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Scuba diving

Scuba diving

Underwater diving using breathing apparatus

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The current (2017) scuba depth record is held by Ahmed Gabr of Egypt who reached a depth of 332.35 metres (1,090.4 ft) in the Red Sea in 2014,[128][129] however this record is under investigation due to evidence presented in 2020 suggesting it was faked.[130] In which case the record would revert to 318m set by Nuno Gomes in 2005.[131]

The record for cave penetration (horizontal distance from a known free surface) is held by Jon Bernot and Charlie Roberson of Gainesville, Florida, with a distance of 26,930 feet (8,210 m).[132]

Jarrod Jablonski and Casey McKinlay completed a traverse from Turner Sink to Wakulla Springs, on 15 December 2007, covering a distance of nearly 36,000 feet (11 km).[133] This traverse took approximately 7 hours, followed by 14 hours of decompression,[134] and set the record as the longest cave diving traverse.[133][135]

The current record for the longest continuous submergence using SCUBA gear was set by Mike Stevens of Birmingham, England at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, during the annual National Boat, Caravan and Leisure Show between 14 February and 23 February 1986. He was continuously submerged for 212.5 hours. The record was ratified by the Guinness Book of Records.[136]

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Records

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International Diving Schools Association (IDSA) provides a Table of Equivalence of various national commercial diver training standards.[127]

Military scuba training is usually provided by the armed force's internal diver training facilities, to their specific requirements and standards, and generally involves basic scuba training, specific training related to the equipment used by the unit, and associated skills related to the particular unit. The general scope of requirements is generally similar to that for commercial divers, though standards of fitness and assessment may differ considerably.[1]

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Administrative procedures relating to statutory requirements, employment conditions, health and safety at the workplace, and the basic theoretical grounding in physics, physiology and medicine that are relevant to their work as a diver.

The skills required for routine diving operations, including working as part of the diving team, planning of diving operations, and diving in open water, exposed to the normal hazards of the diving environment, decompression procedures, serving as attendant to another diver, communications and the safe use of the tools appropriate to the work.

The skills in emergency procedures for management of reasonably foreseeable emergencies, including standby diver skills for diver assistance and rescue, management of emergencies unaided where appropriate, and team procedures for handling emergencies.

Preparation of diving and task-related equipment for use

Provision of first aid and basic life support procedures in a diving emergency, and assistance, under supervision, in the treatment of diving disorders

Competence to assist under supervision with chamber operations, including acting as inside attendant to an afflicted diver.

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An example of a widely accepted training standard – EDTC 2017 Commercial SCUBA Diver – requires the professional scuba diver to be certified as medically fit to dive, and competent in skills covering the scope of:[126]: 8–9 

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The following countries and organisations are members of the European Diving Technology committee, which publishes minimum standards for commercial diver training and competence accepted by these and some other countries through membership of the IDRCF and IDSA: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Romania, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Slovak republic, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA), International Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP), International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF), International Diving Schools Association (IDSA), European Underwater Federation, and International Diving Regulators and Certifiers Forum (IDRCF).[126]: 2  These standards include Commercial SCUBA Diver.[126]: 8 

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It is fairly common for a national standard for commercial diver training and registration to apply within a country. These standards may be set by national government departments and empowered by national legislation, for example, in the case of the United Kingdom, where the standards are set by the Health and Safety Executive,[43] and South Africa where they are published by the Department of Labour.[73] Many national training standards and the associated diver registrations are recognised internationally among the countries which are members of the International Diving Regulators and Certifiers Forum (IDRCF). A similar arrangement exists for state-legislated standards, as in the case of Canada and Australia.[113] Registration of professional divers trained to these standards may be directly administered by government, as in the case of South Africa, where diver registration is done by the Department of Labour,[73] or by an approved external agent, as in the case of the Australian Diver Accreditation Scheme (ADAS)[125]

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Professional

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The initial open water training for a person who is medically fit to dive and a reasonably competent swimmer is relatively short. Many dive shops in popular holiday locations offer courses intended to teach a novice to dive in a few days, which can be combined with diving on the vacation.[116] Other instructors and dive schools will provide more thorough training, which generally takes longer.[118] Dive operators, dive shops, and cylinder filling stations may refuse to allow uncertified people to dive with them, hire diving equipment or have their diving cylinders filled. This may be an agency standard, company policy, or specified by legislation.[124]

