Nathan J. Penn's


( Breath hold diving - Free diving )

Skin diving is a sport in its self. The key to skin diving is relaxation while diving and preparing through exersise. It is indeed a relaxing and beautiful sport, but it can well be very dangerous if a diver is not properly trained.

Exercise on a regular basis is a requisite for the sport. A person must build his or her body through aerobic exercise so the body can store and use oxygen effeciently. Exercises like swimming, bicycling and jogging are good. But, it must be done on a REGULAR BASIS.

Relaxation during the dive is a most important factor. A good skin diver will slow their matabolism and actually hear their heart rate slow. By using very slow fin strokes the diver can glide through the water not fight against it.

Exercising just before the dive helps to open the blood vessels and allows the diver's body to store more oxygen. This is contrary to SCUBA diving where exercising before diving could cause a SCUBA diver to be susceptible to decompression illness.

Slightly hyperventilating will help to release carbon dioxide from the diver's body. The danger is that the diver my not feel the urge to breath and stay underwater until it is too late.

Another danger is what divers call "SHALLOW WATER BLACK-OUT". This occurs usually when the partial pressure of oxygen is decreased by decreasing pressures when surfacing. This can cause the brain not to have sufficient oxygen and the diver "falls asleep" (blacks out) before reaching the surface .

Another contributing factor to SHALLOW WATER BLACK-OUT is depleting oxygen on one dive and not allowing the body to regain and store the needed oxygen by not staying on the surface of the water breathing fresh air before making another dive. a Good Rule of Thumb : ALWAYS ALLOW A SURFACE TIME OF 3 - 5 TIMES THE LENGTH OF THE PREVIOUS DIVE BEFORE MAKING ANOTHER DIVE example : If I make a skin dive for one minute then I need to stay on the surface and breath fresh air through my snorkle for 3 to 5 minutes before making the next dive.

"is more dreaded by free divers than any shark attack" - "BLUE WATER HUNTER"

For Safe Skin Diving :

  • Keep dives to a depth of approximately 20 feet or less
  • Always maintain surface intervals of 3 - 5 times the length of the last dive.
  • Stay relaxed and dive slowly
  • Keep yourself in good physical condition and maintain good swimming skills
  • Know your limits and dive well within them !
  • Always dive with a buddy !
  • Get proper training . (Many instructors treat skin diving as pre-SCUBA. Find an instructor who is strong or at least has an interest in free diving.)