Why You Shouldn’t Freedive After Scuba Diving

Exploring the underwater world is a fascinating experience that both scuba diving and freediving enthusiasts appreciate. However, it’s crucial to understand that these two activities should not be combined without careful consideration. In this blog post, we will delve into why you shouldn’t freedive after scuba diving.

The Physiological Differences Between Scuba Diving and Freediving

To comprehend why combining these activities can be dangerous, it’s essential to grasp the physiological differences between scuba diving and freediving. When engaging in scuba diving, you rely on a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCUBA) system that supplies you with compressed air throughout the dive.

In contrast, during freediving, divers hold their breath and rely solely on their lung capacity for oxygen supply while exploring beneath the waves.

The Risk of Decompression Sickness

One significant risk associated with combining scuba diving and freediving is decompression sickness (DCS), also known as “the bends.” DCS occurs when nitrogen bubbles form within body tissues due to rapid changes in pressure during ascent after prolonged exposure to high-pressure environments.

While recreational divers typically follow specific decompression protocols designed to minimize this risk, adding a subsequent freedive can disrupt those carefully planned intervals. The abrupt shift from holding your breath underwater to rapidly ascending while still carrying residual nitrogen increases the likelihood of developing DCS symptoms.

The Effect on Nitrogen Absorption Levels

A key factor contributing to why you shouldn’t freedive after scuba diving relates directly to nitrogen absorption levels in your body. During a scuba dive, your body absorbs nitrogen at various depths due to increased ambient pressure. This absorbed nitrogen must then be released slowly through the decompression process to avoid DCS.

When you engage in freediving after scuba diving, your body’s nitrogen levels are already elevated. By holding your breath and descending again, you expose yourself to increased pressure and further nitrogen absorption. This combination can lead to substantially higher nitrogen levels and greatly increase the risk of DCS during subsequent ascents.

The Importance of Proper Surface Intervals

Surface intervals play a vital role in divers’ safety by allowing their bodies time to off-gas excess nitrogen absorbed during their previous dive. During this rest period between dives, divers typically remain at or near sea level while breathing normal atmospheric air.

If a freedive is attempted immediately after scuba diving without an adequate surface interval, there isn’t sufficient time for effective off-gassing. As a result, residual nitrogen remains in the body when descending again for the freedive, heightening the risks associated with DCS enormously.

Safety Always Comes First

In conclusion, it’s crucial to prioritize safety when engaging in underwater activities. Combining freediving with scuba diving without proper precautions can have severe consequences due to physiological differences and potential complications such as decompression sickness.

To enjoy both activities fully, consider planning separate days for each or allocating ample time between them. Remember that responsible decision-making ensures not only memorable experiences but also guarantees your well-being beneath the waves.

Stay safe and happy exploring!