Short Version: What determines lung capacity upgrades in GTA: San Andreas?

In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, I'm up to a mission where you need a certain amount of 'swimming skill' in order to start it:

The mission is for the Triads in San Fierro: Woozie wants you to infiltrate a container ship out to sea.

What this means is that I need to gain Lung Capacity.

Unfortunately I haven't unlocked all areas of the map yet, so I can't:

collect all the oysters and unlock 100% Lung capacity from doing so.

So I thought I'd just rig my controller to swim in circles and walk away, and come back in an hour or so, because I thought it was based on distance swam.

However someone mentioned to me that I might actually need to swim underwater and let my oxygen drain out, then rise to the surface to get it back, in order to level up my lung capacity (which sort of makes sense - holding your breath for longer and whatnot).

Now I've tried both for a bit, and although I got lung capacity from going underwater after a while, this could also be because I'd just passed a threshold of "meters swam", and only proves that I could've been too impatient with swimming on the surface.

So, do I gain Lung Capacity simply from swimming, or by going underwater?


It is based on oysters collected and repeated diving.

Whenever the player enters water, a white bar denoting the player's oxygen appears on the game's HUD, beneath the Health and Armor bars. When underwater or in a sinking vehicle, the bar will gradually empty; when exhausted, the player's health will be reduced instead, leading to eventual drowning. The oxygen bar is replenished by returning to the surface of the water. The player's lung capacity determines how long the player can stay underwater, and is improved both by continuously diving and by collecting Oysters. The player can tread water and swim on the surface of the water indefinitely.

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  • Yeah, I did this recently and you have to dive. – Shinrai Jan 16 '13 at 16:53

As mentioned before, you will gain Lung Capacity by swimming underwater and by collecting Oysters.

About the matter with the mission, you can solve it by doing this: swim underwater (coming to surface to breath, of course) from that beach in the extreme southwest of San Andreas to San Fierro. It will get you 5 increments of Lung Capacity. That's all you need to start that mission. Of course you can swim underwater in any place you want, the track I suggested is just to give you a reference to know how much will take to get it. The point is that you need 5 increments of Lung Capacity.

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  • +1, You've both answered portions of my answer, but AlanB's answer covers the blanket "How is Lung Capacity Calculated?" – Robotnik Jan 15 '13 at 21:45

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