When it comes to breaking world records, our sport offers almost limitless scope for achievement. Here are 10 scuba world records, ranging from the serious to the lighthearted.
Deepest Open-Circuit Scuba Dive
The current record for the deepest dive using an open circuit scuba unit was set earlier this year, by Egyptian Ahmed Gabr. Gabr reached a staggering depth of 332 meters (1,090 feet) on September 18th, 2014, beating South African Nuno Gomes’ existing record by 14.4 meters (47 feet). Gabr’s record-breaking dive took place in the Red Sea, off the coast of Dahab, Egypt. The record for the deepest scuba dive by a woman belongs to Verna van Schaik of South Africa, who reached a depth of 221 meters (725 feet) at Boesmansgat Cave, South Africa, on October 25th, 2004.
Deepest Closed-Circuit Scuba Dive
The record for the deepest dive on a rebreather was also set at Boesmansgat Cave, by Australian David Shaw on October 28th, 2004. Shaw descended to 270 meters (886 feet), and simultaneously broke the records for deepest cave dive on a rebreather, deepest altitude dive on a rebreather, and deepest dive running a line. He completed his dive using a Mk15.5 rebreather with Juergensen Marine Hammerhead electronics, and remained underwater for nine hours and 40 minutes.
Longest Saltwater Scuba Dive
According to Guinness World Records, the record for the longest saltwater scuba dive belongs to a British diver, Sean McGahern. McGahern spent 49 hours and 56 minutes underwater in St George’s Bay, Malta, in October 2013. Although not yet recognized by Guinness, Allen Sherrod claims to have beaten this record with a dive that lasted for 51 hours and four minutes off the coast of Florida on September 20th, 2014. The record for the longest saltwater scuba dive in a controlled environment belongs to Johan Beukes, who spent 82.5 hours underwater in 2004 at uShaka Marine World Aquarium in Durban, South Africa.
Longest Freshwater Scuba Dive
An American diver, Jerry Hall, holds the current record for the longest freshwater dive, having spent 120 hours and one minute submerged on a platform in Watauga Lake, Tennessee in September 2004, longer than five days in total. The record for the longest freshwater dive in a controlled environment belongs to Turkish diver Cem Karabay, who completed a dive that lasted 192 hours and 19 minutes in an Istanbul swimming pool in October 2011.
Most People to Scuba Dive Simultaneously
On August 17th 2009, the world record for the most people to scuba dive simultaneously was set off Malalayang Beach in Indonesia. The record-breaking attempt was organized as part of Indonesia’s efforts to raise the tourism profile of Manado in Sulawesi, and saw 2,486 divers descend together to a depth of approximately 15 meters (50 feet). Once they had congregated on the seafloor, the divers paid their respects to the Indonesian flag, which was unfurled underwater to mark the nation’s 64th Independence Day.
Scuba Dive at the Highest Altitude
According to Guinness World Records, the record for diving at the highest altitude belongs to all those groups that have dived in the lagoon of Licancabur Volcano, on the border of Chile and Bolivia. The lagoon, located in the crater of the volcano, has an altitude of 5,900 meters (19,357 feet), and has been explored several times, in 1982 by a team of divers from the Sea World Research Institute; in 1995 by divers from the Chilean Expedition America team; and in 2006 by a team from SETI Institute/NASA Ames.
Scuba Dives in the Most Countries
In 2013, the World Record Academy recognized Karin Sinniger’s attempt to set a new record for scuba diving in the most countries. Ms. Sinniger, who began her record-breaking attempt in 2005, traveled to an incredible 115 countries to achieve her goal, which was clinched with a dive in the Andaman Islands, India, in February 2013. On her record 115th dive, Ms. Sinniger dived with Rajan, an ocean-swimming elephant left over from the days when these animals were used to move timber from one place to another for the Indian logging industry.
Largest Underwater Wedding
Polish couple Ewa Staronska and Pawel Burkowski hold the record for the largest underwater wedding, held on August 27th, 2011 at the Koparki Diving Base in Jaworzno, Poland. The ceremony was attended by 303 divers, including the priest, Father Pawel Wrobel. Other underwater wedding records include the record for the deepest underwater wedding, held at 130 meters (426 feet) in Thailand on September 30th, 2013, between Hiroyuki Yoshida of Japan, and Sandra Smith of the United States.
Oldest Scuba Diver
The Guinness World Record for the oldest scuba diver from shore belongs to Australian octogenarian Saul Moss, who broke the record on August 1st, 2009, when he completed an unassisted dive from the shores of Bare Island, Australia, at the age of 85 years and 14 days. In 2011, British diver Norman Lancefield was hailed by international media as the oldest scuba diver in the world, although his achievement has not been officially recognized. At 91 years of age, Mr. Lancefield actively participated in his local BSAC branch and continued to dive up until his death in 2015.
Most Scuba-Diving Santas
At Christmas 2014, the record for the most scuba-diving Santas was broken at England’s Vobster Quay, when 175 divers took to the water dressed in white beards and matching red Santa suits. The Vobster Santas have been spreading festive cheer with this event for the past seven years, with last year’s record beating the previous year’s effort by 14 Santas. The event raises money for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, and has earned over £30,000 since its inception.