How much air is in a scuba tank?

Scuba diving has been becoming increasingly popular. Once an activity only experienced by ocean scientists and the wealthy, scuba diving is now finding a place among the general population. Entire families are taking scuba diving up to increase the family togetherness that is sometimes difficult to maintain in today’s world of non-stop activity. One of the most often asked questions by enthusiasts is how much air is in a scuba tank. This is also one of the most difficult to answer because the answer is based on several factors. Let’s take a few minutes to help bring this answer a bit closer.

Three Factors

There are three factors that determine how much air you can rely on in a scuba tank. These factors are tank volume, depth of dive, and rate of air consumption.

A. Tank Volume – Air tanks come in a variety of sizes and are normally made of either steel or aluminum. The most popular tank is an aluminum tank that holds 80 cubic feet of air. A general rule to follow is that in most cases, the more air a tank holds, the longer it will last. You do need to call in the other factors, however, to determine if this will hold true in your case.

B. Dive Depth – As a diver goes deeper, he will be using air faster. This is because the air is acted on by the pressure below the water. The air inside a tank is already compressed and the underwater pressure doesn’t affect it. However, as air leaves the tank and enters your breathing tube, it is subject to compression, making it necessary for more air to be used during, say, five minutes than you would use at five minutes above water. The further you go down, the less time your air will last.

C. Consumption Rate – Height, weight, stress level, and amount of activity put forth all determine how much air a person needs with each breath. A tall person will use more oxygen with each breath than a small person will use. A person who feels nervous about the dive will breathe faster, using the air up more quickly than someone who is confident.

Learn Your Limits

Contact A-1 Scuba to book some diving lessons before your scuba diving adventure. Our trained instructors can help you learn what you need to do to help make the most of the air you carry with you. They can eliminate things like stress and teach you the deep, slow breathing that is best for oxygen usage.

Photo by Pascal van de Vendel on Unsplash