this means you’re going to sink quickly. And as you’re sinking you end up kicking harder than you should to maintain a slow ascent...your ears start to hurt...and you may start to panic. Plus, the extra kicking causes overexertion (refer to my last article) and uses up your air quicker.
So don’t dump all your air in your BCD, use it to keep neutral on the way down and keep your fins below you. Technically, there is no rule about how fast you should descend...it’s really up to your ears and your ability to equalize and whether your buddy can safely keep up. The best rule of thumb is to go slowly and make sure you’re in control the entire time.
Dive safe and often!
Owner and Member #1