This is one of the most frequently asked questions.
Without a doubt your air consumption will improve proportionally to the number of dives you do. The more you dive, the more you relax, the steadier your breathing. To get there faster and improve your dive techniques there are some key areas to look at.
The first thing to do is to check you are not over weighted by doing a buoyancy check. This is best done at the end of a dive when you have the least air in your tank. This is when it’s lightest. On the surface with all your gear on, inhale a normal breath and hold it. Next deflate all the air out of your BCD. You should float with the water at eye level. If you sink below this you have too much weight on, take a little off and try again. This test is just a guide, so once you have your best guess of weight then after a surface interval you can see how it feels to dive with.
Relax underwater and move slowly. Darting around only wastes energy, air and will scare marine life too. Remember to streamline yourself and your gear to reduce drag. Breathe slowly and steadily.
Stop using your arms. Flapping your arms wastes air and can make it difficult for you to attain neutral buoyancy. If you are flapping your arms, ask yourself why…what are you trying to do? If it’s because you feel like you are sinking then instead breathe in and/or add a little air to your BCD. If it’s because you are trying to come down then stop all movement and exhale. If that doesn’t work come upright and deflate a little air from your BCD.
Perfect buoyancy is a key factor to reducing your air consumption. If you find it difficult to hover motionless and have to kick or flap then consider taking some extra training to really fine tune your buoyancy. The investment in this course will pay for itself in the extra time you get from each dive. It will give you more control in the water which means greater comfort and confidence in your skills as a diver.
Take all this onboard, don’t stress about it or put pressure on yourself and keep diving and you will notice your air consumption reduce steadily.