Underwater World Records

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Have you ever wondered how deep a (properly-trained) diver could go? Or how far someone could swim in one breath? Read on to learn about some of the most amazing achievements in diving.

Longest Underwater Swim on One Breath – Male (2016)

In 2016, Venezuelan and PADI AmbassaDiver Carlos Coste set the record for the world’s longest open water swim on one breath. Using fins, Coste swam 580 feet (177 meters) in three minutes and five seconds, breaking his previous record-setting distance of 492 feet (150 meters) set in 2010. View the record-setting event from Kralendijk, Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles:

 

Longest Underwater Swim on One Breath – Female (2016)
The longest open water swim on one breath (using fins) by a female is 505 feet (154 meters). Marina Kazankova set the record in Bonaire on 9 September 2016. She was reportedly dressed as a mermaid.

Deepest Pool (2014)
When “Deep Joy” Y-40 opened in 2014, it surpassed Nemo 33 as the world’s deepest diving pool. Located in the Hotel Terme Millepini in Padua, Italy, Y-40 is 131 feet (40 meters) deep. It includes underwater caves, platforms at various depths, and a viewing tunnel for non-divers. In 2017, freediver Guillaume Néry performed a single breath-hold dive to the very bottom of the pool.

Deepest Scuba Dive – Male (2014)
PADI® Instructor Ahmed Gabr holds the world record for deepest scuba dive. Gabr trained for four years before the attempt, which culminated in a dive to 1090 feet (332 meters). “I wanted to satisfy my curiosity of how deep the human body can go, I was researching in books and on the internet but still never had the absolute answer so I figured out the best way to find the answer is to try it myself,” said Gabr.

The descent took 14 minutes, but Gabr’s return trip took just under 14 hours. He added, “I had a baby oceanic white tip shark as company for 6 hours, I think he wanted to say congratulations.”

The previous world record was set in 2005, Nuno Gomes of South Africa dove to 1044 feet (318 meters).

PADI® Instructor Ahmed Gabr deepest dive ever

Read an interview with Ahmed Gabr on PADI’s Tec Rec blog.

Deepest Dive Female Freshwater (2004) and Saltwater (2015)
Verna van Schaik (South Africa) holds the world record for deepest female scuba dive. In 2004, she dived to 725 feet (221 meters) in a freshwater cave in South Africa. Her descent took approximately 12 minutes, while the ascent took five hours and 22 minutes.

PADI OWSI Ina Dimitrova set the female world record for deepest saltwater scuba dive in 2015. She descended to 659 feet (201 meters) in five minutes and forty seconds. Her return trip took approximately five hours.

Longest Underwater Live Broadcast (2017)
The world’s longest live broadcast underwater took place in May 2017 at The Atlantis Hotel aquarium. According to Gulf News, the English-language radio station Channel 4 broadcast underwater for nearly five and a half hours.

Scuba Diving in 115 Countries (2013)

PADI Pro Karin Sinniger dove her way into the record books in February 2013 alongside an ocean-swimming elephant. Her underwater experience took place in India, the 115th country where she had logged a dive.

PADI Pro Karin Sinniger


Most Days Living Underwater (2014)

Roane State biology professor Bruce Cantrell and adjunct professor Jessica Fain lived underwater for 73 days and two hours in Jules’ Undersea Lodge. This set the world record for living in a fixed underwater habitat. During their stay, the scientists hosted a series of weekly videos called Classroom Under the Sea (view the episode archives on YouTube).

Longest Chain of Divers in North America (2017)
Dixie Divers, a PADI Five Star IDC Center, holds the North American record for the longest underwater chain of scuba divers (240) and in 2018, they’re going for a world record attempt.

Each year, Dixie Divers hosts a massive underwater clean up event. In 2017, more than 500 divers and topside volunteers participated. The world record attempt will take place 16 June 2018 after the annual clean up. The dive shop hopes more than 400 divers will get involved. If you’re interested in participating, follow Dixie Divers on Facebook or sign up for their email newsletter to get event details as the date approaches.

Further Reading:
For some more unusual (and totally unverified) world records, check out recordsetter.com for videos like:

Most bricks karate chopped underwater
Rubix cube solved in fastest time underwater
Most catches juggling three balls underwater

One wonders how many challengers there were for these records?

To extend your personal records for depth or time spent underwater, contact your local PADI Dive Center or Resort and ask about the Deep Diver and Enriched Air Diver specialties. If you’re keen to break Karin Singer’s record for scuba diving in 100+ countries, ask your local PADI dive shop about their upcoming dive trips.