Air Scuba Diving Tips:

How to Reduce Consumption and Save Air

Have you ever had to cut a dive short because you ran out of air? Try these air scuba diving tips on your next dive to help you reduce your air consumption.

Maybe your buddy is frustrated because he always has more air than you, yet he has to cut his dive short too. However, all is not lost.

While your scuba air consumption should improve with time, there are some steps you can take now to make that tank last longer and conserve air while you are scuba diving. 

Lots of scuba tanks

Now that's a lot of air. Let's make it last longer.

 Try these air scuba diving tips to increase the length of your dive:

  • Dive, Dive and Dive Some More

  • Ok, you probably don't want to hear this one, but the one thing that will improve your air consumption more than anything else is more diving. The more comfortable you get in the water, the less air you are going to use.

    Have you noticed if you are on a week long scuba dive vacation you use less air at the end of the week than you did during your first dives? It's a function of being more comfortable and relaxing under the water.

    So more dives under your belt is probably the biggest thing you can do to reduce air consumption. OK, that being said, here are some other air scuba diving tips you can use in the meantime:

  • Breathe Deeply and Slowly

  • You should not be taking lots of short, shallow breaths. You should breathe in deeply and slowly and slowly exhale. Do not hold your breath to try and decrease air consumption. This is a no-no as you learned when you were getting your certification.
  • Stop Moving

  • You should use a minimum of movement. The more you are moving around underwater, the more air you will use.
    Remember. Move Less. Save Air.

    Keep your hands out your side or held in front of you (or whatever position you are comfortable with). You don't need them to swim for the most part so don't use them. Just move forward with your fins. If you are on a drift dive you usually don't even need those.

    Look at the experienced divers and divemasters. They just float along and barely move.

    That is what you are aiming for.

    Concentrate on your movements while underwater - and then stop those movements. No fidgeting allowed. You scuba air consumption will improve. 

Tim checking his tank of Nitrox in Bonaire. 

  • Streamline Everything

  • Make sure you have nothing dangling from your gear setup. This will create drag and increase air consumption. So get rid of those scuba accessories you don't use and have everything clipped and close to your body.

    This has the added benefit of not damaging the coral from dangling equipment.

  • Get Neutrally Buoyant

  • I know this is easier said than done, but this is one skill that will pay off in spades. Ideally, you want to be able to stay level at the safety stop with no air in your BC and about 500 psi in your tank.

    If you are not properly weighted you will be putting air in the BC, letting air out of the BC and struggling to stay at the desired depth. Obviously, this is not the way to conserve air.

    If you have problems with this skill, see our page of tips on buoyancy control. 

  • Stop Leaks

  • Leaks here and there can use up a noticeable amount of air. Check your O-rings, inflater hose and connection points.
  • Stay Horizontal

    The more vertical you are, the greater the resistance swimming against the water and the more air you will consume. You many have to adjust where your weights, tank, BC are if you find yourself going vertical all the time.
  • Go Shallower

If you are concerned about your dive being cut short, you can always ascend a few feet above the group so you will use less air (remember this principal from your certification class?).

And now for the last of our air scuba diving tips:

  • Go Slow, Relax and Enjoy
    There is no need to be darting all over the place. Just go with the flow (literally) and stop and enjoy the sights. Your dive will last longer and you will see just as much.

I hope these air scuba diving tips will increase the length of your dive. Just remember to try and relax and keep your movements to a minimum. As you get more dives under your belt, you should see a decrease in your air consumption rate.

This isn't a competition, so just go out there and enjoy.


For even more tips on conserving your air and making that tank last longer, check out our special report "Stop Sucking Up Your Air". Click here for all the details.

scuba diving air consumption ebook

Besides air scuba diving tips, we have lots more scuba diving tips you can check out:

Quick Video Tips on Air Consumption

Quick Video Tips on Buoyancy Control

Boat Diving 

How Not To Feel Intimidated On The Dive Boat

Buoyancy Control     

Night Diving      

Clearing Your Ears 

Tipping The Crew 

Safety Tips

Packing Your Gear

Click here for a full list of all our scuba diving tips

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