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What is the maximum time you can get out of a scuba tank?

I have a friend who knows everything about everything. However, this time I think he has overstepped his boundries. He has assured me that it doesnot matter what type of SCUBA tank you are using that the maximum time is one hour. I think he has let his alligator mouth overload his hummingbird ***. Thanks for the help

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There are four main variables affecting this: 1. The (total) internal volume of the tank(s) 2. The pressure to which that tank has been filled 3. The ambient pressure at depth 4. The rate at which the diver uses the air out of that tank for their breathing and buoyancy control (including drysuit inflation). The first three are simply a matter of physics and will be the same for everyone under the same circumstances. The major variation comes from the last one, which is usually a function of the diver's experience/ competence (not the same thing!). One who is less so will go through air quicker than one who is more so. So the best answer for your question is "It depends..."! However, many resorts and guides set a maximum dive time of one hour, so they know when to expect a diver back on the boat (or, when they have to call out the Coastguard!). This might be the source of your friend's assertion. FYI: The current world record for breathing off a single tank of air while sitting at the bottom of a swimming pool is a little bit short of 8 hours. The divers in question were using 12-litre cylinders charged to 200B and breathing verrrry slowly! (approximately 12 x 200 litres / 460 minutes = 5.22 l/min)

Posted on Dec 01, 2008

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