Have you ever wondered what it would be like to experience weightlessness? To defy gravity and meander through a new world of colours and sensations? Using your lungs and breathing to control your journey with the occasional fin kick to keep you moving forward.
Hovering is the art of being able to remain suspended in a position without having to kick or scull to stay there. This allows you to watch a massive school of barracuda, without moving too much and scaring them away. Or to rest mid-water, watching a Hawksbill Turtle munching some coral.
Learning How To Hover
During the confined water session of the open water course, we teach and practice hovering, using two different methods to establish neutral buoyancy.
The first method is using the LPI or inflator button on our BCD to lift off the bottom and then using our lungs and breathing, to hover in the same position with minimal up or down movement.
The second method is to orally inflate our BCD using the LPI to lift off the bottom and then again, practice, remaining suspended with minimal movement.
We then practice hovering in the sea during the third open water dive of the course.
Once the basics have been mastered, we then move onto the advanced open water course and the peak performance buoyancy adventure dive, where we look at hovering in multiple positions. The first hover we practice is vertically, in a head up position.
The second hover we practice is in a horizontal position. We may need to shift our weight belt slightly higher or lower on our bodies to compensate for the shift in air space when we change our body position.
The third position we practice hovering in, is a vertical, head-down, feet-up, position. Basically, upside down. For this hover, we have to consider all the bubbles that stick to our equipment when we exhale, as they rise up along our bodies and increase our buoyancy.
All of these different ways to hover, allow us to practice being in different positions and fine tune our buoyancy with our breathing.
We will now be able to remain poised and confident that we can hover and watch something of interest, using minimal energy and being able to stay off the corals so we do not damage them or harm any sea life.
Being better able to control our buoyancy and hover, saves our energy, so we use less air and we can have longer, more relaxed dives. The slower we go the more we may see. It’s amazing what small things might catch your eye if you stay in one place for a while and just observe the natural beauty.
Once you’ve mastered hovering upside down, you should try the peak performance buoyancy specialty course where we practice hovering for longer amounts of time and drifting as close as we can to the sand using just our breathing to lift back off.
Get ready to become a true specialist of buoyancy and hovering, defying gravity!
Author: Josh Kronenberg (PADI MSDT #360296)