How much weight should I wear? Freedivers and SCUBA divers learn their own individual answers to this question in theer first full course. With the lack of formal training available to them, especially in cold water, snorkellers usually have to sort this out for themselves. Dubious simple formulas can be found online that recommend a percentage of a person’s body weight but these fail to take into account the snorkeller’s body composition and what they are wearing. On his Freediving Safety website, Performance Freediving International (PFI) instructor Ted Harty gives excellent guidance on this and and other safety related topics.
The first part of this video shows what it looked like when we did surface buoyancy checks.
Case #1 shows a physically fit friend wearing a 3 mm thick 1-piece wetsuit and about 3% of her body weight in lead on her belt while remaining motionless and holding her breath after:
- 00:00-00:06 maximum inhalation
- 00:07-00:14 normal inhalation
- 00:15-00:22 relaxed exhalation
- 00:23-00:29 maximum exhalation
Case #2 shows a physically fit friend wearing a 7 mm thick 2-piece wetsuit and about 10% of her body weight in lead on her belt while remaining motionless and holding her breath after:
- 00:30-00:40 maximum inhalation
- 00:41-00:47 normal inhalation
- 00:48-00:49 relaxed exhalation (editing problem, too brief to be of much use)
- 00:50-00:57 maximum exhalation
Case #3 shows the author, who gets a little softer and heavier every year, wearing a 6.5 mm thick 2-piece wetsuit and about 5% of his body weight in lead on his belt while remaining motionless and holding his breath after:
- 00:58-01:08 maximum inhalation
- 01:09-01:17 normal inhalation
- 01:18-01:25 relaxed exhalation
- 01:26-01:38 maximum exhalation
Clearly, no one sank out of sight.
After that we practiced surface entries. Note how the white weight belts make it easier to see whoever is underwater.