Respiration increases the amount of time that you can spend underwater. Furthermore, it is a kind of enchantment in Minecraft that you can only put on a helmet. You can enchant any kind of helmet with Respiration—even Turtle Shells.
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How the Respiration Enchantment Works
The lowest level of Respiration will grant you another 30 seconds of breath while underwater. However, it will only help if you’re wearing the helmet that has the enchantment.
Effects of the Different Levels of Respiration
There are 3 total levels of the Respiration enchantment, with level 2 adding another 15 seconds onto the base 30 seconds for a total of 45 seconds of extra breath.
Level 3 increases this duration by an additional 15 seconds, for a total of 60 seconds of underwater breathing time.
Chance to Avoid Taking Drowning Damage
Another effect of the Respiration enchantment is that it will provide a chance to avoid taking damage if you run out of breath while underwater. The amount of oxygen that you have remaining is indicated by the bubbles above your hunger meter. When all of these bubbles disappear, you’ll usually begin to take damage from drowning. You’ll take a bit of damage every few seconds until you get some air, which can lead to death.
However, while wearing a helmet enchanted with Respiration, there’s a calculation that the game runs to determine if you will take damage or not. This can be useful if you just need another second or so to reach the surface after diving a bit too deep. It’s recommended to not rely on this trait, as you can still take damage if you get unlucky with the calculation.
About Turtle Shells and Respiration
Normally, when a Turtle Shell is worn on your head, you will naturally get an additional 10 seconds of oxygen while underwater. This effect stacks with that of the Respiration enchantment. As such, you can potentially enchant a Turtle Shell with level 3 Respiration to get a huge 70 seconds of extra breath while underwater.