From harrowing cave dives to the discovery of sunken treasure, it’s time to submerge into the deep blue sea with these facts about scuba diving!
Do you have a thirst for adventure? A desire to discover places never reached before? A calling to interact with the underwater world? Then scuba diving might be the activity for you!
Not only is scuba diving adventurous and pretty badass, it’s also a way to see the world from a perspective so few get to experience. Not to mention the stunning coral, sunken ships and abundant marine life for your eyes only.
With these fun facts about scuba diving we’ll take a trip through the history of the sport, the records you will not believe, and a few off-the-wall scuba diving facts that will truly shock you.
We’ll travel to Belize to the Great Blue Hole… then to Egypt for another Blue Hole. Hey, people are too busy diving and living life to the fullest to come up with any original names!
We’ll learn about the father of scuba diving, the moon jellyfish, and the special occasion to go scuba diving in your birthday suit.
From frogmen to Thistlegorm to galeophobia, we’re about to expand your scuba diving vocabulary! So let’s dive right in and discover even more incredible scuba diving facts.
23 Fun Facts About Scuba Diving
1. What does scuba mean anyway?
Even though we treat it as its own word, SCUBA is actually an acronym of 5 separate words. Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus.
Like LASER, RADAR and SPAM, the word has become so common, the acronym is often forgotten entirely! Plus, scuba is a lot more fun to say.
2. What is the world’s longest dive?
This is a scuba diving record that may never be broken. Egyptian Saddam Killany is the record-holder of the longest uninterrupted scuba dive (excluding swimming pool dives).
He dove for an astonishing 145 hours, 25 minutes, and 25 seconds. Killarney took underwater naps during his record attempt after being strapped to scaffolding to hold his body in place.
3. Who invented scuba diving?
A name synonymous with underwater exploration, Jacques Cousteau is often considered the father of scuba diving. He is credited with the invention of the aqua-lung, the predecessor to the air regulators that divers use today.
Interestingly, Cousteau also invented the shark cage and the first underwater camera!
4. Now that’s a workout!
One of the scuba facts that shocked us was that you burn as many calories scuba diving than exercising on land!
As the body works to regulate temperature underwater it’s burning around 600 calories an hour. The same amount of calories burned running for an hour at 5 mph (8 kph).
5. Magnify the sea
If you’re looking for information on scuba diving for your PADI exam, then this one is for you!
Did you know that everything seen through a scuba diving mask appears 33% larger? Since the dive mask is flat, it refracts light differently, causing that small silver sardine to look like a reef shark!
6. A mixture of gasses
If we asked you what scuba divers breathe from their tanks, most likely your answer would be oxygen. However, pure oxygen would be poisonous to the diver. Instead, the scuba gas mixture contains 21% oxygen and 79% nitrogen.
7. Egyptian record seekers
Another Egyptian holds the record for the deepest dive. In September of 2014, Ahmed Gabr scuba dived to a jaw-dropping 332.35 meters (1,090 feet) off the coast of Dahab in the Red Sea.
Amazingly, it took only 12 minutes to reach the world-record depth, but 15 hours to safely come back up.
8. The sea of diminishing color
Since water is a natural light absorber, the deeper you scuba dive, the less color you’ll be able to see.
Red is the first color to disappear followed by the rest of ROYGBIV. If you bleed deep enough underwater, your blood will appear blue!
9. Bucket list destination
The Great Blue Hole off the coast of Belize is one of the most breathtaking scuba diving spots in the world.
The massive sinkhole, made famous by none other than Jacques Cousteau, is home to many species of unique marine species including midnight parrotfish, butterfly fish and nurse sharks.
10. Explore a sunken ship
The Thistlegorm wreck in the Red Sea is one of the most famous wreck sites for scuba diving. The British army freighter sank in June 1941 carrying WWII supplies to Alexandria, Egypt.
Hit by two German bombs, the Thistlegorm sank fast to the bottom of the sea. Divers can discover well-preserved armored trucks, motorcycles, grenades and anti-tank mines.
11. The science of sound
Did you know that sound travels 5 times faster through water than it does through the air?
Since the speed of sound is so amplified underwater, it’s almost impossible to locate what direction a sound is coming from.
12. Sharks are (usually) harmless
The number one reason people don’t want to try scuba diving is a fear of sharks (galeophobia). But in fact, only 4% of documented shark attacks occur during scuba diving, whereas 90% of attacks occur while swimming or surfing closer to shore.
13. Naughty divers
You’ve probably heard of the mile high club, but how about the 20 meters down club?
That’s right, among the scuba diving community there is a select few who like to take the plunge and live out their mermaid/merman fantasies. We told you we’d be bringing out some of the craziest scuba diving facts!
14. The scuba diving dog
We’re not sure how we feel about this, but apparently you can take your dog scuba diving. Mutley, the scuba diving dog, is the only certified canine scuba diver.
Mutley’s owner developed a $40,000 special scuba suit and trained him in a backyard pool before taking him into the open water.
15. Millions of divers
Since its inception in 1967, PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) has certified over 27 million divers. Annually, they certify close to 1 million new divers. The sport of scuba diving keeps growing with PADI operations in 186 countries!
16. The 100th dive
In a grand scuba diving tradition, the 100th dive is traditionally done completely naked! With nothing on but a tank and a mask, the au natural experience must be quite exhilarating.
Just make sure you’re scuba diving somewhere tropical and warm!
17. The golden rule of scuba diving
If there’s one thing to remember while scuba diving it is this: never hold your breath.
Especially on the ascent. If you’re holding your breath, your lungs and the air inside them expand as the water pressure weakens. With the air having nowhere to escape your lungs will swell and possibly explode.
18. Ancient scuba divers?
Now this is one of the fun facts about scuba diving that’s a little controversial! Some archaeologists believe that the Assyrians were the first to scuba dive all the way back in 700 BC by replenishing their air using a camel’s stomach!
It’s contentious because other historians believe they used the stomach as a flotation device and not to dive.
19. Scuba diving Santas
The annual Santa Scuba Dive is an event that takes place every year in Bulloch Harbor in Dalkey, Ireland.
Divers dressed as Santa descend into the harbor to raise money for local search and rescue charities. Shall we say, “I’m dreaming of a wet Christmas?”
20. Scuba diving saves lives
Scuba divers can be thanked for the miraculous rescue of the Thai soccer team trapped in a flooded cave in 2018. To complete the rescue, two scuba divers guided each boy through narrow passageways.
The boys were hooked up to regulators during the evacuation and had to learn to swim and dive before the rescue.
21. Thank you frogmen
The Navy SEALs are the best known military-trained scuba divers in the world. The rescuers from the Thai cave flooding were SEALs, and so were the divers who welcomed the astronauts from the first moon landing back to Earth in 1969. Colloquially, these underwater experts are known as “frogmen”.
22. The diver’s cemetery
The most dangerous diving site in the world is the Blue Hole. Not the blue hole in Belize we mentioned earlier, but in Egypt.
This is due to a passageway at a depth of 56 meters (184 feet) where divers often get disoriented from lack of nitrogen and keep descending down to their deaths. That’s why it’s recommended that all divers only go down to a depth of 30 meters.
23. A magical experience
The best place to scuba dive with jellyfish is Prince William Sound, Alaska. The clear arctic waters and the huge summer gathering of non-stinging moon jellyfish is a sight to behold.
The jellyfish bloom stretches for hundreds of feet and you may be lucky enough to spot the rare lion’s mane jellyfish among the horde.
We really hope you enjoyed all our facts about scuba diving! Did you learn something new?
If there’s any we missed, you can let us know in the comments below and we’ll add them to this article!