It has always been in the nature of human beings to surpass the existing limits and prove both to themselves and to the whole world that they are the best at their discipline. This instinct led to some amazing scuba diving records that show us that we can always find a way to push forward. Some have successfully achieved their goals while others have lost their lives in the process. Here are the inspiring humans that have set some of the most incredible scuba diving records.
Deepest Scuba Dive
The record holder for both deepest scuba dive and deepest scuba dive in seawater is Ahmed Gabr who dived to a staggering depth of 332.35 meters (1,090 feet 4.5 inches). The Egyptian scuba diving instructor spent four years training for his record-breaking dive. The event took place in the Red Sea of Dahab, Egypt, on September 18, 2014. Gabr dived into the sea – carrying nine tanks – in the morning and surfaced after midnight. While the descent took only 15 minutes, he had to decompress for almost 14 hours on the way back to the surface.
Women’s Deepest Scuba Dive
The women’s world record for the deepest scuba dive is Verna van Schaik who dived to a depth of 221 meters (725 feet) into the Boesmansgat cave in her native South Africa. The event also marked a new women’s record for altitude and cave diving. The dive took place on October 25, 2004, and lasted for more than 5 hours, of which 12 minutes were spent descending.
Highest Altitude Scuba Dive
The world record for the highest altitude scuba dive is held by Hungarian diving instructor Ernő Tósoki. After five years of preparations and two previous attempts, Tósoki dived at the extreme altitude of 6,380 meters above sea level on February 21, 2016. The dive took place on Ojos del Salado, which is the highest volcano on Earth and borders Argentina and Chile. Due to the weather conditions and the health effects of diving at such a high altitude, the dive had to be limited to 10 minutes and a maximum depth of 2 meters (6.6 feet).
Fastest 10 km Scuba Diving
The record holder for the fastest 10 km scuba diving is Faisal Al Mosawi, a disabled scuba diver that wanted to prove that physical limitations do not always prevent one from following their dreams. The Kuwaiti diver trained from three months in pools and one month in the open sea before setting the new record in Hurghada, Egypt, on August 22, 2018. The dive lasted 5 hours and 24 minutes, breaking the previous record held by an able-bodied diver by almost an hour.
Longest Open Saltwater Scuba Dive
The record for the longest open saltwater scuba dive is held by Turkish diver Cem Karabay who was also the previous record holder. Karabay spent 142 hours, 42 minutes, 42 seconds underwater at Yavuz Cikarma Beach, Cyprus, on July 20, 2016. He passed the time – a total of almost six days – by playing underwater chess and football with his support team. Karabay is also the record holder for the record for the longest scuba dive in a controlled environment after spending more than 192 hours in a pool in Istanbul, Turkey.
Women’s Longest Open Saltwater Scuba Dive
The female record holder of the longest open saltwater scuba dive is Cristi Quill from the United States. Quill spent 51 hours and 25 minutes underwater at La Jolla Shores in San Diego, California, on July 11, 2015. She did the dive 5 meters (15 feet) below the surface with the help of a support team that brought her food, drinkable water, and extra tanks.
Note: The record title is also claimed by young Egyptian diver Reem Ashraf, who claims to have stayed underwater for 55 hours. Ashraf was just 14 years old at the time of the dive and her record was presumably refused by the Guinness World Records because of her young age.
Longest Open Freshwater Scuba Dive
The record for the longest open freshwater scuba dive is currently held by Jerry Hall from the United States. Hall dived to a depth of 3.6 meters (12 feet) on a submerged platform in Watauga Lake, Tennessee, where he remained for 120 hours 1 minute 9 seconds. He stayed underwater from August 29 to September 3, 2004, and did not surface at any time. Hall ate and slept regularly and exercised using a stationary bike, and an underwater TV with a DVD player provided the diver with entertainment.
Most People Scuba Diving Simultaneously
The record for the most people scuba diving simultaneously was achieved by Wanita Selam Indonesia organization that gathered 3,131 scuba divers in Manado, North Sulawesi, for a one-of-a-kind dive. Both Indonesian and foreign divers joined in on the initiative on August 3, 2019, and dived simultaneously for 15 minutes. Immediately following the event, a second record attempt took place. The group of divers unfurled a 1,014-square-meter Indonesian flag underwater, thus setting a new record for the largest flag unfurled underwater.
Longest Human Chain Underwater
Two days prior to achieving the world record for the most people scuba diving simultaneously and the largest flag unfurled underwater, the Wanita Selam Indonesia organization also brought together hundreds of divers to break the record for the longest human chain underwater. No less than 578 scuba divers held hands for ten minutes in an underwater chain. The event took place on August 1, 2019, in Manado, North Sulawesi, Indonesia.
Oldest Scuba Diver
The oldest scuba diver in the world is Wallace Raymond Woolley – born in 1923 – a British veteran of WWII and a long-time scuba diver. Woolley completed the record-breaking dive a few days after turning 96 at the Zenobia shipwreck in Larnaca Bay, Cyprus, on August 31, 2019. He stayed at a depth of 42.4 meters (139 feet) for at least 44 minutes and was joined by 47 other divers. Woolley broke his own record, previously achieved when he was 95 years and 4 days old. He is also the main subject of a 2018 documentary entitled Life begins at 90.
These are just some of the many incredible scuba diving records recognized by the Guinness World Records organization. Every year brings new attempts to break the current scuba diving records. It won’t be too long until new staggering figures will take the place of the already impressive accomplishments of the brave men and women in the scuba diving world.