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PSAI Advanced Buoyancy Control

The PSAI Advanced Buoyancy Control, Trim and Technique Program (PSAI ABC Program™) is designed to train divers in the benefits and proper procedures for mastering buoyancy control. Upon successful completion of this course, graduates may effectively increase their comfort level and their safety by fine-tuning their trim, position, kicking techniques and buoyancy in any diving environment.



Who would benefit from the ABC course?


Short answer - everybody. The course can be taken by any certified diver looking to improve their buoyancy control, trim and kicking technique for overall dive comfort or photo taking in any equipment configuration you prefer: single tank with vest type BCD, single tank with wing-type BCD, sidemount, doubles, etc. 


PSAI Advanced Buoyancy Control course

We often use the ABC course to introduce divers to technical diving with backplate plus wing-type BCD with twin tank set up, but the course content easily adapts to any equipment configuration. The course is essential to anyone wishing to enter any overhead diving programs.


If you do the ABC course with a twin tank, technical set-up, after the course you will have learnt all basic skills needed in all technical diving. You will find that the rest of technical diving is learning procedures and they are easy to learn when your buoyancy control is an automatic process that no longer requires conscious effort. You will repeat the basic skills over and over in further technical diving courses, but that is what tec-diving is: practice, practice, practice...

Scuba diver in horizontal trim

Streamlining, proper weighting, good trim and horizontal position in the water reduce energy you need to move in the water. You'll use less air, get longer dives and generally enjoy diving more.

Scuba diver hovering over a reef.

Good buoyancy control is an environmentally friendly skill: you can hover over sensitive parts of the reef without damaging aquatic life.

A diver hovering in a proper horizontal trim produces a small front profile and reduces drag. Moving and turning to any direction - forwards, backwards, around - becomes effortless.

Front view of a scuba diver in proper horizontal trim.

Impeccable buoyancy control is essential for anyone wishing to take up wreck or cave diving.

Wreck diver in proper trim

Being able to control your buoyancy at all times defines a skilled diver. The PSAI Advanced Buoyancy Control course challenges you to take your buoyancy control to a whole new level. Even if you have been diving for quite some time, you will find the course challenging and ultimately rewarding.

Protecting the reef system with buoyancy control
Tropical Reef

Imagine being able to carefully swim close to a reef, where you can safely enjoy small marine creatures many divers often overlook, by using anti-silt or anti-damage propulsion techniques. You can rotate your fins upward to look under ledges for eels or nurse sharks without kicking sand onto coral.


You can enjoy close-up or macro photography, scull close to a subject for the photo opportunity, then backward kick away leaving nature undisturbed.


The PSAI ABC Program™ Diver is an ambassador of the sea promoting ecology-minded diving that will protect the environment for future generations to enjoy.


As a PSAI ABC Program™ Diver, you will develop the skills necessary to protect the environment through better propulsion techniques and equipment streamlining. You will learn to be a better dive buddy and a better leader to help keep your team safer underwater.


You will undoubtedly have more fun because you will have more control, become more confident, and have exciting and essential skills in your toolbox.

What you learn


In the PSAI ABC program you'll do


  • Advanced Buoyancy Control, Trim & Techniques Skills

  • The Fundamentals of Proper Trim

  • Finning techniques
    - frog kick
    - modified frog kick
    - helicopter turns
    - backwards finning

  • S-Drill

  • Valve Drill

  • The PSAI Fundamental-5
    – Primary Regulator Removal & Replacement.
    – Regulator Exchange.
    – Modified S-Drill.
    – Mask Flood & Clear.
    – Mask Removal & Replacement.

  • Scuba unit Removal & Replacement (while neutrally buoyant)

  • Deployment of the Surface Marker Buoy

  • The Descent / Ascent Drill

  • Proactive Awareness



Course Structure


The course consists of


  • One (1) introductory classroom session

  • Minimum four (4) dives*


*) We sometimes run the ABC course at Sun Yat-sen University's olympic size 6m deep diving pool in Guangzhou, China, over a weekend of diver training. A weekend course in Guangzhou has five sessions plus practice time. You can easily get eight hours or more of underwater time.


At other pools in Hong Kong, such as Lei Cheng Uk, the course is run in three 3 hour sessions with approximately 300 minutes of underwater time. The sessions are usually scheduled a couple of weeks apart from each other to allow independent practice time between the sessions, with the last session being an evaluation session.





PSAI Advanced Buoyancy Control, Trim & Technique Manual





Open water diver or above



What do I need?


Basic scuba equipment - configuration of your choice.

Want to See Buoyancy Control in Action?

Or in this case - non-action... Check out PSAI China instructors' response to the Mannequin Challenge - Underwater:

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