10 diving facts you did not know

By Julius
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Scuba diver watching fish underwater

Scuba diving is not only an amazing sport, but there are also many super interesting diving facts you probably did not know about it!

Read our list of 10 facts about scuba diving you (probably) did not know!

Fact 1: Where does the term SCUBA come from?

The term SCUBA is an abbreviation for: “self-contained underwater breathing apparatus”. It is used for a device that facilitates the inhalation of compressed air (for example from a diving tank) and finally exhalation into the water. We commonly refer to this as scuba gear.

In 1943, French sailor and explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau and fellow French engineer Γ‰mile Gagnan invented the first independent underwater respirator (SCUBA). They called it “Aqualung“.

But what you may not have known yet is that records even suggest that Leonardo da Vinci had already made a design for such a device 300 years before the development of the aqualung.

Da Vince model of Scuba Diver
Model of a diving suit based on drawings by Leonardo da Vinci.

The name aqualung has also given rise to the now well-known brand for diving equipment with the same name.

Check out this super popular Cousteau biography if you are interested in reading more about his explorations underwater.

Fact 2: Diving Records

There are quite a number of diving records that people have achieved. Here are some of them:

The longest dive

The longest scuba dive lasted 145 hours, 25 minutes, and 25 seconds. It was completed by the Egyptian Saddam Killany on November 11, 2020, in Dahab, Egypt.

It took Saddam over 3 years to plan his record attempt. He used the time to train and change the design of his drysuit to be more flexible.

The deepest dives: Man, woman, dog

The deepest dive by a man was made by another Egyptian Ahmed Gabr who dived to a depth of 332.35m in the Red Sea off Dahab, Egypt on September 18, 2014.

However, as of 2021, this claim has been disputed by many experts in the field.

The deepest dive by a woman was 236.04m and was achieved by South African Karen van den Oever on March 26, 2021, in the Boesmansgat Cave in the North Cape in South Africa.

You can find more diving records set by women in my women and scuba diving article.

Dwane Folsom from the USA regularly goes diving with his dog Shadow off the coast of Grand Cayman Island. The maximum depth to which the two dive is about 4 meters (~12 feet).

Most jump ropes underwater

Most underwater rope jumps in one hour on scuba gear are 1608, which Ashrita Furman (USA) completed on March 15, 2012, in the Aquario de Sao Paulo in San Paulo, Brazil. Each jump counted was a full 360-degree turn.

The largest diving course

The largest diving course with 2,465 participants was held on August 16, 2009, on Malalayang Beach in Manado, Indonesia during an event organized by the Indonesian Navy.

During the diving course, some basic diving techniques such as blowing out the mask were practiced at a depth of about 10 meters.

More diving records

Check out all current diving records if you want to see more and even crazier records!

If you are a freediver, you will like my post on freediving records.

Fact 3: Diving – An Extreme Sport?

Although diving is considered a high-risk sport, there is only one death per 211864 dives according to DAN.

While official statistics on diving injuries cite barotraumatic injuries as the number one diving-related injury, in reality, broken fingers or broken noses are the most common injuries.

So be extra careful if someone climbs the ladder back into the boat in front of you and if you are carrying your equipment ashore!

If you don’t have good dive insurance yet, now is the time to get it!

DAN flag at beach
Good dive insurance is still an invaluable asset.

Fact 4: Better underwater than in the gym!

Many do not refer to diving as a “sport”. But in fact, your body burns more calories per minute than with many other activities. The average diver can burn up to 600 calories an hour.

This is mainly due to the loss of heat underwater and the great effort the body makes to maintain its temperature.

Scuba divers underwater on vespa
If only we could always move around like that underwater.

If you want to know how many calories you will burn on your next dive, check out my FREE scuba diving burned calories calculator!

Scuba diving trip packing list

Fact 5: Beware of coconuts!

The most common reason people don’t want to go diving is because of a fear of sharks. Actually, coconuts or humans are more dangerous than sharks in comparison.

Coconuts kill an average of 150 people a year, while sharks only kill 8-12. On the other hand, humans kill 30 million sharks a year.

Fact 6: Only 4% of the oceans can be dived in

If you could dive all the spots in the world within the limits of recreational diving (40 m), you would only be able to dive in roughly 4% of the oceans.

Fact 7: Nemo is transsexual

The artistic team behind “Finding Nemo” – one of the most successful and memorable Pixar animated films – left nothing to chance. They took diving courses in oceanography, marine biology, and more to better understand marine life.

Nevertheless, strictly speaking, they did not correctly portray one important detail: Clownfish are all transsexual.

In a group of initially sexless young animals, at some point, the largest fish in the group forms a pair with the smallest. The two then set themselves apart from the others.

Once an anemone is found to inhabit, the larger fish will develop into a female and the smaller one into a male.

Clown fish in anemone
Clownfish like to relax in anemones.

However, if the female is eaten by a predatory fish, like Nemo’s mother in the movie, Nemo’s father could become the female in search of a new partner. The not yet sexually mature Nemo would then become a male.

But it never goes the other way around, always only from male to female.

Fact 8: Spit helps!

Spitting into your mask before the dive will prevent the mask from fogging up. This is because the surface of the spit is too smooth for the condensed vapor that fogs up your mask to cling to.

Alternatively, you can use soap or detergent. Or an extra anti-fog agent.

Fact 9: Noise underwater

Sound moves five times faster underwater than in air. This makes it almost impossible to determine where a sound is coming from. On land, we rely on the time difference in which a sound hits the right and left ear.

Fact 10: The 20 Meter Club

Did you know that there is a “20-meter club“? It is the diving equivalent of the “Mile High” or “10,000 Meter Club“.

Have fun searching for this one online. πŸ˜„


These were 10 facts about scuba diving you probably did not know before!

Do you have an unbelievable fact for us? If so, share it in the comments!

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About the author

Hey! I'm Julius, professional scuba instructor, diver, outdoor lover, entrepreneur and CEO and founder of Social Diving. I write about scuba diving (including tech, cave, sidemount, and freediving), travel, and love what I do. If you have any questions, send me a message. :-)

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Social Diving is your #1 online source for scuba diving, scuba travel, water sports, learning, and having fun in and under water. We have scuba online articles, review plenty of (scuba) gear, and regularly post travel guides around the world.



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