Sight Search

13 Ways to Run Out of Air & How Not To

DAN's Smart Guide to Air Consumtion

Our self-contained underwater breathing apparatuses are only useful as long as the tank contains sufficient breathing gas. Scuba equipment allows us to breathe underwater, extending our ability to explore. Without breathing gas, our time is limited by the dangers of asphyxia and drowning.

During dive training you learned how to:
  • Understand breathing gas needs
  • Calculate the limits of available gas
  • Monitor the remaining gas pressure
  • Return to the surface in a timely manner with enough gas to inflate your BCD
Even so, running out of breathing gas is the most common dive incident and the number one cause of diving fatalities. Even the most skilled divers can make mistakes and run out of gas. In this guide, we’ll cover the 13 most common errors that lead to out-of-air emergencies and how to avoid these situations.

The Most Common Causes of Out-Of-Air Emergencies 
Lack of Awareness

1. Diving too Deep
Gas consumption increases dramatically with depth. Your decompression obligation builds quickly, and you may need more gas for decompression stops. An Aluminium 80 is not meant for deco dives. Running out of gas at depth puts you at risk of a long, hazardous emergency ascent. You can maximise your time at shallower depths and easily reach the surface in the event of an emergency.

2. Staying too Long
Sooner or later you will consume your gas reserves. Determine in advance the tank pressure at which you will need to turn back and start your ascent. During the dive, actively monitor your tank pressure and turn back on time.

3. Working too Hard
Fighting a strong current, hunting or lacking buoyancy control can affect air consumption.  exertion at depth may speed up depletion of your tank up to twenty times. If you are not accustomed to diving in strong currents or surf, seek training prior to diving in these environments.

4. Not Monitoring Your Pressure Gauge
Be air aware: Monitor your air supply. Check your pressure gauge regularly and communicate your supplies with your buddy.

5. Ignoring Anxiety as a Factor
Anxiety changes all calculations and may deplete tank reserves faster than vigorous exercise. Try to maintain normal breathing, but if you do feel anxious, keep a closer eye on your gas supplies; it may dwindle more rapidly than usual.

Procedural Problems

6. Starting With Less Than a Full Tank
Regardless of how short an immersion you may contemplate, do not start your dive on less than a full tank. Never descend to retrieve a lost piece of equipment or anchor if the tank is nearly empty.

7. Not Opening the Tank Valve All the Way
Open the tank valve all the way and check that breathing through the regulator does not cause the pressure indicator to swing with each breath.

8. Frequent Depth Changes and BCD Adjustments
Yo-yo diving, or using your BCD frequently to move up and down in the water column, can quickly deplete your gas supply. Yo-yo diving also increases risk of pulmonary barotrauma and decompression sickness.

9. Omitting Predive Check and Buddy Checks
Use a printed predive checklist to prevent mental lapses the mental checklist is an oxymoron.

Equipment Issues

10. RegulatorL Your gas consumption can be affected if…
  • Your regulator is hard to breathe from.
  • Your secondary regulator has a slow leak.
  • Your regulator starts to free-flow due to freezing
  • Your mouthpiece decouples from your or debris. regulator.
  • Your dive buddy accidentally knocks your regulator out of your mouth.
Take preventative steps...
  • Rinse your regulator after diving.
  • Conduct regular maintenance on your regulator and have all
  • parts replaced that may have been worn off or are out of date.
  • Secure your spare regulator—don’t let it drag on the bottom.
If your regulator starts to free flow, attempt to flush it; this may help if debris is to blame. Remember, you can still breathe from a free-flowing regulator, but the gas will not last long, so you have to initiate the ascent.

11. BCD
Inflator leaks or tears in your BCD can deplete your air. Rinse your BCD after diving and conduct regular maintenance to prevent leaks.

12. Pressure Gauge
If your pressure gauge is integrated with your computer, a computer error may also affect the
gauge. If your tank pressure does not decrease with time of dive, you have a problem and should safely terminate the dive. Make sure that your gauge is calibrated properly. Some gauges will not indicate zero, even when the tank is empty. To avoid this problem, make sure you return to the surface with the gauge indicating 500 psi or greater.

13. Burst O-ring or Hose
O-rings should be replaced regularly. Carry your own with you, and if you have a minor leak, replace the O-ring in question. Do not open your regulator on your own; this should only be done by a certified maintenance professional.

