Right from the moment you enroll in a scuba diving certification course, it’s drilled into your brain that proper hydration is one of the golden rules of scuba diving. Getting dehydrated while underwater thickens your blood. This contributes to increased chances of decompression sickness which is anything but a pleasant experience.
The instructors give lots and lots of valuable advice on pre and post-dive hydration. But what about “during the dive”? It’s quite common to feel thirsty after breathing in all that dry compressed gas mixture for about an hour. So, is it possible to drink during your dive without having to resurface?
The answer is a resounding yes. From resorting to something as simple as a straw to collapsible water pouches you can easily drink water right in the middle of your scuba diving session without even needing to resurface.
Table of Contents
- 1 5 Proven Ways to Drink Underwater During Your Dive
- 2 Why Do Divers Need to Drink Water Before Diving? The Risks of Dehydration
- 3 How Many Liters of Water Should a Scuba Diver Drink?
- 4 Factors that Accelerate Underwater Dehydration
- 5 Preventing Dehydration: Tips for Staying Hydrated During a Scuba Diving Trip
- 6 Afterthoughts
5 Proven Ways to Drink Underwater During Your Dive
You can drink water while submerged without ever needing to resurface (except when you run out of air of course).
However, doing so requires you to break a golden rule of diving…having to hold your breath. Granted, sipping a quick swallow of water only takes a few moments, but in the end, you ARE gonna be holding your breath while doing it.
Another problem is that you cannot drink from your usual soft or hard water bottles while underwater. When you try to drink from a hard bottle, the liquid inside is trapped because there is no air to replace it, unlike on the surface where air enters the bottle to replace the escaping liquid. The only way to get around this is to squeeze the bottle, but this won’t work for hard bottles.
Soft bottles present a different problem; the space created after drinking will be filled with the surrounding saltwater which you don’t want a mouthful of.
Keeping in mind the above complications, all you need is a suitable container that is not only comfortable to drink from but also isolated from the surrounding water and won’t affect your breathing. Let’s take a look at a few tried and tested solutions to drink underwater.
1. Look for a SCUDA
This is your best bet. You have probably heard the abbreviation SCUDA, (self-contained underwater drinking apparatus). It is a bag with a tube and a modified mouthpiece so you could drink without removing the breathing regulator from your mouth.
This particular apparatus is hard to get your hands on since the company stopped manufacturing these long ago. You may have some luck finding one on eBay.
I own a SCUDA bag (perks of being a veteran diver haha) and have taken it to quite a few dives and it served its intended purpose well.
2. Use a Camelbak Hydration System
I get dry mouth quite often during my dive sessions and prefer to carry this system with some water or electrolytes. Contrary to their deceiving looks, these are quite lightweight, durable, and made specifically for drinking purposes while underwater. It even comes with sturdy attachment rigs.
The only downside is that you have to remove your regulator while using the camelback.
3. Use Collapsible Water Pouches
Another great option, although it requires you to take off your regulator while drinking is using collapsible soft-shelled water pouches like the Vapur’s Collapsible pouches.
Simply fill the bag with water before your dive, and when you’re ready for a drink, hold the bag up to your mouth and squeeze it. Due to being soft-shelled, the bottle will retain its squeezed shape so there’s less chance of surrounding water entering the pouch.
To ensure that there are zero chances of stray water seeping into the pouch you can opt for bite valves (basically modified mouthpieces) to completely seal the pouch.
Not only is the collapsible drinking water bag convenient, but it’s also environmentally friendly. The bag is reusable and can be easily stored in your dive bag.
4. Use Pre Packaged Juice Pouches
You can even try packaged juice pouches which are similar to collapsible water pouches.
You can squeeze the drink out of these pouches and use a straw to drink the liquid. The squeezed pouch will not return to its original shape and hence has less chance of letting dirty surrounding water in it.
But these juice pouches are not suitable for prolonged use and aren’t environmentally friendly.
5. Improvise using a straw
We scuba divers are known for our ability to improvise with cheaper alternatives for a lot of problems. So, you may try to drink in small pinches from traditional plastic or glass bottles with a straw but the problem of surrounding water getting mixed inside remains.
I haven’t tried this with normal water bottles so cannot vouch although the principle is the same.
Why Do Divers Need to Drink Water Before Diving? The Risks of Dehydration
Just because it’s possible to drink while submerged doesn’t mean you can neglect your pre-hydration process. Ensuring proper hydration before your diving session is a golden rule of scuba diving. Proper hydration helps you avoid a lot of potential problems as mentioned below:
Avoid Dehydration and Decompression Sickness
Staying hydrated is essential for every athlete, and scuba diving is no exception. While diving, your body is subjected to a variety of stressors, including cold water temperatures, pressure changes, and physical exertion. All of these factors can lead to dehydration, which can, in turn, increase your risk of decompression sickness (DCS) and other diving-related injuries.
