How can I use less air when scuba diving?

Six areas you can change to help use less air when scuba diving

Below are six areas that influence what you do, and your experience as a diver. Click on the area to read more about changes you can make to use less air when scuba diving.

.. your thinking

  • Thinking about air consumption on a dive? 
  • Don’t! It increases stress a little. Heart & breathing increase, so you use a little more air. 
  • Accept your air consumption for what it is;  it WILL improve.

… the situation

  • Consider what can be changed.  
  • Dive sites that are shallower? Less affected by strong current? 
  • Or change your kit, proper weighting & trim can reduce how much air you use.

… your body

  • Move slowly. 
  • Consider improving efficiency of movement by increasing physical fitness; focus on longer dives as a motivation!
  • Make changes to behaviour out of the water to use less air in it.

… comparing with others

  • Air consumption is determined by several factors, some of which are beyond control.
  • Making comparisons to other divers increases stress and therefore air consumption.
  • Stop.

… your emotions

  • Notice emotions. 
  • Anxiety, excitement and anger or frustration (including with yourself) are all “high-arousal” emotions: they burn oxygen.
  • Enjoy one of the best parts of diving – relax.

… your actions

  • Diving includes lots of skills, new skills take effort (takes oxygen).  The harder your body is working, the more air you will need.
  • When you have good skills, then less effort is needed. The less effort needed, the less air is used. 
  • Reduce the effort of diving skills with lots of PRACTICE.

Improve your breathing habits

When we dive, it’s best to breathe normally, not thinking about it too much. But, the trouble is, we don’t always breathe naturally. A natural, relaxed breath is a deep breath (but not a big breath) and this is something we stop doing when stressed.

If you would like to learn more about how our breathing affects our diving, take the “Deep Breathing for Scuba Divers” course. It is free, it will take you less than 1 hour to complete and can help your diving in various ways. Because breathing skills are fundamental to scuba diving, impacting everything from your skill in controlling buoyancy to managing your stress levels.