Octopus Breathing – Sharing Air Using an Octopus Regulator


Scuba diving is a fascinating underwater activity that allows divers to explore and observe the marine environment up close. Proper equipment and training are essential for a safe and enjoyable diving experience. One critical component of scuba gear is the octopus regulator, which facilitates octopus breathing—a technique for sharing air underwater. This entry delves into the concept of octopus breathing, the design and function of octopus regulators, and the importance of this technique in emergency situations.

Octopus Breathing

Octopus breathing is a vital safety technique used in scuba diving, allowing two divers to share air from a single air source. This method is primarily used in emergency situations, such as when one diver has run out of air or experiences a malfunction with their equipment. Octopus breathing ensures that both divers can safely ascend to the surface without risking decompression sickness or other complications that may arise from a rapid ascent.

The Octopus Regulator

A crucial component for octopus breathing is the octopus regulator. This device is a secondary demand valve that is part of a scuba diver’s regulator system, which is responsible for reducing the high-pressure air from the diving cylinder to a breathable pressure. The octopus regulator is typically attached to a longer hose—usually around 36 inches (91 cm) or more—to make it easier for divers to share air.

In most configurations, the octopus regulator is a brightly colored yellow or orange, ensuring its easy identification in low visibility conditions or during moments of stress. Additionally, the mouthpiece is often larger and more comfortable, as it may be used by a diver who is not accustomed to the primary regulator.

Function and Use

The octopus regulator functions similarly to the primary second-stage regulator. It delivers air to the diver on demand when they inhale, and it vents excess air when they exhale. The main difference between the two regulators is the hose length and color, which facilitate easier sharing and visibility.

To use the octopus regulator, the donor diver (the one providing the air) should continue to use their primary second-stage regulator while offering the octopus regulator to the recipient diver (the one in need of air). The recipient diver should grasp the octopus regulator firmly, purge any water by exhaling or pressing the purge button, and then breathe normally. The two divers should maintain close contact and communicate clearly throughout the process, ensuring that both are comfortable and able to ascend safely to the surface.

Importance of Octopus Breathing in Emergency Situations

Octopus breathing is a crucial technique for scuba divers to master, as it can be the key to survival in emergency situations. By sharing air from a single air source, divers can manage their ascent to the surface in a controlled and safe manner, reducing the risk of decompression sickness and other hazards associated with rapid ascents.

In order to be prepared for such emergencies, divers should receive proper training in octopus breathing, including underwater simulations that mimic real-life scenarios. This training should be reinforced periodically, ensuring that divers remain proficient in this life-saving skill.

It is also essential for divers to regularly check and maintain their equipment, including their octopus regulators. Proper maintenance and care can help prevent malfunctions and ensure that the equipment is ready for use in the event of an emergency.


Octopus breathing is a critical safety technique in scuba diving that enables divers to share air from a single source in emergency situations. The octopus regulator, a secondary demand valve with a longer, brightly colored hose, is the key component in facilitating this life-saving method. By mastering octopus breathing and maintaining their equipment in optimal condition, divers can enjoy a safer and more enjoyable underwater experience.