Neutral buoyancy is what all divers strive for in their personal development. From this point your diving becomes easier. More relaxed and you will find your air consumption will improve as a result of having good buoyancy.
Developing the skill of good buoyancy takes an understanding of both what it is and how it works. Ask divers to explain buoyancy. It is an interesting challenge to give to someone. Knowing that you have the skill does not always mean you can give a simple explanation of it. Being able to put the explanation into words that can be simply understood by the beginner to the experienced diver requires a lot of thought.
Buoyancy is when an object displaces liquid. If the object displaces enough liquid it will float we call that positive buoyancy. An object that sinks is negatively buoyant. When an object neither sinks nor floats it is neutrally bouyant. It is simple but achieving this is not always as simple as it sounds.
One of the best things a new diver can learn is not to fight the water. When you try to force things to happen in the water it affects your buoyancy and control. Staying as still as possible and moving only when you have to move is one of the great secrets to good diving. This creates good habits that will help with your buoyancy development. In turn you need good buoyancy to achieve a lot of things in diving.
Good buoyancy will allow you to get in close to things. It will assist you with better air consumption. If you move less you will not use as much air. Your muscles require lower amounts oxygen to function. Less movement means you will be able to breathe long slow breaths. Your dive will be more relaxed you will enjoy a better dive. All these things are part of having good buoyancy.
Weight can be a contributing factor to getting your buoyancy right. Having to put air in and out of your BCD to control your buoyancy tells you there is a weight problem. Either too much or in some cases to little weight. Divers who try and dive on the lowest possible weight will be working hard at some point during the dive to stay neutrally buoyant. If you are floating up on a safety stop you are under weighted. It is a simple fact you may only need 500 grams more but it will make your dive more comfortable. A 200 bar tank has 2 kilograms of air. When you reach 50 bar you have breathed off 1.5 kilograms of air.
If you struggle to stay at 5 metres this is the result of being under weighted. 500 grams will make little difference to your dive except for being more in control and having good buoyancy.
Buoyancy is a skill that comes with practice. The more you dive the better your skills develop. Working on buoyancy takes time and understanding to achieve good results. At some stage every diver has a point that they suddenly get their buoyancy right. From this point on diving becomes far more exciting and we look for greater challenges in our diving.