With over 6 million active divers in the world, SCUBA diving is one of the world’s favourite leisure activities. If you’re new to this fantastic sport or are considering trying, here are 15 interesting facts about SCUBA diving:
SCUBA is an acronym, and stands for ‘Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus’.
It was in 1942 that Jacques Cousteau and his partner Émile Gagnan designed the first successful valve system to supply divers with compressed air, known as the Aqua-Lung.Today this is known as an open circuit system.
The air SCUBA divers breathe is a mixture of compressed gases. Typically, 21% oxygen and 79% nitrogen.
Surprisingly, oxygen becomes toxic on dives deeper than 42 meters. Commercial and technical divers use a special mixture of oxygen, helium and nitrogen (Trimix) during the deep phases of dives.
Nitrogen narcosis, also known as ‘narks’ is a symptom that occurs to divers at depths of over 30 meters. The increased pressure alters the state of the oxygen and nitrogen and breathing these gasses can make a person feel uncomfortably drunk and at worst, fall in to a coma and die.
Divers need to be certified to breathe these other gas mixes, called Nitrox and Trimix.
Want to buy all the right diving gear? You’ll need a wetsuit, fins, a mask, weights, a regulator and octopus (a backup regulator) a tank and a BCD. You can usually rent all of this from any good dive shop.
The limit for recreational SCUBA divers is 30 meters (100 ft). Advanced recreational diving limits are set at 40 meters (130ft).
The Guinness World Record for the deepest SCUBA dive ever is held by Egyptian, Ahmed Gabr. He dived to a mind-blowing 332.35 meters in the Red Sea!
There are lots of new acronyms to learn , including “BCD” (Buoyancy Control Device), “SMB” (Surface Marker Buoy), “SPG” (Submersible Pressure Gauge)… And lots, lots more!
PADI stands for Professional Association of Diving Instructors, and is one of the worlds best known recreational diving associations that teach safe SCUBA diving techniques.
After the PADI Open Water Diver course, the most popular speciality is Underwater Photographer.
Once you dive past a depth more than 10 meters, natural light has absorbed to the point that red and yellow colours are no longer visible. If you’re taking pictures, you’ll need an underwater torch or a red filter for your camera.
Coral reefs support more marine life than any other environment.