Scuba Underwater Records: The Best of the Best 

Have you, as a diver, wondered what the best of our community can do? From breath-hold diving to the deepest scuba dive, how exactly have our fellow divers pushed their limits? 

This article delves into the depths of human endurance and ingenuity, presenting current records in breath-holding and scuba diving. From the champions that made the records to the innovative gear that make it all happen, we’ll look at them all! 

person in Scuba Diving Gear Sitting on a Boat Holding a Yellow Hose

Key Takeaways

  • Divers are crushing it with breathtaking underwater world records, like Budimir Šobat’s 24-minute breath-hold and Ahmed Gabr’s 332.35-meter scuba dive.
  • The Indonesian Women’s Association (WASI) set a group dive record with 3,131 divers, showcasing the power of community in diving.
  • Innovative gear like advanced fins and BCDs, alongside rigorous mental and physical preparation, are key to divers’ record-smashing success.

Recent Underwater World Records

Recent underwater world records not only illustrate the remarkable feats of individual divers but also highlight the advancements in diving technology and techniques that have made these accomplishments possible.

Each of these records symbolizes a remarkable achievement, embodying human endurance and victory over the challenges of staying underwater.

Longest Breath-Hold Dive 

man in red suit holding breath underwater with diving line

Breathing is so instinctive to us that we seldom give thought to the life-sustaining process of breathing. But for freedivers like Budimir Šobat and Karoline Meyer, breath control is an art and science, mastered and refined to achieve extraordinary feats. 

The ability to hold their breath underwater for extended periods is crucial in their pursuit of the record for the longest time breath held underwater, a testament to their incredible human endurance and dedication to training.

In 2021, Budimir Šobat held his breath for an astounding 24 minutes and 37.36 seconds, setting a new record in the male category. In contrast, Karoline Meyer has been the female record holder since 2009, with an impressive 18 minutes and 32.59 seconds breath hold. 

Attaining such records calls for both physical resilience and mental fortitude, shaped by years of intensive training and unwavering commitment.

Deepest Scuba Dives

Deep sea diving adventure

While some divers test the limits of breath-holding, others delve into the abyss, stretching the depth boundaries. In this realm of extreme pressure and darkness, divers like Ahmed Gabr and Karen Van Den Oever have set records for the deepest scuba dive, demonstrating human capability and the resilience of the diving spirit.

Ahmed Gabr’s record dive reached an astonishing 332.35 meters in the Red Sea, a journey that required a 15-minute descent and 13 hours of decompression for safe resurfacing. Meanwhile, Karen Van Den Oever achieved a depth of 246.56 meters in the Boesmansgat cave. 

Each of these records represents not just an individual’s triumph over the depths but also the advances in diving technology that have made such feats possible.

Longest Open Water Scuba Dives

Scuba diver exploring the ocean

In the realm of marathon diving, Saddam Killany and Cristi Quill have etched their names in the annals of history. They hold the records for the longest open water SCUBA dives, their feats standing as monuments to their passion and commitment.

Saddam Killany remained submerged for an astounding 145 hours, 25 minutes, and 25 seconds in saltwater. On the other hand, Cristi Quill holds the record for women with her 51-hour and 25-minute dive. Their record-breaking dives highlight their steadfast dedication to the sport and their causes, demonstrating the power of passion and perseverance.

Longest Dive in a Controlled Environment 

While open water records are impressive, divers also push their limits in enclosed environments. Here, the challenges differ, but the dedication and endurance required remain the same. Turkish diver Cem Karabay holds the record for the longest dive in a controlled, enclosed environment, offering a different perspective on the boundaries of human resilience.

Karabay’s record dive lasted a staggering 192 hours, 19 minutes, and 19 seconds. 

Such a feat isn’t accomplished alone. A 20-person team supported Karabay, exchanging his air cylinders, delivering meals, and providing massages, underscoring the importance of teamwork and logistical support in achieving extreme feats.

Man Underwater with light and gopro

Largest Group of Divers 

It’s more fun diving in a  group, and diving isn’t solely a solo thing! Group diving records showcase how divers can unite to accomplish extraordinary feats, whether it’s orchestrating a mass dive or forming an underwater human chain.

The Guinness World Record for the most people scuba diving simultaneously was achieved by the Indonesia Women’s Association (WASI). On August 3, 2019, in Manado, North Sulawesi, Indonesia, a remarkable total of 3,131 divers gathered for this simultaneous underwater venture, a testament to the power of unity in the diving community.

Group of Divers Under the Sea

Largest Underwater Classroom

In the realm of group diving, we also find records that combine education and teamwork. The Indonesian Navy holds the record for the largest scuba diving lesson, demonstrating the power of education in the underwater world.

On August 16, 2009, at Malalayang Beach in Manado, Indonesia, a scuba diving lesson attended by 2,465 participants set a new world record, surpassing the previous world record. This record-setting event showcases how education and teamwork can come together to accomplish remarkable feats in the diving community.

View of People in a Crowd Taking a Selfie on the Background of Mountains

Longest Underwater Human Chain 

In another impressive display of unity, the Indonesian Women’s Association (WASI) organized a record-breaking underwater human chain. On August 1, 2019, in Manado, Indonesia, a total of 578 divers joined hands, setting the world record for the longest underwater human chain.

