WHY WE MAKE SUCH A BIG DEAL ABOUT BUOYANCY (AND TRIM)
You may have heard that students in RAID Open Water 20 programs (and beyond) are expected to demonstrate skills while neutrally buoyant. What skills? All of ’em: mask removal, second-stage recovery, gas sharing, all of ’em. And it’s easier than you think.
So, what exactly do we mean by: “while neutrally buoyant”? We mean, floating in the water column and not touching the bottom, the sides, a piece of rope; nothing. Simply put, no kneeling on the bottom of the pool, in the sand, or anywhere else. Just floating and looking like a correctly-trained diver.
We’re told that some instructors teaching for other agencies are not so picky. Ours are mindful of the environment—kneeling on some little critter or disturbing its home is not nice—and want to make the diving experience as enjoyable as possible. And controlling buoyancy and being in trim (which usually means being able to hold a more or less horizontal body position in the water) makes swimming easier for the diver, and results in them using less gas, which results in longer dives.
So, that’s why RAID makes a big deal about buoyancy and trim. Those two skills go hand-in-hand to make diving more fun, divers more relaxed, and mean any impact divers have on the environment is kept to a minimum.
Interested to learn more? Contact your local RAID dive center. They can start you right or, if you are already a certified diver who was taught to kneel, they can help you kick the habit.