Normal Amount of Time a Scuba Diver Can Spend Under water

Normal Amount of Time a Scuba Diver Can Spend Under water

by Tom
(United kingdom)


I was wondering if you could help me out with a couple of questions. I am new to diving and was wondering what the normal amount of time spent underwater is and how much it can vary.

I was also wondering how many dives you can do in one day.



Hi Tom,

It's difficult to nail down a normal amount of time a diver can spend underwater. There are several things that can effect a diver's bottom time:

1. Buoyancy: This plays a big part in a longer bottom time. I have
a page about how buoyancy can effect your bottom time and how to
achieve good neutral buoyancy.

2. Breathing Control: This works in harmony with buoyancy control to
give divers a longer bottom times. I have a page on scuba air
consumption and tips on how to develope good breathing control.

3. Relax: To get the most out of your bottom time it is important to
relax. This will make buoyancy and breathing control much easier
to master. This is the third step towards the Zen of diving.

4. Dive as much as you can. The more we dive, the better divers we
become. As we become better divers we will increase our bottom

You can find my pages on Buoyancy Control and Scuba Air Consumption by visiting my Scuba Tips page.

Remeber, in recreational (no-decompression) diving the amount of time we spend underwater is determined by the safe diving depths on the dive tables used by your certifing agency.

I hope this information answers your questions.


Comments for Normal Amount of Time a Scuba Diver Can Spend Under water

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Sep 12, 2010
Some (hopefully useful) additions to this...
by: Anonymous

everything mentioned in the first answer is absolutely correct. I just want to add:

About time underwater during one dive:
- generalising decompression dive theory to the most simple point --> The shallower you stay, the longer you can stay

- Also: Less depth -> less pressure -> less compressed air you are breathing -> more dive time from each tank.

- There are several different sizes of scuba tanks available. Different amounts of air carried -> different possible dive-times.

- Taking into account the more modern parts of decompression theory (e.g. micro-bubble development) it can be generalised:
Avoid many and fast "ups and downs" in your dive-profile of each dive and you will be more on the safe side against DCS symptoms and thus gain more possible dive time. (Modern dive-computers take this into account already)

It was also asked about "how many dives a day" can be done.
Well, all the above mentioned plays into this.
I would dare to say that in recreational diving a rough average would be between 2 and 5 dives a day (including night dives). But this is more for practical reasons:
- You don´t pay a lot of money for a dive-holiday and then only go into the water once a day... So 1 dive a day is rather seldom, but it happens (weather changes, lazyness, liking one dive-site a boat visits but not the other dive site, etc.)
- more than 5 dives a day is also unusual (as far as my experience goes), as you will have to keep more and more to shallower dives all over the day to stay in the safe limits of depth/dive-time ratios. Also it will become kind of stressy to get equipped, dive, un-equip again again again...
- And finally some organizations define what can be called (and logged in your log book) as "a dive". For example a big dive organization only counts a dive as valid if it was 5m or deeper and a least 20 minutes long.

According to this you might set up a world record in a 5 meters deep pool and do 70 or 71 dives in 24 hours :-). (72 would not be possible as ascending time is not really included in dive time and who would want to pee in the pool eh?

(PS: I could nowhere find from when this post originally was, so have no idea if i am replying to a new or very old post)

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