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How do I adjust diving in fresh water to salt or vice versa?


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#1 WreckWench

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Posted 18 June 2020 - 11:39 AM

I get this question a lot:

 

How do I adjust my weight and diving from diving in freshwater lakes and quarries to diving in the ocean? Or how do I adjust diving in the ocean to diving in a lake?

 

 



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#2 tickledone

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Posted 18 June 2020 - 07:56 PM

I hope others will pipe up, but there are a few things to consider when going from lakes and quarries to the ocean.

 

I'll qualify my answer by stating that I've never been lake diving, but I have gotten to dive a couple cenotes in Mexico - which gave me memorable experiences in freshwater diving. (BTW, if you ever get the chance to try diving the cenotes of Mexico - go for it!)

 

The biggest/main difference is going from freshwater to saltwater and vice versa. Because saltwater is more dense than freshwater, this will affect your buoyancy. (Think Archimedes principle.). As a result, you'll find that you need to use more ballast weight in order to dive in saltwater. The alternative is true when you dive in freshwater. As a result, you should check buoyancy before you dive. 

 

Lake/quarry diving may have worse visibility depending on size of the body of water. Lake Tahoe, is a really big lake with great visibility, also, the Great Lakes have some beautifully clear waters. In general lakes/quarries will often have water that is more stagnant than the ocean, as well as algae, resulting in visibility issues. 

 

You might find more in the way in thermoclines in lakes and quarries. Therefore, the use of appropriate exposure wear for your coldest thermocline. You might run into thermoclines, haloclines, or both (the pyknocline) in the ocean, particularly near where rivers runoff into the ocean. This, again can affect choice of exposure wear, as well as visibility as the interface between warm/cold water, as well as fresh/saltwater can look like salad dressing (oil and vinegar). 

 

You're unlikely to experience much in the way of currents in lake/quarry diving, though I suppose surge could happen if in a very windy area. Currents can vary from mild to very strong in the ocean, and one must consider upwelling and downwelling currents as well. 

 

That's all I can think of right at this moment. 


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#3 WreckWench

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Posted 19 June 2020 - 04:04 PM

One of the things most people forget to adjust for is weighting differences.

Basically you need less weight in fresh water than you do in salt water. Salt water has different saline densities so even in salt water you need different amounts of weight depending on the salinity.


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2234 North Federal Hwy, #1010 Boca Raton, FL 33431
formerly...
710 Dive Buddy Lane; Salem, SC 29676
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