Many people are still surprised to find out that scuba is actually an acronym that stands for Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus. As the name suggests, the beauty of this system is that it allows us to breathe underwater and explore the subaquatic world for longer than holding our breath allows. But what is it like to breathe underwater? Although it’s difficult to describe, maybe a bit like trying to write about music, we can at least guide you through the process so you have a better idea of what to expect when you finally experience it for yourself, diving in Roatan.
Don’t Hold Your Breath
The first rule of scuba diving is to breathe without holding your breath. Continue to breathe in and out smoothly and repeatedly without pausing between breaths. Whatever you do, do not hold your breath. If you hold your breath while ascending through the water column, the air in your lungs can expand which can cause injury. Unlike on dry land, you need to pay attention to your breathing and breathe consciously. By taking slow, deep breaths, you’ll make your air supply last longer while preventing hyperventilation. Once you get used to this – it can be the most relaxing feeling in the world!
Breathe Through Your Mouth
On dry land, mouth breathers are considered uncouth and impolite. When scuba diving, however, mouth breathing is a necessity. Only your mouth is connected to the air supply, whereas the nose is encased within your diving mask. Breathing in through your nose will not supply your lungs with any air. Breathing out through your nose will break the seal between your face and mask and may allow water to get inside and cause fogging to occur. While there are situations where you’ll need to breathe out through your nose, it’s not something you should be doing all the time. It may take a bit of getting used to, but breathing through your mouth is something that needs to be mastered if you want to know what it’s like to breathe underwater.
Because the oxygen in a scuba tank is compressed, it doesn’t take a lot of effort to fill your lungs with oxygen. The pressurization causes the air to be forced into the mouthpiece which means you don’t have to suck or struggle to get a breath. The way that scuba gear is designed, as long as there is air in the tank, you’ll be able to breathe. Stay relaxed, focus on your breathing and breathe easily.
Finding Your Rhythm Can Take Practice
Suffice it to say, breathing underwater isn’t natural. Therefore it will take some practice to learn how to do it properly and efficiently. It’s not the same as breathing on dry land. New divers typically use up their tanks far faster than those who are more experienced. This is usually because they’re breathing faster than necessary. The idea is to remain calm, slow your breathing down, take deep breaths and find your rhythm. Of course, this rhythm will be different for everybody, but learning how to become an efficient breather while scuba diving will save you money and time and allow you to spend more moments underwater. Ideally, you’ll want to draw long, deep breaths followed by longer exhalations – similar to how you would breathe if you were meditating.