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Swimming Techniques

Scuba Diving Swimming Techniques


You might expect both scuba diving finning strokes and conventional swimming techniques to be the same for forward momentum and propulsion through water.

Nevertheless, using the traditional swim stroke that helps you glide along the surface is unlikely to be as efficient as a proper scuba fin kick technique.

In fact, rapid excessive and inefficient swimming movements can be exhausting and dangerous while scuba diving underwater.

Under normal scuba conditions, diving should be slow and unhurried and we highlight the best techniques for moving underwater, saving precious air and dive time.

Inexperienced divers wearing large powerful scuba fins often race around the dive site at top speed with little or no regard for their buddy or the dive objective.

It seems their goal is to cover as much 'ground' as they can in the least amount of time. You might argue that swimming quickly means more underwater-ground covered which relates to more aquatic life seen.

Despite covering more reef per dive, speeding through the water makes you breathe heavier. Over-exertion and heavy breathing is proportional to divers' increased air consumption rate which usually results in a shorter dive time.

Scuba Finning Techniques

Proper scuba finning techniques are as important as controlled buoyancy and proper weighting. Improper leg kicking (bicycle kicks) is extremely tiring and inefficient for forward propulsion underwater.

It often masks additional dangerous flaws such as carrying too much lead weight. You can recognize an over-weighted diver with poor buoyancy control by his upright position in the water and constant leg kicking to keep him from sinking to the bottom.

He is unable to comfortably counteract his negative buoyancy and often resorts to BC inflation instead of fine-tuning in a neutral position. This bad diving habit is strenuously demanding on both your physical energy and your air supply.

Efficient Swimming Techniques - Fin Kicks, Glide, Hover

There are few occasions when divers should hurry through the water. Scuba diving is not a competitive sport. The need for speed is rarely used by experienced divers. Ultimately you want to see interesting aquatic creatures and learn how to extend your dive time.

Swimming slowly and relaxed with unhurried movements will help to improve your buoyancy and your breathing rate. Here are five tips which emphasize the correct and most efficient scuba swimming techniques and steer you towards the goal of peak performance buoyancy.

  1. Use visualization techniques before the dive to relax, establish a comfortable breathing pattern and move gracefully
  2. Hover by making minor depth adjustments using breath control only or using very minor hand or fin sculling
  3. Swim in a neutrally buoyant, horizontal position without touching the bottom or surface
  4. Make minor depth adjustments using breath control
  5. Swim efficiently using long, slow kick strokes and gliding. Control your buoyancy while swimming without touching anything and without breaking the surface

Energy sapping dives are also connected with raised breathing rates and physiological pressure. Rapid leg kicks and flailing arm movements increase your heart rate and carbon dioxide levels.

As you dive deeper and breathe harder the ambient pressure also increases which often results in dizziness or fainting which in turn elevates the risk of suffering decompression sickness.

Another significant reason to avoid racing around the dive site is buddy and situation awareness. The likelihood of losing your buddy or being too far apart, increases if your scuba swimming is rapid and careless. It is easy to miss important reference marks or lose buddy contact.

You could liken it to driving a vehicle so fast that your whole attention is focused on avoiding an accident that you lose the enjoyment of the trip. Driving slower and diving slower normally correlates to increased safety and more time to view the landmarks as you go.

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