Learning to SCUBA: Surface Swim With BC Off

by Pool Builders on 07-23-2011 in Articles

This skill will help you gain comfort on the surface. You can do this to conserve your air for instance if you need to do a long swim from the beach out to your dive site. And of course for the swim back to the beach after the dive is over.

First, you need to tuck all your hoses and loose straps inside your BC vest. Snap the waist and chest bands to hold everything in place so nothing snags when you're entering the water.

Stand at the side of the pool with your BC by your right leg, tank side to your leg. Do a giant stride entry stepping out with your right leg first. Lift the tank by the regulator first stage or by the lift strap on the back of the BC. Step forward with the right leg and gently swing the tank out over the water at the same time.

When you enter the water extend your right arm to the side and away from your body. This will guide the BC away from you.

You're now on the surface, floating calmly and holding your BC with tank next to you. Add air to the BC now by either using the automatic inflator or manually blowing into the BC.

Now, open the waist and chest straps and turn the BC so the top is toward your chest and the tank bottom is pointing away from you. Leave any other straps and your hoses inside the vest so they won't snag on anything.

Slide your arms through the arm holes in your BC, then lace your fingers together across the tank. You should now be face down on your BC looking toward the bottom of your tank. Think of being on a Boogie Board or surf board.

At this point you should be resting with your tank and BC supporting you in the water. If you need to add or release air do it now.

After you've rested for about five minutes you can begin your surface swim. I can't stress enough that you should rest for at least five minutes. This will seem like a long time but until you've waited at least that long you are probably not really relaxed.

Once you're completely relaxed you can start your surface swim. You should have your mask and snorkel on and snorkel breathe as you've been taught previously. Don't over exert yourself. The goal here is to learn how to make a long surface swim in case of emergency or to prevent an emergency. If you over exert you may turn an inconvenience into an emergency, kind of like Andy on the jetty raid.

Once you've swam for about ten to fifteen minutes it's time to rest again. If you can't swim relaxed for ten to fifteen minutes you should rest whenever you start to feel fatigued.

The next skill is to don your BC on the surface, such as when you get out to your dive site. We'll cover that in another article.

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