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Scuba Diving/breathing in shore dives


Hello there, I was recently certified in Cozumel, and joined a local scuba club when I got home.  I have completed 2 California Beach dives, but have had a few gear issues.

Background: When I first get into the water on a beach dive, I suddenly start hyperventilating.  I just hang out with my BC inflated, and it calms down.  It only happens when I'm on my back kicking out, and when putting on fins.  I am very fit cardiovascular-wise, and I'm not hyperventilating out of anxiety. This was not an issue at all when I was in Cozumel.

My question is this:  What could be causing this hyperventilation on entry?  Could it be helped by tweaking tank placement?  BC tightness, anything?  I am baffled by this hyperventilation.  

Any ideas/suggestions will be greatly appreciated.  Thank you!

Hi Lynda,

That's an interesting question.  Based on your description, I have a couple of ideas.  Since you're physically fit and you said anxiety isn't a problem then I'll try another approach.

It's possible that the constriction of your wetsuit and, possibly, your BC could contribute to a feeling of stress even though you don't actually feel it.  Swimming on the surface requires more effort than swimming after you're submerged so it's possible that the combination of these issues raised your stress level temporarily and contributes to your hyperventilation tendency.  If that's the case then you should calm down once you get past the surf zone and under the water.

You weren't wearing all that exposure protection in Cozumel so that's a major difference.  If you can make a boat dive instead of a beach entry then that might help answer your question.

Try that and let me know if it changes anything.


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Mike Giles


I am a Master Scuba Instructor with over 6000 dives. I can answer questions on general diving techniques, diving education and diver training. I can offer suggestions on the use and selection of proper dive equipment, general maintenance of dive equipment as well as diving equipment repair. I can also offer suggestions on air conservation techniques and buoyancy control. As a dive shop owner for 19 years, I can offer suggestions on starting/running a dive business.


I have been diving for 55 years, teaching diving for 50 years and owned a diving business for 19 years. I am a certified regulator repair technician for several different brands and a certified scuba cylinder inspector.

I am currently a member of the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), Divers Alert Network (DAN), International Resort and Retailer Association and the Better Business Bureau

Undercurrent magazine and Divers Chapbook

I am a Master Scuba Diver Trainer with 15 distinct specialty instructor ratings, Rescue Diver Instructor, Medic-First Aid Instructor and I have degrees in Chemical Engineering, Biology and Radiologic Technology.

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