A stable platform is the most important skill in diving at any level and in any piece of dive equipment. It is probably the skill that takes the longest to learn, in the early days of learning to dive the most frustrating, particularly, if in a Drysuit. It is a skill that we relearn the most often.
Every time we change our equipment configuration, or the diving environment, or the skills we are learning and mastering, in fact, sometimes buoyancy control just needs a little fine-tuning, but when you change a lot of things, it can take a lot of time to perfect.
So, whether you are still getting it right for the first time or fine tuning your skills you should PRACTISE, PRACTISE, PRACTISE
Compensating for poor buoyancy by wafting your arms or hands around, kicking your legs, constantly swimming to stay buoyant doesn’t hide that you are not in control, it just wastes air, takes effort and remember diving should be relaxing!
So practice and be brave. Keep trying to be still or moving slowly while controlling your position in the water. Make a mess of it, who cares, you are at least trying to do something about it and practise makes perfect after all.
So how to improve buoyancy, remember back to your open water dives, where you had to hover for a period of time, or if you did your Drysuit speciality you had to hover, while you were probably looking at some object. This is a visual reference, pick a spot, look at it and concentrate on not moving, trying to stay level with that spot
Then become less reliant on that reference and start to feel neutral / natural buoyancy. Take your eyes of the spot and continue to try and maintain position. Use your ears as a guide, they give you lots of clues, but more than that you can feel the water buoying you up and when you breath in and out you will feel the gentle rise and fall, once truly cracked there will be no movement at all!
Complete a Peak Performance Course - it does not matter if you have done one before! or have a Boost 121 session with a diving professional
Then is the time to practise with other pieces of equipment, such as a DSMB
Now importantly do not forget about balance. If your kit is well setup and your buoyancy is good, you should be able to move fairly easily even if in bulky technical kit.
Good buoyancy control allows you to pivot on your balance point, which is generally somewhere around your midpoint. This balance allows you to dive in a flat / skydiving position, but easily allow you to adjust your position if entering caves or caverns (subject to be qualified to do so).
Make adjustments slowly and methodically. So, if you do need to adjust your kit, make a note of what you are doing and what effect it has in the water. Don’t forget it can take a little time to relax into a new kit configuration and what felt difficult on the first dive may improve with time. Take baby steps. Add new equipment a little at a time.
IF you are changing to twins for the first time, it’s easier if the rest of your kit (Drysuit, baselayer etc.) is the same as normal and also if the environment you are diving in is familiar.
A new suit, new cylinder configuration plus DSMB’s, Reels, torches etc. maybe one step to far and always learn new skills with qualified professionals.
I remember the first time on my twinset, it was not a comfortable experience and until 2019 was one that I only did when I truly had to, but then I found an instructor and a buddy who wanted to learn more about the technical world and we spent time working together to resolve the issues, practising (as well as changing equipment!). but in the end we had a great week diving Scapa Flow, it was comfortable diving.
It just shows you need to keep practising and finding the RIGHT instructor is also part of the package and we are still on our technical journey - watch our social media.
As with buoyancy you need to practice and not just by swimming around. Practise skills, drills and using your new equipment until it is easy. Usually the skills you like the least are the ones you need to practise the most.
Take it slowly at first. The first step when doing a new skill, or a skill in new kit, is to think through and plan each step. Visualise what it is you are going to do.
Once underwater, TAKE YOUR TIME when practising new skills and work with your instructor to achieve if doing for the very first time. Check / correct your buoyancy and depth between each step. Once you have done it a few times you will find that you move much easier and the skill completion will be much quicker.
New equipment or new combinations of equipment can take time to master. Auxiliary equipment such as an DSMB you will not necessarily use on every dive, so always when possible take time to practise.
As a diving fraternity particularly UK divers will be very much aware of the Apeks brand, yes they are part of the Aqualung brand but Apeks manufacturing is still based here in the UK at Blackburn
What you are probably not aware of, is how seriously they take their environmental impact and all of the things they do to reduce this.
Apeks Environmental Credentials
Zero waste to Landfill
Apeks Diving has reached a new industry-leading achievement of sending zero non-hazardous waste to landfill from their UK headquarters, including waste from the factory, warehouse and offices. 100% of general waste from the business is now turned into biofuel, which goes on to provide fuel for heating and hot water in other industries.
At their UK regulator manufacturing facility, they are continuing with their switch to green by the installation of 400 solar panels on the roof of their purpose built factory.
