Trim : What is it? and Why is it Important?
No offence intended, unless you have undergone a proper scuba diving instruction class, it’s likely you have poor trim as proper trim requires dedicated practice and application of the basic principles and techniques involved in having a proper trim. Having a proper trim will allow you dive for longer hours, leave you feeling refreshed after a dive and improve your buoyancy control.
Proper trim is the perfect horizontal body position which makes the diver look like he is laying on his stomach on an invisible platform. To attain this position, the diver’s legs are bent at the knee, so his fins are higher than every other part of his leg. The fins are parallel to the floor. The diver’s arms extend to the front of his body, and his arms are at the same level with his stomach or just below it. No other part of the diver’s body appears below this horizontal line.
Divers should aspire to attain perfect trim as it reduces the effort required to move through water, lowers the diver’s air consumption rate and allows him to dive for longer. Also, a diver is perfect trim has his fins slightly elevated, and this prevents the stirring up of sand, silt, corals, delicate aquatic life and other bottom sediments. Beyond these, the most important reason why divers should care about their trim is that it allows them better control all other aspects of their diving.
A diver with poor control over his diving must divide his attention between maintaining stability and other important tasks such as depth and time monitoring, buddy awareness, and gas management. Any distraction from these tasks can be dangerous, and this means the diver won’t enjoy the experience of diving entirely. He will also fail to master complicated tasks like photography, navigation, buoyancy and position whenever he shifts attention to another activity.
Good trim improves a divers control as it allows him to maintain a stable position in the water. A diver without proper trim swims at an angle to the floor, either upwards or downwards, causing him to lose neutral buoyancy.
A diver who dives out of trim will have poor control, causing him to lose buoyancy whenever he is not in motion. Also, he must continuously fight to maintain a uniform depth. He also never learns to control his buoyancy with his lungs and BCD, because he swims up or down whenever he is neutrally buoyant.
To learn proper trim, the first thing you have to do is an experiment with your weight, body position, and equipment configuration. Practice with a buddy who can direct you into a horizontal position. You could even get someone to film you so you can track your trim as it evolves.