Breathing from a free flowing regulator is one of the most important scuba skills you will learn during any scuba diving course. Our scuba regulator are designed to never fail, and if a regulator does malfunction, it will start to free flow.
A free flow is when air is flowing uncontrolled (free flow) from the regulator. If this happens the air from your tank is depleted quickly so it is important you know how to breathe from a free flowing regulator without hesitation. Whether your a first time divers or more experienced it will never hurt to brush up on this important skill.
You should practice this skills in a pool or shallow confined water where if need be, you can easily stand up with your head above water. To simulate a free-flowing regulator underwater you want to press the purge button on the front of your regulator to start the free flowing air. You will keep pressing this thought the exercise.
Step for breathing from a free flow regulator
Pressing the purge button
- Remove the 2nd stage mouthpiece from one corner of your mouth
- With half of the mouthpiece between your teeth angle the opposite side away from your mouth to allow the excess bubbles a place to escape
- Tilt your head to the side allow the bubbles a clear path to the surface.
- Slowly ‘sip’ the excess air that is coming out of the regulator
- You can use your tongue as a splash guard to avoid water in your mouth
- Check you pressure gauge to monitor your remaining air,
- Signal your buddy or dive guide and start ascending
If this happens to your underwater dont panic, slowly sip the air and signal for help, other divers should be able to hear the free flow happening. If your regulator is in free flow you can always begin sipping the air and then switch over to use a buddies alternate air source, and have them close your cylinder. Once your tank is closed and the air is no longer free flowing, first calm yourself, catch your breathe and than slowly ascend to the surface.
If you try to perform this skill looking straight on or looking down the bubbles will jostle your mask and water can enter the mask, making this skill more complicated than it need be. Remember to tilt your head to the side to allow the bubble a straight path to the surface of the water.
New diver tip: when you are trying your scuba equipment if the regulator start free flowing above water place your finger in front of the mouthpiece opening, this should stop the flowing air.