With the potential to create 75,000kWh of electricity annually, enough to supply around 23 domestic homes for a year, the installation in 2014 also allows surplus electricity to be sold back into the grid.
Throughout their supply chain, renewable energy is used. In the UK, the print factory owns a solar farm and they power manufacturing operations with renewable energy. The factory the makes the garments owns two wind farms and a 150kw PV array. Renewable energy is affordable, reliable and something we are committed to investing in. The regulator manufacturing facility in the UK also has a solar array to assist with running the machinery.
The t-shirt factory features machine-to-machine communications technology which means that equipment dynamically turns on and off only when it is needed, balancing the manufacturing demand with on site generation.
Every year 100 billion new items of clothing are produced while a truck full of clothing is burned, or buried in a landfill every second. Slowing fast fashion down a bit won't fix it. But taking the waste material at the end, and making new products from it at the start, changes everything.
Apeks products and packaging are made from natural materials, not plastics. Every product is designed to be sent back when it is worn out.
New products are made from the recovered material, and the cycle itself is renewable. Apeks products can be returned and remade again and again and again.
A pure material makes remanufacturing possible, and means products that are softer, and harmless to the environment.
Here at Dive Rutland we work with Apeks and collect and return all of the previously used mouthpieces for them to recycle
Plastic Free Packaging
As well as designing out plastic, Apeks are attempting to design out waste. The two things are interconnected and it is possible to use some of the waste material in packaging.
Apeks Environmental Blog
Have a read of their blog for more information as we have only provided the headlines here for you.
Not only do Apeks make great products with this environmental consciousness they are a company that as divers we support.
After all by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. This is bad and as divers we want to dive in the ocean with fish not a plastic filled ocean.
Here at Dive Rutland we made a pledge
Become 100% Project AWARE, with a Reduce, Reuse, Recycle ethos in ALL areas of our operations. We will eliminate consumer single use plastics and favour suppliers with a Green Mission to remove plastic from their manufacturing and supply chain and particularly those who manufacture using Bluesign® standards
We are pleased that Apeks is helping us meet our pledge
Everyone of us can make one change to reduce our impact on our oceans and its ecosystems after all 71% of our planet is water!
What do you know about the ecosystems of our oceans and the charities that are out there fighting their corners?
Well join us for a few hours and learn more about
1. The charity Project Aware
2. Fisheries and Sustainability
3. Coral environment and its habitats; and
4. So much more
During the course we will help you build an achievable plan to help protect something that can not protect itself!
You can find out more by clicking the button Project Aware speciality below
When Saturday 30th January
Or anytime to suit your schedules.
So are you doing Dry January? Yes.. WHY?
Have you said yourself a goal to exercise more? Yes, WHY?
For health reasons and to feel better I guess... but what about the goals for our ecosystems that are under pressure because of us.
1. Gain an oversight to fishing and sustainability
2. Learn about Coral's, their environment and habitats
3. 10 tips to Protect the Ocean Planet
4. A Fantastic charity called Project Aware
5. Set yourself some goals to assist our oceans
Then join us:-
On: Saturday 30th January
For: Project Aware Speciality
Because why look after YOUR health and fitness if what we do in the rest of our lives impacts something else's health and fitness.
Anyone can join us as ANYONE can make a difference, we just have to have the knowledge and know how.
As you would not live in this now would you?
The reading of the Guardian article last week (14th January) and that Clothes washing is linked to ‘pervasive’ plastic pollution in the article. Coincided with us planning our Eco articles for this year, to highlight stuff that maybe we do not consider..
So we decided that this week we would look further into microfibres.
What exactly are microfibres?
Wikipedia says that microfiber is synthetic fiber finer than on denier or decitex/thread, having a diameter of less than ten micrometres. A strand of silk is about one denier and about a fifth of the diameter of a human hair.
Microfibrers are in all areas of our lives – clothes, mops, cleaning clothes, basketballs, sleeping bags, thermal insulation, tablecloths, furniture and car interiors to name a few.
We are going to focus on the clothing as part of this article as synthetic materials account for 60% of the clothing and textile industry. Synthetic materials used in clothing and textiles such as polyester, acrylic and nylon account for this and the most common is polyester. Synthetic materials are man-made with the purpose of being durable, resistant to damage, and affordable. These properties along with the availability are highly popular and why synthetics are widely chosen by the fashion industry.
Washing and Wearing
When manufactured, washed and worn, synthetic clothes and textiles shed tiny plastic fibres that end up in the environment. Plastic as we know that ends up in the environment does not biodegrade: they break into smaller pieces.
