How deep do you dive & how long do you stay underwater?

Leslie - Hawaii, 1983

Leslie - Hawaii, 1983

Hi Leslie ONeill here with Scuba Explorers.

Over the past 27 yr of teaching…one commonly asked question:

How deep do you dive & how long do you stay underwater?

We do our deepest dive of the day first…around 100’. I know when people first hear this they say “That sounds SO deep!”

One of the many things students learn on the 2nd day is how far they can swim on one breath.

We never hold our breath while scuba diving- but it does seem to ease a person’s mind when they know they can reach the surface in the worst case scenario.

We do a  C.E.S.A. Controlled Emergency Swim Ascent; a horizontal swim in the pool on one breath.  We do this to simulate an out-of-air situation.  First of all this should never happen, as you will watch your depth gauge closer than you watch the gas gauge in your car!  This drill also gives the diver peace of mind, knowing about how far they could swim on a single breath.  Keep in mind swimming vertically is easier and faster especially when ditching weights, than when practicing horizontally in the pool.

Because of the propulsion of your fins, swimming up from 30’ to the surface is not much different than swimming up from the bottom of a swimming pool without fins.

A person that is more physically fit may easily swim from the depth of 100’ to the surface on one breath.  Of course we are “bubbling off air” on the way, so our lung volume remains the same.

Whereas others not as fit may swim up from around 30’ to the surface; which also happens to be the perfect depth to see some of the most magnificent underwater life.

How long we stay depends on how deep we are and your personal air consumption.

The deeper we go limits our time at that depth based on the amount of nitrogen intake, which you will learn in detail on the second day of the two day course.

Your air consumption depends on your comfort level in the water. You will learn to relax, breathe slowly and deeply while underwater.

It is quite normal for new divers to be a bit nervous and typically they will use more air.

Moving your arms like a swim stroke or kicking fast will make you use air faster than if you remain streamlined with minimal movement. Once you relax, slow down, you will conserve your air, your goal is to be the last buddy team to surface.  you will then be able to tell the other divers about all the cool stuff they missed.  haha

This all comes with proper training, time and experience.

Like everything else in life, once equipped with the knowledge you gain the comfort and confidence to try any sport and do it safely.

If you don’t at least try it… you’ll never know!

Remember we start the first day in about three feet of water.  If you become scared…just stand up.

Leslie training divers- Cozumel, June 2011

Leslie training divers- Cozumel, June 2011

French Anglefish
French Anglefish
Coral Reefs

Coral Reefs

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About thescubalady

Leslie made her first ocean dive in the Cayman Islands,1982. She is passionate about sharing this beautiful underwater world with others!
Aside | This entry was posted in Cozumel, Dive Training, Scuba Training and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to How deep do you dive & how long do you stay underwater?

  1. julia cowell says:

    In scuba diving, the deeper you dive, the more thrilling it is. I agree with you, you need good training first. The more training, the more confidence, the more you will enjoy.

  2. John says:

    Hi Leslie,
    Wow, great blog! I found it doing some research for a paper I’m doing on the rise and fall of scuba print publications and specifically the golden age of Skin Diver and all their incredible photographers. I must say that first picture from Hawaii is one of the coolest I have ever seen. Love the gear and just the overall fashion and look of how you’re diving. By chance, did your photos ever make any publications? They should have if not!

  3. What do you say about avoiding cramps when diving deep? I always get them when I dive deep.

    • thescubalady says:

      Adam, drink lot’s of water and make sure your calcium level is sufficient. Many times, the most in-shape people will get cramps while scuba diving, mainly because we are using different muscles than we normally do for other sports & activities. If/when you get a cramp, the fastest way to alleviate is to extend your leg & knee completely straight, at the same time, pull your fin tip toward you. Don’t hesitate when you feel a cramp coming on- get in position and do it quickly. it works like a charm every time! : )

  4. hi Leslie, my longest dive is 1 hour, while my deepest dive is 30 meters. need to improve more. Great post you have here.

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