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Considerations for freediving in a lake


Apr 7, 2016
Boston, Massachusetts
I am interested in doing some freediving in a lake and there are things I'd like to know about what to expect. I understand there will be a strong thermocline and low visibility. The questions I have are:

Will I need a head lamp?

Should I anker my bouy somehow to the bottom? I'm wondering if surface currents will cause me to drift far.

What should I consider for safetying another diver that's different for low visibility in lakes?

Anything else you can add to this would be appreciated.
Oct 28, 2017
Conditions for lake diving depend on the lake and the conditions just like any other diving. I've had zero vis to 40ft vis diving different lakes. The biggest difference is the thermocline and it gets dark fast. The biggest safety concern is other boats and jet skis. There is really no current so there is no need to anchor your float. Always check regulations for your areas because they can vary lake to lake.
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J Campbell

Well-Known Member
Sep 17, 2001
Annapolis, MD, USA
If your line is not anchored but there is a wind, then yes the line will slowly drift with the wind. It's pretty slow. The problem I encountered once was that the line drifted into shallower water and we kept having to move it back out to deeper water.
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Well-Known Member
Oct 26, 2012
Andrew, head lamp is a must. In complete darkness it is really easy to get disorientated during ascent in CNF or CWT, which results in swimming at an angle to the rope which creates a lot of drag. I once forgot to turn my light on during such dive, the ascent was a nightmare I almost panicked. In addition, light will make you easily visible to a safety diver. The bottom light is also a very good idea, it will make you feel more safe and helps in case of any problems during a turn.

The buoy should be definitely anchored, bottom weight should be at least 5 meters above the bottom. To let the line drift freely is not a good idea. You may end up on shallows, drift to some obstacles etc. You never know what is down there. In addition, drifting line can collect lost nets or other lines. During my training dives in a lake I use a separate buoy (a 5L plastic bottle) attached to a thin line with 5kg weight. I put the weight on the bottom and than anchor my freediving buoy to it.

Beeing a safety in low vis is a challenge, you can loose the rope out of sight easily and you will spot the diver when he almost hits you. If the visibility is lower than 2m, deep safteying is practically impossible. In such conditions only surface assistance can be provided.
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