Download Guide

Posted in

No Comments


Categories

 2020
 2019
 2018
 2016
immersion and bubble formation Accidents Acid reflux Acute ailments After anaesthesia Air Quality Air exchange centre Air hose failure Air supply Airway control Air Alert Diver Magazine Alternative gas mix Altitude changes Altitude sickness Aluminium Oxide Ama divers Amino acids Anaerobic Metabolism Animal life Annual renewal Apnea Apnoea Aquatic life Archaeology Arterial gas embolism Arthroscopic surgery Aspirin Aurel hygiene BCD BHP BLS BWARF Back adjustment Back pain Back treatment Backextensors Badages Bag valve mask Bahamas Balancing Bandaids Barbell back squat Barometric pressure Barotrauma Basic Life Support Batteries Bench press Benign prostate hyperplasia Benzophenones Beth Neale Biophysics Black Blood flow Blood thinners Blue Wilderness Blurred vision Boat safety Bone fractures Bouyancy compensators Boyle's Law Boyle\'s Law Bradycardia Brain Breast Cancer Breath Hold Diving Breath holding Breath hold Breath-hold Breathing Gas Breathing gas contamination Breathing Breathold diving Broken bones Bruising Bubbleformation Buddy Exercise Buddy checks Buoyancy Burnshield CGASA CMAS CO2 COVID-19 Updates COVID-19 COVID CPR Cabin pressure Caissons diseas Camera settings Cameras Cancer Remission Cancer treatments Cancer Cannabis and diving Cannabis Cape Town Dive Festival Cape Town Dive Sites Cape Town CapeTown Carbon Monoxide Carbon dioxide Cardio health Cardiological Cardiomyopathy Chamber Safety Chamber science Charging batteries Charles' Law Charles\' Law Charles\\\' Law Charles\\\\\\\' Law Charles\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\' Law Charlie Warland Chemotherapy Chest compressions Chiropractic Chlorophll Christina Mittermeier Citizen Conservation Cleaning products Coastalexcursion Cold Water Cold care ColdWater Cold Commercial diving Commercial schools Composition Compressed Air Compressed gas Consercation Conservation Photographer Conservation photography Conservation Contact lenses Contaminants Contaminated air Coral Conservation Coral Reefs Coral bleaching CoralGroupers Corals Core strength Corona virus Coro Courtactions Cristina Mittermeier Crohns disease Crowns Crystal build up Crystallizing hoses Cutaneous decompression Cylinder Ruptures Cylinder handwheel Cylinder valves DAN Courses DAN Profile DAN Researchers DAN medics DAN members DAN report DCI DCS Decompressions sickness DCS theories DCS DEMP DM training DNA DReams Dalton's Law Dalton\'s Law Dalton\\\'s Law Dalton\\\\\\\'s Law Dalton\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s Law Danel Wenzel Dauin island Dean's Blue Hole Dean\'s Blue Hole Deco dives Decompression Illness Decompression Sickness Decompression Stress Decompression illsnes Decompression treatment Decompression Decorator crabs Deep diving Deep water exploration Delayed Offgassing Dental Diaphragms Diseases Disinfection Dive Chamber Dive Computer Dive Destinations Dive H Dive Industry Dive Instruction Dive Instructor Dive Medical Form Dive Medical Dive Practices Dive Pros Dive Research Dive South Africa Dive Training Dive Travel Dive accidents Dive buddies Dive computers Dive courses Dive excursions Dive exercise Dive fitness Dive gear Dive heallth Dive health Dive medicals Dive medicines Dive medicine Dive operators Dive planning Dive safety 101 Dive safety Dive safe Dive staff DiveLIVE Diveleader training Diveleaders Diver Health Diver Profile Diver infliencers Diver on surface Divers Alert Diving Divas Diving Kids Diving Trauma Diving career Diving emergencies Diving emergency management Diving fit Diving guidelines Diving injuries Diving suspended Diving Dizziness Dolphins Domestic Donation Dowels Dr Rob Schneider Drift diving Drysuit diving Drysuit valves Drysuits Dyperbaric medicines EAPs EAP Ear pressure Ear wax Ears injuries Eco friendly Education Electronic Emergency action planning Emergency decompression Emergency plans Emergency underwater Oxygen Recompression Emergency Enviromental Protection Environmental factors Environmental impact