How to use less air – Our 10 tips for a better scuba diving

Diving in Komodo“Last time the whole group had to finish the dive so early because I used all my air too quickly. I felt embarrassed about the situation. This feeling of being the weakest one in the chain is horrible.”

We have heard that from one of our guests who really feared to go diving because of his previous experience.

It would be a shame not to enjoy the diving anymore or even worse to give up on diving, just because of your air consumption.

For there are a few simple technics and skills that everyone can learn, and improve his (or her) air consumption. By practicing these 10 easy tips you can extend your dives, you can enjoy more of your beloved dive spot, and you will feel more relaxed before, during and after diving.

Let’s go through 10 tips on how to use less air when scuba diving for a more comfortable and efficient experience under water.

A bonus tip

Our article is based on our knowledge and experience, on intense consultation with other experts and colleagues in the diving industry, as well as on some publications in trade journals for diving.

Hence, read until the end so that you do not miss your personal secret that will help you to use less air while scuba diving.

Well, first of all we need to remember that we all breathe differently. The volume of our lungs differs as well; our diving experience is individual; and also, we all are in different physical forms. EVEN your personal condition might vary from dive to dive.

However, some common scuba diving skills can help every diver to reduce the air consumption. Our 10 divers’ secrets for using less air while scuba diving have already helped many of our divers and guests. Some of them still keep them written in their logbook.

So what’s important and where to start

It is important to observe and to adjust your behaviour under water.

Analyse your behaviour by taking a video of yourself underwater and asking a professional or your dive buddy to look at it.

We have prepared for you a video that will help you to adjust and get better under water and to use less air. We show you our secrets that definitely will help you to save air on each dive. Simply follow this link to our YouTube channel.

AND do not get too concentrated on your air consumption only – We all dive for the pleasure of discovering the life down there and not for the goal to bring more air back on land.

10 tips for a better scuba diving

Swim and move slowly

It sounds boring and maybe you think that then you will see less as you swim a shorter distance. Yet on the contrary!

Swimming fast increases your metabolism and therefore your breathing does, too. A fast diver uses much more air and therefore would end up in running low on air much earlier than a relaxed and a slow one.

However, if you move slowly and breathe calm, you will enormously reduce your air consumption. And you can stay longer underwater and discover a bigger area of your dive spot.


When we scuba dive, we face water resistance. Streamlining means how small is your profile under water. You want to take up less space and drag less water with your body.

The smaller you are under water, the easier it is for you to swim, hence the less energy you will use that equals to less air consumption.

Also your hanging equipment that you drag along will increase water resistance and lead to a higher air consumption, too.

Therefore, remember to streamline your equipment that will also create better water dynamics. Secure all hoses and hanging equipment close to your body or to the D-rings of your BCD. And also think about less gear gives your better streamlining.

Fins and legs

Your fins are your propeller under water. If you want to move forward, you only need to kick efficiently with your fins. Sometimes we see divers driving a bicycle under water – THAT is pretty much useless.

Chaotic and frequent movements with your legs will also increase your use of energy. If you have too soft and flexible fins, you will have to kick more often, your body will need more oxygen and as a result you will use more air. Also, if your fins are too hard, it will be more difficult for you to work with them and you will use more energy as well.

Hence learn to kick with your fins calmly and efficiently just enough to move forward, and choose the right fins for you and your dive.

Your buoyancy

Buoyancy control is one of the most important diving skills. There is even a full Specialty Course just for that. The goal is to achieve the weightlessness during your dive at any moment.

Diving up and down will seriously increase your air consumption. You want to be in line with water – just like the underwater inhabitants.

Practice your buoyancy control, check that you are not carrying too much weight, and improve your buoyancy.

Your hands

Some divers under water automatically get the need to “hold” themselves with the help of their hands. Sometimes they even use their hands to improve the position of their body under water – for example, they push off with their hands when they want to ascend.

All this requires more movements and logically more energy so that you use more air from your tank.

You need the minimum effort to glide under water. Reduce the amount of your movements, stop making unnecessary waving, don’t use your hands unless really needed. Remember: your fins are more efficient and help you to move with less energy.

Don’t “make wings” under water, and save your air. You will see “flying” underwater works differently.

Air leaks

If you want to use less air while scuba diving, why would you want to simply waste your air under water?

To avoid losing unnecessarily the air, service regularly your equipment, tanks and regulators, change the O-rings, pay attention to the rented equipment AND check and double check it before your dives.

Avoid getting cold

If you get cold underwater, you will breathe more frequently. Also when you are cold, your breathing might become uneven which will influence your air consumption.

You can avoid getting cold (too quickly) by simply choosing the right wetsuit that will make you feel comfortable and warm and this again will reduce your air consumption.

The feeling of warm and cold is an individual perception. Some divers feel cold even in a 5mm wet suit, and others can scuba dive in a rash guard and shorts only. So listen to yourself and decide for the best option.

Another hint is that the human body is losing the most heat through the head – hence wearing a hood might be a good idea, too.

Breathe calmly and evenly

If you breathe frequently and shallow, you don’t exhale the high carbon dioxide from your regulator and you breathe it in again. This way you get less oxygen, and you want to quickly breathe in again, and again, and again… Automatically you are using more air from your tank.

However, excessively deep breathing – and especially if you hold your breath in-between – will change your buoyancy and will lead to unnecessary movements which again will increase your consumption.

Stay relaxed while scuba diving and breathe normally. Also, make sure you are relaxed on land before scuba diving, this means be on time with assembling your equipment (do not rush), listen to the dive briefings (do not miss useful information) and get positively tuned about your dive (just nice thoughts on your mind).

Save your air in the tank

This secret might sound strange as we already talk about how to save air. Hence, needless to say but use your air for scuba diving.

When you need to move on the surface, let’s say from your boat to your descend point, you can use your snorkel and breathe through it. Or simply inflate your BCD with your mouth, turn on your back, and breathe the air that is so much available around you (instead of continuing breathing from your tank).

Practice diving

Breathing efficiently when scuba diving, in different conditions and situations such as for underwater photography, in currents, cold waters, waves/tides, limited visibility, you simply need to practice all these situations just as some other scuba diving skills. With the time your experience will grow and your skills will improve.

Practice and dive regularly, as often as you can. The more you train your body and mind, the better you will get underwater. By the time you will see your dives will become more relaxed, longer and more confident.

And at one point, you will realise that you have stopped watching your SPG every two seconds and worrying about being the “weakest in the chain”, but instead you will spend more time with the fish and other beauties under water.

Just to remember

Recreational scuba diving is not about competition. Scuba Diving is all about the feeling of freedom and weightlessness.

If you would like to try out the 10 tips, Komodo offers great conditions for diving in different circumstances.

We will be happy to welcome you in our dive centre, and to share more tips for a better scuba diving.

Wet Frog Divers

We are a SSI dive centre in Labuan Bajo, Flores, Komodo, located inside the 4* Bintang Flores Hotel. We offer daytrips for diving in Komodo on our own boat as well as a wide range of dive courses. Book your Komodo experience with us. Follow us on Instagram, YouTube or Facebook.

See you soon under water.


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