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The Importance of Hydration While Diving

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Keeping the body hydrated is always crucial for its proper functioning. Correct hydration while diving is even more essential if we consider that, while diving, we do liquid exchanges inside our body, which do not take place on the surface.

Why Maintaining Proper Hydration While Diving Is Vital?

Our body’s water and minerals help us to regulate temperature, eliminate waste and lubricate the joints. They are crucial for the functioning of every cell in our body. Without water, the heart and kidneys would stop.

When we become dehydrated, our physical performance decreases, fatigue and confusion increase, the level of consciousness is affected, even in severe cases of dehydration, shock, or death could happen. While it is true these consequences can affect anyone, dehydration, in addition, increases the scuba diver’s risk of suffering a Decompressive Illness (DE)

This is the reason. In addition to having impaired faculties, a dehydrated diver will suffer a reduction in blood plasma, which is closely related to gas exchange. The slowed blood flow will slow down the rate at which our body removes dissolved nitrogen, and we already know what happens when nitrogen molecules remain inside our body and we ascend. Don’t we?

How Do We Get Dehydrated When We Dive?

First of all, we will say that when we eliminate more liquid than we drink, dehydration happens. So, not only do we lose water but also lasting minerals. Therefore, we need to drink enough water, as well as avoid, as far as possible, unnecessary losses to maintain hydration while diving.

According to DAN, three things increase a diver’s dehydration.

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  1. Sweating.

Avoiding prolonged exposure to the sun and excessive sweating during the boat trip are key. Choose the most suitable wetsuit for the temperature of the water in which you are going to dive and if it is too hot, wait to close the zippers. Try to travel in covered boats that carry shade and drink plenty of water.

  1. Diuresis by Immersion.

As we already covered in the article “Truths and Lies About Peeing in Wetsuit” a diver is at greater risk of suffering dehydration due to the increased need to urinate that being underwater produces. According to studies, urine production is 5-6 times higher in the water than out of it.

As the water temperature is lower than our body, the blood vessels constrict and send the blood into the body. So, our brain interprets this as an excess of fluid and will give the order to accelerate the evacuation to the excretory system.

Except for consuming plenty of fluids before diving, we can do nothing more to prevent this phenomenon.

  1. Breathing Compressed Air.

Breathing compressed air forces our body to lose twice the water vapor as breathing at the surface. The explanation is simple. Compressing air removes humidity, regardless of the mixture you are using.  When you breathe air from a bottle, it is dry. However, to carry out the gas exchange, our body needs the air to reach the alveoli at body temperature and be saturated with 100% humidity. Do you know where we get this water? From your reserves.

How to Maintain Hydration While Diving?

Drinking liquids before diving.

What Beverages Should I Drink to Maintain Hydration While Diving?

You should drink water. No soft drinks, no beer, no coffee, no tea, nothing more than water.

Bottled water will give you the correct amount of water and mineral salts. Soft drinks, however, have an excess of sugars and gases that are not suitable for diving. In addition, hyperglycemia will not allow proper absorption of fluids.

It is even worse to consume alcohol, we all know that alcoholic beverages dehydrate, not counting the implicit risk of narcosis and the danger it poses for a diver. Drinks with theine or caffeine have a diuretic effect and divers only need to increase the urge to urinate. (Ironic comment)

Fortunately, all Dressel Divers dive boats carry water on board to meet the needs of divers who trust us.

When Should I Drink to Maintain Hydration While Diving?

It is important to drink plenty of fluids without waiting to be thirsty. In fact, thirst is an alarm mechanism in our bodies. When we are thirsty, we are already dehydrated and have lost 3% (in children) to 7% (in the elderly) of water. We are supposed to consume 1.5 to 2 liters of water a day, but we know that the risk of dehydration increases with diving, so we should increase the dose.

At the end of the dive, our body is eliminating nitrogen and as we have seen before, water is important for this process, so water intake must continue to be important. Avoid eating salty foods and opt for fruits and vegetables that are also rich in water.

Do you have any questions about hydration while diving? Write to us and we will answer you.