Maintain Situational Awareness
Nobody knows better than divers that losing concentration and situational awareness while underwater can escalate quickly. Proper Hydration is necessary so that you can have full concentration and maintain a calm rational mind.
To Prevent Dry Mouth
Suffering from a dry mouth when diving is primarily the result of breathing in dry, compressed air from your dive tank continuously; water vapor, which usually moisturizes our breath, is removed when air is compressed into scuba cylinders. Divers using full-face masks are at comparative ease because they can breathe through both the nose and the mouth.
As a result, the air inside the mask is a bit warmer, but still dry and compressed. So drinking water or some electrolytes in short intervals works wonders.
Regulate Body Temperature
Proper hydration helps in regulating your body temperature, which is particularly important when diving in warm waters or under the hot sun.
Reduce the Risk of Cramps
Dehydration also negatively impacts your overall diving experience. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, dizziness, and cramping, all of which can detract from enjoying your dive session to the fullest. So proper hydration is a must to avoid an unpleasant diving experience.
How Many Liters of Water Should a Scuba Diver Drink?
As a thumb rule, a scuba diver should aim to drink at least one liter of water for every hour of diving. However, this can vary depending on factors such as your age, weight, and water temperature. I generally start properly hydrating myself 1-1.5 hours before my dive by drinking 300-400ml of water in 30-minute intervals.
Try to hydrate yourself properly before your dive session. It has been scientifically inferred that pre-hydration with 30% of the recommended daily water intake before scuba diving effectively suppressed the formation of bubbles after diving and significantly decreased the risk of DCS.
Factors that Accelerate Underwater Dehydration
Hydration is of foremost importance especially while scuba diving. Various reasons accelerate your dehydration process while underwater compared to being on the surface.
- Breathing Compressed Air: The air in your dive tank is dry and you lose more fluid to moisten this dry air. Due to the colder water temperature, your lungs need to work even more to warm up the air and this increases the moisture loss.
- Immersion Diuresis (increased Urine Production): During the dive the increased ambient pressure and cold water temperature causes the blood vessels in the extremities to shrink and blood is pumped from the extremities to the body core to keep you warm. Hence the kidneys produce more urine, making you lose water and minerals quicker.
- Sweating: If you are already in a warm climate and sweating wearing just a t-shirt, imagine how much you will sweat under your black wetsuit. You may not feel underwater but you’re profusely sweating in your wetsuit and constantly losing fluids.
- Environment: On warm, sunny, or humid days you sweat more. If lost fluids are not replaced, you become dehydrated. Also, the nice breeze of the wind evaporates sweat and moisture, increasing dehydration.
- Seawater/salt: When salty water dries on your skin, it leaves salt crystals behind. They soak the moisture out of the skin, dehydrating you faster. Although this isn’t a concern when you’re diving in freshwater where the conditions differ significantly from diving in saltwater.
Preventing Dehydration: Tips for Staying Hydrated During a Scuba Diving Trip
On the day of your dive, drink small amounts of water at regular intervals throughout the day. You lose bodily fluids quicker underwater than on land. Don’t wait until you are thirsty.
Here is a compilation of some essential hydration tips you need to keep in mind when scuba diving
- Fruit juice is a fructose and vitamin-rich fluid and is great both pre-dive and post-dive.
- Don’t don your heavy gear until ready to get in the water. The weight of your diving gear can wear you down significantly on land.
- Use sunscreen of higher than 30 SPF after every hour of sun exposure. Waterproof sunscreen is not waterproof. Being underwater, rinsing off, and sweating gradually removes sunscreen.
- Cover up as much of your skin as possible. Wear porous Hawaiian shirts with long sleeves. The less you expose yourself to the sun the better.
- If vomiting occurs remember to replace fluids and electrolytes as soon as possible.
- Avoid seasickness as it dehydrates you quicker. Take all your sea sickness-related medications before the dive.
- Avoid drinking any kind of fluid that causes dehydration like Alcohol or Caffeinated Drinks for at least 10-12 before your dive session.
- Stay away from Energy Drinks as they are harmful. Try to stick with plain water and electrolyte solution. Sports Drink is also viable.
Unless into technical diving which can last for several hours, drinking enough water prior to your dive is enough to keep you hydrated.
However, if you absolutely need to moisten your mouth while underwater, it’s entirely possible to have not only a few sips but big gulps of water underwater by employing the easy and affordable ways mentioned in this article.