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The International Organization for Standardization has approved six recreational diving standards that may be implemented worldwide, and some of the standards developed by the World Recreational Scuba Training Council are consistent with the applicable ISO Standards,[75][121][6] as are equivalent standards published by the Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques and the European Underwater Federation[122][123]

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Many organizations exist, throughout the world, offering diver training leading to certification: the issuing of a "Diving Certification Card," also known as a "C-card," or qualification card. This diving certification model originated at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 1952 after two divers died while using university-owned equipment and the SIO instituted a system where a card was issued after training as evidence of competence.[119][120] Diving instructors affiliated to a diving certification agency may work independently or through a university, a dive club, a dive school or a dive shop. They will offer courses that should meet, or exceed, the standards of the certification organization that will certify the divers attending the course. Certification of the diver is done by the certification organisation on application by the registered instructor.[116]

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ot only is the underwater environment hazardous but the diving equipment itself can be dangerous. There are problems that divers must learn to avoid and manage when they do occur. Divers need repeated practice and a gradual increase in the challenge to develop and internalise the skills needed to control the equipment, to respond effectively if they encounter difficulties, and to build confidence in their equipment and themselves. Diver practical training starts with simple but essential procedures and builds on them until complex procedures can be managed effectively. This may be broken up into several short training programmes, with certification issued for each stage,[116] or combined into a few more substantial programmes with certification issued when all the skills have been mastered.[117][118]

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Recreational diver training is the process of developing knowledge and understanding of the basic principles, and the skills and procedures for the use of scuba equipment so that the diver is able to dive for recreational purposes with acceptable risk using the type of equipment and in similar conditions to those experienced during training. Recreational (including technical) scuba diving does not have a centralised certifying or regulatory agency and is mostly self-regulated. There are, however, several international organisations of varying size and market share that train and certify divers and dive instructors, and many diving related sales and rental outlets require proof of diver certification from one of these organisations prior to selling or renting certain diving products or services.[114][115]

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Recreational

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Some knowledge of physiology and the physics of diving is considered necessary by most diver certification agencies, as the diving environment is alien and relatively hostile to humans. The physics and physiology knowledge required is fairly basic, and helps the diver to understand the effects of the diving environment so that informed acceptance of the associated risks is possible.[113][6] The physics mostly relates to gases under pressure, buoyancy, heat loss, and light underwater. The physiology relates the physics to the effects on the human body, to provide a basic understanding of the causes and risks of barotrauma, decompression sickness, gas toxicity, hypothermia, drowning and sensory variations.[113][6] More advanced training often involves first aid and rescue skills, skills related to specialised diving equipment, and underwater work skills.[113]

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Scuba skills which an entry-level diver will normally learn include:[6][113]

Preparing and dressing in the diving suit

Assembly and pre-dive testing of the scuba set.

Entries and exits between the water and the shore or boat.

Breathing from the demand valve

Recovering and clearing the demand valve.

Clearing water from the mask, and replacing a dislodged mask.

Buoyancy control using weights and buoyancy compensator.

Finning techniques, underwater mobility and manoeuvering.

Making safe and controlled descents and ascents.

Equalisation of the ears and other air spaces.

Assisting another diver by providing air from one's own supply, or receiving air supplied by another diver.

How to return to the surface without injury in the event of a breathing supply interruption.

Use of emergency gas supply systems (professional divers).

Diving hand signals used to communicate underwater. Professional divers will also learn other methods of communication.

Dive management skills such as monitoring depth and time and the breathing gas supply.

Buddy diving procedures, including response to buddy separation underwater.

Basic dive planning regarding choice of entry and exit points, planned maximum depth and time to remain within no decompression limits.

Limited recognition of hazards, emergency procedures, and medical evacuation may be included.

How to adapt when facing strong current

The ability to remove and re-attach gear while underwater

Can achieve neutral buoyancy

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Scuba training is normally provided by a qualified instructor who is a member of one or more diver certification agencies or is registered with a government agency. Basic diver training entails the learning of skills required for the safe conduct of activities in an underwater environment, and includes procedures and skills for the use of diving equipment, safety, emergency self-help and rescue procedures, dive planning, and use of dive tables or a personal decompression computer.[6]

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Training and certification

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