Diving can be a wonderful and exciting experience, especially when one can reach greater depths with the aid of scuba gear. Before we go on to answer the question of what does scuba stand for, a brief answer to that in the title: without scuba gear, the deepest an average swimmer will reach is around 20 feet.
The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), a ‘deep dive’ is anything deeper than 60 feet. More commonly, experienced free-divers will safely reach 30 to 40 feet when exploring reefs.
How Deep Can You Dive Without Scuba Gear?
How Deep Can a Human Dive Without Scuba Gear?: Without the use of scuba gear, the deepest an average swimmer will reach underwater, is around 20 feet. Having said that, some experienced free-divers are able to safely reach 30 to 40 feet when exploring reefs, whilst the greatest depth reached by anyone in a single breath – without injury – is an incredible 702 feet.
Beyond 60 feet and you will begin to experience difficulties, thanks to the effects of lack of oxygen and increased water pressure This is where scuba diving gear becomes essential if you are to dive to such depths safely. So, what does it stand for? Scuba is an acronym for self-contained underwater breathing apparatus – it really is that simple!
Who Holds the World Record for Freediving?
There have been occasions on which divers have reached great depths without scuba gear. For example, the greatest depth reached by anyone in a single breath – without injury – is an incredible 702 feet, achieved by Herbert Nitsch in 2007.
This was during a supervised professional competition, however, it is not to be attempted by an amateur. To highlight the danger, Nitsch, in fact, exceeded this record by reaching 831 feet deep without oxygen but sustained brain-damaged on the return to the surface.
So, if you want to go scuba diving – and we recommend it as a superb pastime – what else do you need to know?
Understanding Scuba Diving and the BCD
There is a distinction between scuba diving and swimming, and it’s an important one. When you are scuba diving you are held afloat by what is known as a ‘buoyancy control device’ or BCD. This effectively keeps you afloat and at the right depth, even with the weight of the scuba gear that you are also carrying.
Without the BCD, you would not be able to move around easily. You can find out more about how a BCD works and it is strongly recommended that you do. As with all such items, a BCD can sometimes fail – although it is not a common occurrence – and in such a situation you need to know how to get to safety.
If you are a complete beginner at scuba diving, you will be able to find a PADI registered instructor who can give you the first experience in a controlled environment – that of a swimming pool or shallow water – so that you can get used to the strange feeling of breathing underwater, which can, in fact, be somewhat difficult to get to grips with!
Remember, those very deep dives we mentioned earlier are extremes. Although the human body can clearly withstand depths of several hundred feet, the chance of injury at such depths is not to be overlooked.
Take lessons from a PADI instructor and bed yourself in slowly, and you will be able to start scuba diving and grow to enjoy what is a very rewarding sport.