Environmental managment Equalisation Equipment care Equipment failure Equipment inspection Evacuations Evacuation Evaluations Even Breath Exercise Exhaustion Extended divetime Extinguisher Extreme treatments Eye injuries FAQ Factor V Leiden Failures FalseBay Diving Fatigue Faulty equipment Female divers Fillings Fire Coral Fire Safety Firefighting First Aid Equipment First Aid Kit First Aid Training First Aid kits Fish Identification Fish Life Fish Fit to dive Fitness Training Fitness to dive Fitness Flying Fractures Francois Burman Fredive Free Student cover Free diving Free flow Freedive INstructor Freedive Training Freediver Freediving performance Freediving Gas Density Gas consumption Gas laws Gas mixes GasPerformance Gases Gass bubbles Gastoeusophagus Gastric bypass Gastroenterologist Gear Servicing Germs Gordon Hiles Great White Sharks Gutt irritations HCV HELP HIRA HMLI HMS Britanica Haemorhoid treatment Hazard Description Hazardous Marine life Hazardous marinelife Health practitioner Heart Attack Heart Health Heart Rate monitor Heart fitness Heart rates Heart rate Heart Heat stress Helium Hepatitis C Hepatitus B High Pressure vessels High temperatures Hip strength Hip surgery Hippocampus History Hot Humans Hydrate Hydration Hydrogen Hydroids Hydrostatic pressure Hygiene Hyperbaric Chamber Hyperbaric research Hyperbarics Hypothermia Hypoxia IdentiFin Imaging Immersion Immine systems In Water Recompression Indemnity form Indian Ocean Indonesia Inert gas Infections Infra red Imaging Injections Instinct Instruction Instructors Insurance Integrated Physiology International travel International Interval training Irritation Joint pain Junior Open Water Diver KZN South Coast Kate Jonker Kidneys Kids scubadiver KwaZulu Natal Labour laws Laryngospasm Lauren Arthur Learning to dive Legal Network Legal advice Legislation Lenses Leukemis Liability Risks Liability releases Liability Life expectancy Lifestyle Lightroom editing Live aboard diving Liver Toxicity Liver diseas Low blood pressure Low pressure deterioration Low volume masks Lung Irritation Lung function Lung injuries Lung squeeze Lung surgery Lung MOD Macro photography Maintenance Malaria Mammalian Dive Response Mammalian effect Marine Biology Marine Scientists Marine conservation Marine parks Marinelife Masks Master scuba diver Maximum operating depth Medical Q Medical emergencies Medical questionaire Medical statement Medicalresearch Medication Mehgan Heaney-Grier Mermaid Danii Mesophotic Middle ear pressure Mike Bartick Military front press Mixed Gas Mono Fins Mooring lines More pressure Motion sickness Mozambique Muscle pain Mycobacterium marinum National Geographic Nausea Nautilus Neck pain Neuro assessments Neurological assessments Nitrogen Narcosis Nitrogen build up Nitrox No-decompression Non-nano zinc oxide Non-rebreather Mask Nonrebreather masks Normal Air Nosebleeds O2 providers O2 servicing OOxygen maintenance Ocean Research Ocean pollution Oil contamination Open water divers Optical focus Orbital implants Oronasal mask Osteonecrosis Out and about Out of air Outreach Oxygen Administration Oxygen Cylinder Oxygen Units Oxygen deficit Oxygen deicit Oxygen dificiency Oxygen ears Oxygen equipment Oxygen masks Oxygen supplies Oxygen supply Oxygen systems Oxygen therapy Oxygen P J Prinsloo PFI PJP Tech Part 3 Partner Training Perspective Philippine Islands Philippines Phillipines Photographers Photography Physioball Physiology Physiotherapy Pills Pistons Planning Plastic Pneumonia Pneumothorax Poison Pollution Pool Diving Pool workout Post-dive Pre-dive Predive check Preparation Prepared diver Press Release Preventions Professional rights Provider course Psycological Pulmanologist Pulmonary Bleb Pulmonary Edema Pulse Punture wounds Pure Apnea Purge RAID South Africa RCAP REEF Radio communications Range of motion Rashes Rebreather diving Rechargeable batteries. Recompression chamber Recompression treatment Recompression Recycle Reef Conservation Reef safe Reef surveyors Refractive correction Regulator failure Regulators Regulator Remote