DIVE TIPS: Buoyancy Skills (continued)

By Steve Lewis

Continued: to read the first part, CLICK>>>


Last month, I promised to discuss a simple drill to test and work on buoyancy, let’s look at one I use for TDI decompression classes.

To begin, ask yourself if you can hold your position in the water column without moving your hands or feet for five minutes. If you feel you can accomplish this with some ease, we are ready to move on.


This is a more sophisticated drill or game and it is conducted or played in teams of two. (see diagram at bottom of page.)

First a shot line is put into the water with a weight at the bottom and a small float on the surface and the line taut. Players cannot use the line to control their buoyancy so both the weight and the float can be small, especially since this game should be played in water without current.


Every three metres (that is about 10 feet but this is a maximum separation, half that distance also works), there is a prussic loop of thin line (#24 cave line for instance) and attached to it ordinary plastic clothespins; at least one more than the total number of participants.


The clothespins at each “station” have to be color-coded or distinguished in some way. This can be achieved with colored tape or a series of strips of duct tape. The important thing is that clothespins can be identified and matched to a specific station.

There should be at least four stations.

The rules of the game are simple. Each diver must collect one clothespin from each station during a controlled descent with his buddy. In other words, the buddy team descends to the first station, halts, gets their pins and moves to the next station to each get another pin and so on. No touching the shot line, no drifting off into the cosmos, no run-away descents, and no bobbing to the surface to “talk things over” half-way through the exercise.

At the bottom, when all stations have been visited, the buddy teams can exchange stage bottles, congratulate themselves and generally get ready to reverse the process; they are going to ascend and replace each pin at the appropriate station.

However, since this is aimed at proficiency and control, on the way up, the buddies should be sharing air. That’s to say, my buddy is breathing from my long hose and I from his.

Each participant begins the game with nine lives. The object is to finish with at least one.

A diver will lose a life if he touches the drop line; drops a clothespin; puts a clothespin back in the wrong station; drifts off into the ether at any time; drags the regulator out of his buddy’s mouth and so on.

A diver can earn an extra life for helping his buddy out; catching a dropped clothespin or switching one put in the wrong spot.

Good luck and I just want to share two secrets to playing the game and winning; breathe often, and remember you are part of a team.


Editor’s note: if you want more information about this drill or others, contact steve.lewis@tdisdi.com


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