These tiny pieces, called microfibre are smaller than 5mm and usually not visible to the naked eye and these are known as Primary microplastics. These include microfibres from clothing, microbeads and plastic pellets (also known as nurdles)
Plastic particles washed off from products such as synthetic clothes and textiles contribute to 35% of primary microplastics polluting our oceans according to a report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IICN).
EVERY time we do our washing, an average of 9 million microfibres are released into wastewater treatment plants, which cannot retrieve them and these end up in the ocean.
It is not only in washing clothing that the problem exists. By wearing synthetic clothes, plastic fibres are constantly released into the air and becoming part of the atmosphere. Recent research has proven that we are eating and drinking plastic and that plastic fibres are even raining down from the sky. We are breathing in at least 13,000 to 68,000 plastic microfibers from our clothing and other items around each year.
So our oceans are being polluted with microfibres. They have been found in a a lot of our marine life from mussels upward. Remember back to secondary school when we learned about bioaccumulation? If the bottom of the food chain has small amounts, it is amplified as we move up the food chain, if our food contains plastic, then we will too.
The long-term effect is not known on human health but although microfibres have been found in human lung samples and initial studies on mussels do suggest that prolonged exposure to microfibres could negatively impact the biofiltration and there are a number of studies currently ongoing.
What would we like you to do?
Think when purchasing clothes
Be conscious and aware of polyester when buying your next set of clothes… make it part of your purchasing decision – move away from fast fashion to a longer term strategy around your clothing and better still reduce the amount of polyester in your clothing that you do purchase.
Look for natural materials that have been sustainably sourced items as found by clicking Natural Materials below
When Washing Clothes
Fill your washing machine to the max washing a full load results in less friction between the clothes meaning fewer fibres are released
Use washing liquid instead of powder the scrubbing function of the grains of the powder results in loosening the fibres of clothes more than liquid
Use a fabric softener some ingredients in fabric softeners reduce friction between fibres so the release decreases
Wash at a low temperature when clothes are washed at a high temperature some fabrics are damaged, leading to the release of fibres
Use a microfiber ‘catcher’ in each wash
Attending a Project Aware course will take you through some of the great work that underpins Project Aware after all here at Dive Rutland we are signed up and are a 100% Project Aware dive centre. It is a dry course so now is a great time to complete
As part of this course we will work with you to set your very own goals and objectives - maybe join one of our Dive Against Debris's (you can do the speciality or just join the dives) its normally great fun, with great camaraderie, bacon butties occasionally to.
Guardian article https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jan/12/clothes-washing-linked-to-pervasive-plastic-pollution-in-the-arctic?fbclid=IwAR189Ns5iK5x0TAMvXVhMgEMG_k5mhGnFneo26o9XnAcrqIQY0xwHXFO6AQ
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IICN) Report https://www.researchgate.net/publication/334841742_Distribution_and_impacts_of_microplastic_incorporation_within_sea_ice
Effects of long-term exposure to microfibers on ecosystem services provided by coastal mussels
The latest figures for Britain from the Office for National Statistics suggest that 96% of adults who left their homes in the past week had worn a face covering.
What would be an interesting statistic is how many of those were wearing reusable face masks.
Simple response, those who are considering the environment! Which after doing my local supermarket shop today seems to not be many…
It cannot be a cost thing… the cost of a reusable face mask i.e. Fourth Element Face Mask is £11.99, they are made from ECONYL regenerated nylon, made in part from lost fishing nets, they can be used with or without filters are machine washable and can be reused indefinitely reducing waste.
A single use mask in a pack of 50 from a local high street chemist is £25.00, these are not recyclable and the government states that used disposable face coverings – often containing the plastic polypropylene should be put in black bag waste bins or a litter bin if you are outside NOT left in the shopping trolley (yes really!)
According to research from scientists at UCL, if every person in the UK used one single-use mask each day for a year, that would create 66,000 tonnes of contaminated plastic waste and create ten times more climate change impact than using reusable masks.
New analysis from money.co.uk also found that disposable masks would cost every person in the UK £189.80 a year, collectively costing Brits over £12bn in just 12 months.
In comparison, using a reusable mask would cost £4 per year, leading to a yearly saving of £185.80.
The company took the average cost per disposable mask from seven UK retailers (£0.52 per mask) and multiplied this by 365 for one year.
Make a difference and use a recyclable face mask.
Dive Rutland is the trading name for Dive Rutland Limited, a company registered in England and Wales with company number 9433835.
Registered address: 8 Horn Close, Oakham, Rutland LE15 6FE