areas Renewable Report incidents Rescue Divers Rescue Procedure Rescue breathing Rescue breaths Rescue training Rescue Resume diving Return to diving Risk Assessments Risk assesments Risk assessment Risk elements Risk management SABS 019 SafariLive Safety Stop Safety SaherSafe Barrier Salty Wanderer Sanitising Sara Andreotti Saturation Diving Save our seas Science Scombroid Poisoning Scuba Air Quality Scuba Injury Scuba Instructor Scuba children Scuba dive Scuba health Scubalearners Scubalife Sea Horses Sealife Shark Protection Shark Research Shark conservation Shark diving Sharks Shoulder strength Sideplank Signs and Symptoms Sit-ups Skin Bends Skin outbreak Skin rash Snorkeling Snorkels Social Distancing Sodwana Bay Solomon Islands South Africa Spinal bends Spinal cord DCS Spinal pain Splits Squeezes Stability exercise Standars Stay Fit Stents Step ups Stephen Frink Stepping up Stroke Submerged Sudafed Sulawesi Sun protection Sunscreen Supplemental oxygen Surface supplied Air Surfaced Surgeries Surgery Suspension training TRavel safety Tabata protocol Talya Davidoff Tattoes Technical Diving The Bends The truth Thermal Notions Tides Tips and trick Tooth squeeze Transplants Travel smarter Travel tips Travel Tropical Coastal Management Tunnelling Tweezers Ultrsound Umkomaas Unconsciousness Underground work Underwater hockey Underwater photographer Underwater photography Underwater pho University of Stellenbosch Urinary retention. Vaccines Vagus nerve Valsalva manoeuvers Valve stem seals Vape Vaping Vasopressors Vasvagal Syncope Venting Virus infections Volatile fuels Washout treatments Wastewater Watchman device Water Resistance Water Weakness Weigang Xu Weights West Papua Western Cape Diving Wet diving bell Wetsuit fitting Wetsuits White balance Wide angles Wildlife Winter Woman in diving Woman Women In Diving SA Women in diving Work of Breathing Workout Wound dressings Wreck divers Wreck dive Wreckdiving Wrecks Yoga Youth diver Zandile Ndholvu Zoology abrasion acoustic neuroma excision adverse seas air-cushioned alert diver altitude anemia antibiotics anticoagulants antiseptics bandages barodontalgia bent-over barbell rows bioassays body art breathing air calories burn carbon dioxide toxicity cardiovascular cerebrospinal fluid checklist chemo port child clearances closed circuit scuba corrective lenses currents cuts dead lift decompression algorithms decongestants decongestion dehydration dive injuries dive medicing dive ready child dive reflex dive tribe diver in distress diver rescue diver training dive diving attraction doctors domestic travel dri-suits drowning dry mucous membranes dry suits dry e-cigarettes ear spaces elearning electrolyte imbalance electroytes emergency action plans emergency assessment emergency training environmentally friendly equalising equalizing exposure injuries eyes fEMAL DIVERS fire rescue fitnes flexible tubing frediving freedivers gas bubble gas poisoning gastric acid gene expression health heartburn histidine hospital humidity immersion and bubble formation immersion pulmonary edema (IPE jaundice join DAN knee longevity lower stress malaise marielife marine pathogens medical issues medical procedures medical risk assesment medications mental challenge mental preparedness micro-organisims micro minor illness mucous membranes nasal steroids nasal near drowning nematocysts neurological newdivers nitrogen bubbles off-gassed operating theatre operations orthopeadic outgas pain perforation phillippines physical challenges pinched nerves plasters polyester-TPU polyether-TPU post dive posture prescription mask preserve prevention psychoactive pulmunary barotrauma rebreather mask rebreathers retinal detachment risk areas safety stops saturation scissors scuba equipment scuba single use sinus infections smoking snorkeling. spearfishing sterilising stings strength sub-aquatic sunscreen lotion swimmers ears tattoo care tecnical diver thermal protection tissue damage toxicity training trimix unified standards upwelling vision impaired warmers water quality zinc oxide