On my last couple of dives, I've noticed that my feet tend to float up during the 5m / 3 minute safety stop. It seems to be more of an issue when doing a safety stop using a line to ascend, but I've noticed it to a lesser extent when floating freely for the stop.

During all of these dives, I've been wearing a weight belt. I believe it has always had the appropriate amount of weights on it (varying depending on the tank or wetsuit worn), and I've had no problems achieving and maintaining neutral buoyancy during the dives. During the main part of the dive, I don't have issues with my feet floating above me.

Is there a common reason for why my feet may be floating up during the safety stop, and is there a way to avoid it?

  • 1
    Floating feet/buoyancy problems during safety stop is most likely due to the weight of the air in cylinder being less after the dive.
    – AquaAlex
    Aug 8, 2014 at 12:18

2 Answers 2


This should sound more generic than only for a safety stop during a dive. I had this issue that during the swim as well, that I had to constantly fight to keep from rolling to one side, or to keep my feet from floating towards the surface.

The two most typical problems with swimmers/divers that I saw were :

  1. The feet looked to have a tendency to move towards the bottom while their upper body moves toward the surface, meaning, that the center of gravity would be so low on the body that, some of the weight needs to be re-positioned towards the shoulders.

  2. Or the other way round: such that the feet kinda had a tendency to float towards the surface.

The second is your case I guess. You need more weight closer to the lower half of your body in order to balance the center of gravity. Should you be using ankle weights? 2 lb may be?

One quick notes: If you are in wet suit, and if you think that you are concerned that there is air in your booties,ensure the boots are outside (are not tucked inside) the wet suit leg.

Also, rather than investing in ankle weights right away, before you do so, try a dive with very little gas inside your suit. And, Use your BC to maintain neutral buoyancy. Actually you can practice diving with a minimum of gas inside your dry-suit, It may cause the floaty-feet problem to be solved.

Or another quick solution to try can be: A pair of Aqualung jet fins. I have heard a friend who had resolved the issue with that. But I personally believe more in classic-style to resolve such an issue rather than finding a work-around solution.

P.S.: The re-positioning of the weight should be such that you don't also start experiencing the first problem noted above.

  • Isn't there a problem with putting weights on your ankles making it harder/more effort to swim? Also, does that explain why it's only happening during the safety stop, and not at depth?
    – Gagravarr
    Jan 3, 2014 at 11:48
  • 1
    @Gagravarr: Isn't there a problem with putting weights on your ankles making it harder/more effort to swim? You may want to refer to P.S. Note part of the answer, and also the Also, rather than investing..... part of it.
    – WedaPashi
    Jan 7, 2014 at 4:59
  • @Gagravarr: And, with reference to does that explain why it's only happening during the safety stop, and not at depth?, refer to first paragraph of the answer. I had this problem that reflected in a manner that I had to constantly fight to not to roll, you may have been experience any of such a symptoms over that long time and didn't realize what go wrong, and just fight it or may have developed own ways to ensure that those dont trouble you any longer...
    – WedaPashi
    Jan 7, 2014 at 10:40

Ankle weights may only be a solution for beginner divers. The fact that your feet may be floating is not a real problem, the problem is when your whole leg floats as this causes a feet up head down profile which is bad. (Especially when diving in a dry suit)

To get your feet down get yourself a pair of heavier (less buoyant) fins (jet fins tend to be heavier and favored by tec divers), you could also use thinner wet suit boots. Another option that helps is to practice leg muscles and use them to keep legs down, the larger and heavier the leg muscles the less chance of floating, also look at moving weight belt lower on your body. It is all about in water TRIM.

If you look at technical divers you will see that most of us have our feet up on purpose. Especially when penetrating areas with silt deposits as we do not want to kick up the silt. (bend knees and have feet higher than legs)

As I stated before floating feet are only really an issue when your feet float up and your head down and this you most likely could correct by moving the weight belt lower on your body and moving your cylinder down as well. It is amazing what you can do to your profile by distributing the weight differently across your body.

In a dry suit you could use straps to help keep air from going in your legs and boots.

If you still have problems seek a divemaster or instructor, especially one that has technical diving experience, and ask them to help you with this. If they say buy ankle weights you may want to look for someone else.

Remember it will take you up to 20 dives to get your weighting and trim correct. Please practice improving your diving position (trim) on each dive until it becomes natural and comfortable. PRACTICE DOES NOT MAKE PERFECT! Practice forms habit. PERFECT PRACTICE FORMS PERFECT HABIT!

In the words of Dory: "Just keep swimming"

  • Could you please be more specific about: "remember feet floating is not a problem, when your whole leg floats then you have a problem." ??
    – WedaPashi
    Aug 6, 2014 at 12:39
  • Also there's the possibility that the cylinder(s) needs to be re-positioned for optimum trim. Depends on the cylinder material: steel is negative, so slide the cylinder down a bit; aluminium is positively buoyant, particularly at the end of a dive when nearly empty, so it could need moving up a bit.
    – GlennG
    Mar 3, 2017 at 10:49

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