Buddy Breathing Ascent Tips

What is the buddy breathing ascent?

Why do we need to master the buddy breathing ascent?

Where and when do you practice buddy breathing?

How to master the buddy breathing skill?

Buddy breathing tutorial video

Buddy breathing tips and tricks

What is buddy breathing?

Buddy breathing is one of the optional procedures you could perform in a response to an out of air emergency. Buddy breathing involves two dive buddies breathing alternatively from a single air source.

Why buddy breathing?

When out of air, there are normally better, safer and easier solutions to choose before performing a buddy breathing ascent. However, if you’re out of air and your buddy’s alternate air source malfunctions or missing, you should know you can still slowly and safely ascend using one air source. Mind you, this should never happen as all divers should always dive with an alternate air source, and should check it works fine during a pre-dive safety check/buddy check.

Where to practice buddy breathing?

-Buddy breathing is an optional skill, rarely practiced at the open water course. It takes some practice and coordination to perform a proper buddy breathing ascent. Usually you’ll first be introduced to the buddy breathing skill during the Rescue course or a Divemaster course or above, though it’s always advisable to know it earlier.

-buddy breathing ascent should be practiced at confined water, in water to deep to stand in.

How to master buddy breathing? Step by step skill description

  1. Kneel on the sand facing your buddy.
  2. Give your buddy an out of air signal.
  3. Even when out of air, keep you regulator in your mouth until receiving your buddy’s regulator. This prevents water inhalation should you accidentally try to inhale. Learn more about the mechanism here.
  4. Each diver’s left hand secures the buddy’s BCD, making sure both divers stay close to each other. The left hand is also free to occasionally deflate the BCD during ascent to gain buoyancy control, and for communication and hand signaling.
  5. DONOR:  Holds his second stage by the hose, using his right hand, close to the second stage. Remember not to cover the second stage as the purge button should be available for the receiver’s use.
  6. RECEIVER: Holds the donor’s right wrist.
  7. When buddy breathing, each diver takes two long breaths before handing the air source back to his buddy. Each breath should be indicated by a signal: lifting one finger at the time, numbering the breaths taken.
  8. Upon second inhalation, the air source is delivered to the second diver.
  9. Remember to never hold your breath when scuba diving. Inhale deeply and slowly before giving the air source away and keep exhaling slowly as long as the air source is out of your mouth.
  10. Keep this buddy breathing regulator exchange until you got the rhythm right, than slowly ascend to the surface.
  11. At the surface, the donor power inflates his BCD while holding the receiver who needs to orally inflate the BCD.

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Buddy breathing tutorial video

Buddy breathing tips:

  1. Practice on land. It takes quite a lot of coordination and communication between the two divers to perform buddy breathing properly. Make sure both of you are fully aware of the buddy breathing procedures.
  2. Try to get to a comfortable breathing rhythm that allows both of you ample air supply. The most recommended buddy breathing technique is leaving enough air to blow air out in order to clear the regulator when receiving it from your buddy, followed by a short inhalation to meet your body’s demand for air, then a second, deep and long inhalation delivering enough air for you to be able to exhale throughout all that time when your buddy is breathing from the regulator.
  3. When ascending to the surface, try to rotate, gaining an insight of what’s around you, so you won’t accidentally bump into obstacles on your way up.