When you look back over the history of scuba diving, we’ve come a long long way. However, these advancements in our beloved sport can only be the result of certain exceptional individuals pushing the boundaries of scuba. Here’s a list of 10 scuba diving world records, starting at the most impressive and dangerous and ending with some of the silliest. Enjoy the read and, who knows, maybe you’ll next to enter the scuba diving hall of fame!
The World’s Deepest Dive (Open Circuit)
On September 18th 2014, an Egyptian man by the name of Ahmed Gabr went down as far as 332 metres, breaking the record for the world’s deepest ever dive where the diver made use of a regulator and cylinder (open circuit). The previous record holder was a South African man by the name of Nuno Gomes, who had reached a depth of 317.6 metres, 14.4 metres shallower than Gabr. The world’s deepest dive occurred in the stunning Red Sea, right off the Egyptian Dahab coast. For women, the deepest dive record is held by a South African woman, Verna van Schaik, who went down a staggering 221 metres. This record-breaking event took place at Boesmansgat Cave in South Africa in 2004.
The World’s Deepest Dive (Closed Circuit)
It’s not very often that you hear of two world records being broken at the same dive site, but this is the case for the world’s deepest dive making use of a rebreather advice, which also occurred at Boesmansgat Cave in South Africa. Australian-born David Shaw has been the holder of this record since 2004 after he descended a whopping 270 metres. What’s more, Shaw broke a few other world records at the same time. These included the record for the dive at the deepest ever altitude whilst making use of a rebreather, the deepest dive making use of a line and the deepest cave dive whilst using a rebreather. The rebreather Shaw used was an Mk15.5 with electronics from Juergensen Marine Hammerhead, allowing him to stay underwater for over 9 intense hours.
The World’s Longest Dive (Saltwater)
A British man named Sean McGahern holds the official Guinness World Record for the world’s longest dive done in salt water. McGahern spent just 4 minutes short of 50 hours underwater in the waters of St George’s Bay in Malta back in 2013, earning him a place in the Guinness Book of World Records with a time of 49 hours, 56 minutes. There are claims that McGahern’s record has since been beaten by Allen Sherrod when he spent a total of 51 hours 4 minutes under the water in Florida in 2014. Unfortunately for him, Sherrod’s record has yet to be made official by Guinness. In order to beat the world’s longest dive within a controlled saltwater environment, a South African diver spent a total of 82 and a half hours underwater at uShaka Marine World, a world-class aquarium located on the coast of Durban in South Africa. Johan Beukes has held this record since 2004.
The World’s Longest Dive (Freshwater)
The record for the world’s longest ever dive in freshwater is help by an American scuba diver, Jerry Hall. In 2004, Hall spent more than 5 days underwater in Watauga Lake in the southern state of Tennessee, a grand total of 120 hours and 1 minute. The longest ever controlled freshwater dive occurred in a swimming pool in Istanbul back in 2011. Cem Karabay from Turkey submerged for a staggering 192 hours, 19 minutes, breaking the existing world record and earning himself a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.
The World’s Largest Simultaneous Dive
To break this particular world record is no simple task, as the coordinating of 2486 divers can be quite a complicated ordeal. Originally organized with the view to raise Manado’s tourism profile, the record-smashing dive saw these 2486 divers reach an approximate depth of 15 metres in the waters off Malalayang Beach. Once the entire group reached the sea floor, an Indonesian flag was put on display under the water in commemoration of Indonesia’s independence 64 years ago. After respects were paid to the flag, the divers re-emerged with the knowledge that they had just been a part of a record-breaking event and will forever be able to say that they were part of the world’s largest simultaneous dive.
The World’s Highest Altitude Dive
Licancabur Volcano, which lies right on the boundary line between Bolivia and Chile, is the site for the dive spot with the highest known altitude. A number of research diving teams have explored the lagoon that lies in the volcano’s crater, meaning that this world record is shared by a number of researchers. The lagoon is located at 5900 metres and was first explored in the early eighties by researchers from the world-famous Sea World Institute. The next record holders were from Chile, a team from Expedition America dived the site in 1995. The most recent divers visited in 2006 and were from NASA Ames/SETI Institute.
The Record for the Most Dives In The Greatest Number of Countries
To set an innovative world record for diving in the greatest number of countries, Karin Sinniger travelled to a whopping 115 countries between 2005 and 2013. With one dive in each country, Sinniger ended her world-record attempt in India’s Andaman Islands where she was able to dive with a swimming elephant named Rajan. Rajan, like many other elephants in India, were once used by the logging industry to move heavy pieces of timber around.
The World’s Biggest Wedding Held Underwater
Imagine tying the knot amongst hundreds of bubbles caused by all your scuba diving friends! For one scuba-crazy couple from Poland, this crazy dream became a reality on August 27th 2011. On this day, Pawel Burkowski and Ewa Staronska said their vows in front of 303 divers (not to mention the scuba diving priest) at Jaworzno’s diving base.
Keeping with the theme of crazy underwater weddings, one couple now holds the world record title for the world’s deepest wedding underwater at a staggering 130 metres below the water’s surface. The love-crazy divers, one Sandra Smith from the US and Hiroyuki Yoshida from Japan, had their wedding in the warm waters of Thailand in September 2013.
The World’s Oldest Diver
Unofficially, a diver from the UK is considered the world’s oldest diver. A man named Norman Lancefield, aged 91, was an active participant and member of his local area’s Sub-Aqua Club, and he was diving right up until his unfortunate death in 2015. The official world record, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, is held by an Australian diver called Saul Moss, who completed a shore dive from Bare Island at age 85. The octogenarian completed the shore dive totally unaided and became the world record holder on August 1st 2009.
The World’s Largest Group of Diving Santas
At Christmas time in 2014, a group of 175 jolly divers entered the water at Vobster Quay in England, all wearing matching Santa suits and beards. This festive group of fellows have consecutively been breaking their own record for over 7 years now, with 2014’s record topping the previous years’ count by 14 red Santas. This event spreads more than just the festive spirit, however, as it has managed to raise over £30 000 for the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) in just 7 years.