Scuba divers around the world are continuing to challenge the limits of conventional recreational diving. Thanks to improvements in diving technology, diving equipment and our understanding of the world of SCUBA, dives are becoming deeper, longer and more extreme, allowing for some amazing diving world records to be set.
This article recounts some of the world’s extraordinary SCUBA diving world records.
The world’s deepest scuba dive
The world record for the deepest ever dive using self contained breathing apparatus is held by Pascale Bernabé, a French SCUBA diver, who claims to have reached a depth of 330 metres off the coast of Corsica. He made his descent in just 10 minutes, but took just under 9 hours to safely return to the surface. This dive is actually deeper than the 318-metre dive completed by the Guinness Book of Records deepest diver, Nuno Gomes. Bernabé’s dive was not officially recognised by the organisation, as they have stopped recording deep dives due to the inherent health and safety risks associated with this extreme sport.
The world’s longest saltwater dive
The world record for the longest SCUBA dive in saltwater is held by Johan Beukes, who lasted 82.5 hours underwater in the uShaka Marine World Aquarium in South Africa. Beukes had been an avid diving enthusiast for many years prior to undertaking this feat of endurance.
The world’s longest open freshwater scuba dive
American diver Jerry Hall holds the record for the longest freshwater scuba dive, after he stayed underwater for 71 hours, 39 minutes and 40 seconds in the South Holston Lake in Bristol Tennessee. This scuba diving world record was created in 2002.
The world’s deepest rebreather dive
Dave Shaw broke the world record for the deepest rebreather dive, when he descended to 270 metres at Boesmansgat, South Africa. This one dive, completed in 2004, broke four scuba diving records- deepest rebreather dive; deepest cave rebreather dive; the deepest altitude dive on a rebreather; and the deepest dive running a line. Shaw used a Mk 15.5 with Hammerhead Electronics as his rebreather. The cave’s altitude is 5,085 feet (1,550 m).
The world’s deepest wreck dive
Leigh Cunningham and Mark Andrews hold the world record for the deepest wreck dive, after their descent to 205 metres at the wreck of MV Yolande in December 2005. The pair of British scuba divers were underwater for 205 minutes at this site in the Egyptian Red Sea, and they spent a total of 6 minutes at the deepest part of their dive.
The world’s largest mass SCUBA dive
A total of 2,486 divers set the world record for the largest number of divers involved in one single dive. The incredible scuba dive took place off the coast of North Sulawesi in Indonesia.
The world’s highest dive (altitude diving)
The record for the highest altitude diving was set in 2000 by a team of Russian scuba divers. Andrei Andryushin, Denis Bakin and Maxim Gresko completed a scuba dive at Lake Tilicho in the Anapurna range in Nepal, which lies at an altitude of more than 16,000 feet.
The world’s deepest freedive (diving without SCUBA equipment)
Austrian freediver, Herbert Nitsch set the world record for the deepest freedive, when he reached 214 metres in Greece. This extraordinary achievement confirmed his place as the greatest freediver on the planet.