This record-breaking dive not only showcases the power of unity in achieving extraordinary feats but also underscores how divers can come together for a common cause, further strengthening the bonds within the diving community.

scuba diving chain of people side by side underwater holding a line

Deepest Pool and Its Purpose

In the world of diving, innovation plays a crucial role in enhancing training and safety. Deep Dive Dubai, the world’s deepest swimming pool for diving, is one such innovation that aids divers in training and exploration.

Reaching a depth of 60 meters (196 feet), Deep Dive Dubai offers a safe and controlled environment for divers. The pool features an underwater sunken city for divers to explore, providing a unique training ground for divers to hone their skills and push their limits.

Most Countries Dived In

Diving isn’t just about depth and duration; it’s also about exploration and adventure. Karin Sinniger holds the record for scuba diving in the most number of countries. Her passion for exploration has led her to dive in an incredible 180 countries across 1,500 dives. 

From altitude diving in Switzerland to diving with the Bolivian Navy on Lake Titicaca, Sinniger’s scuba diving adventures showcase the diverse challenges she has conquered. Her record stands as a testament to her passion for exploration and the adventurous spirit inherent in the diving community.

The Gear Behind the Glory

Supporting every record-breaking dive is a range of indispensable scuba gear. From fins and buoyancy control devices (BCDs) to GoPro cameras, each piece of gear plays a critical role in supporting divers as they reach new depths and time durations.

This gear not only enhances a diver’s capabilities but also ensures their safety during dives. A closer look at the gear used in record-breaking dives reveals the crucial role technology plays in helping divers achieve and surpass their goals.


While all diving gear is essential, fins hold a special place in a diver’s kit. They provide divers with the propulsion needed to move efficiently and control their direction underwater. The evolution of fin design, from vented fins to split fin technology, represents significant breakthroughs in diving technology.

Whether it’s blade fins with their larger surface area aiding in powerful propulsion or split fins allowing for more efficient movement, fins play a pivotal role in helping divers achieve their record-breaking feats.


In deep diving, managing buoyancy is critical. Buoyancy Control Devices (BCDs) play a key role in enabling divers to maintain their desired depth or achieve neutral buoyancy. BCDs come with integrated weights or weight pockets, which can be adjusted to achieve the perfect buoyancy needed for a dive.

BCDs contribute to a diver’s safety by enabling a controlled emergency ascent in case of equipment failure or other emergencies. In deep diving, the ability to fine-tune buoyancy is critical when performing delicate tasks or when precise control is needed to set or break a record.

Training and Techniques for Breaking Records

Apart from the gear and the records, divers immerse themselves in a world of training and techniques to prepare for their record-breaking dives. From mental preparation to specialized breathing techniques and pre-breathing oxygen, divers employ a range of strategies to push their boundaries.

William Trubridge’s training regimen involves a sequence of phases:

  1. Base phase
  2. Build phase
  3. Peak phase
  4. Taper phase

Conducted primarily in a 25-meter pool to mimic underwater motions and specific ocean training as a big dive approaches, Trubridge’s training embodies the dedication and discipline required in the realm of record-breaking dives.

Preparing the Body and Mind

In the pursuit of record-breaking dives, mental preparation plays a crucial role. Divers engage in mental rehearsal and visualization techniques to preemptively experience each detail of the dive. This practice helps cultivate confidence, reduces pre-dive anxiety, and enhances performance.

From visualizing lung expansion to the last breath before a dive, mental preparation allows divers to anticipate how the human body responds to unfolding scenarios. Familiarity with pre-dive scenarios increases comfort levels and aids in mental preparation, contributing to the success of record-breaking dives. 

scuba body mind graphic

Breathing Techniques and Pure Oxygen Use

Breathing, a vital yet often overlooked aspect of diving, can significantly extend underwater time by managing carbon dioxide levels. Specialized breathing techniques and pre-breathing oxygen are employed by divers to push their limits.

Kate Winslet, Sigourney Weaver, and Zoe Saldaña, while filming for ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’, achieved significant underwater breath-holding times, demonstrating the effectiveness of professional breath-hold training. Pre-breathing oxygen before a breath-hold dive can significantly extend underwater time by delaying the onset of involuntary breathing movements, pushing the limits of what’s possible.


The realm of underwater record-breaking stands as an affirmation of human endurance, innovation, and the resilient spirit of divers. From breath-holding and depth challenges to marathon dives and group feats, these records highlight the extraordinary capabilities of divers and the significant role of training, gear, and techniques in their achievements.

As we persist in exploring and mapping new waters, the depths of our oceans may still hold untold thrilling feats.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the longest a person has been underwater?

The longest time a person has been underwater is 73 days 2 hours 34 minutes, as recorded by Guinness World Records

How long can a human hold their breath underwater?

The average human can hold their breath between 30 to 90 seconds before needing to take a breath.

What is the deepest scuba dive ever recorded?

The deepest scuba dive ever recorded for a male was 332.35 meters in the Red Sea, while the female record stands at 246.56 meters in the Boesmansgat cave. 

What kind of gear is essential for a diver?

Essential gear for a diver includes fins, booties if needed, mask, regulator, BCD, and wetsuit if needed.

What is the world’s deepest swimming pool for diving?

The world’s deepest swimming pool for diving is Deep Dive Dubai, reaching an incredible depth of 60 meters (196 feet).

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