Belize Diving Services

How Deep Can You Scuba Dive? Scuba Gear Limits

How deep can you scuba dive? This is a question that many people seek to answer, usually before they plan a diving trip to popular destinations all over the world, including Belize. The answer is perhaps not as cut and dry as some people would like. In fact, the answer to this question depends largely on the kind of diving, the skill level of the diver, and the scuba diving gear.

If you want to experience how deep can a human dive with scuba gear, contact us at Belize Diving Services and ask about our open water certification courses.

How Deep Can You Scuba Dive with Scuba Gear?

The industry standard for every major training agency established 130 feet as the depth limit for recreational divers. But, during most scuba training, students only dive to depths of only 30-60 feet. This is largely due to the fact that most marine species live at depths less than 60 feet. That means that you don’t necessarily have to go further than 60 feet to see beautiful ocean life, especially as a beginner diver.

According to the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), the definition of a “deep dive” is more than 60 feet. In fact, many professional divers will go as deep as they have to reach a site.

The Guinness World Record for deep-diving was set in 2014, when a man in Egypt dove more than more than 1,000 feet in the Red Sea. According to interviews, he wanted to prove that he could survive at such depths. So, when you’re considering how deep you can scuba dive, it’s good to acknowledge that there will always be outliers who break the norms.

Deep diving with fish in helmet

History of Recreational Scuba Diving Depth Limit

You might be wondering why is 130 feet the recreational standard for how deep you can scuba dive? Simply put, diving deeper than 130 feet requires “technical” certifications. This standard was set in the 1950s by the U.S. Navy. Even the Navy still requires special permission to go beyond 130 feet.

The U.S. Navy adopted the somewhat arbitrary depth because it gave divers the necessary 10 minutes of time on compressed air and enough time to do useful work. It is also the depth that most divers begin to feel the effects of gas narcosis (more on that later). Also, in the 1950s the diving gear available was less technical than what we have today, which made it more limiting. Another factor they considered was that a limit of 130 feet allowed a slight margin of error. For example, if you had a maximum depth of 140 feet, but calculated the dive at 150 feet, you might accidentally omit the necessary decompression period.

Today, almost every recreational diver has the technology they need to allow them to dive safely at 130 feet. So, you might be wondering, why are we still limited to how deep you can scuba dive? The bottom line is that it is better to be safe than sorry. For the average recreational diver, going deeper than 130 feet requires a thorough knowledge of emergency procedures and the effects of nitrogen narcosis.

Best Diving Depth According to Experts

When answering the question, “how deep can a human dive with scuba gear” one has to acknowledge the pros and cons of diving deeper. There are several benefits of staying shallow while diving. Not only will your air supply last longer, but the deeper you go, the greater the water pressure becomes. This is important because the scuba regulator functions by providing the diver air at the same pressure as the water.

Remaining shallow also means that the diver’s body accumulates less nitrogen. Also, decompression diving exceeds the standard recreational dive training, which most beginners have. For the most part, recreational divers breathe filtered air compressed into the scuba cylinder. Nitrogen (which makes up the majority of the air we breathe) is not metabolized but accumulates in tissues as a diver goes deeper. When the absorbed nitrogen is released too quickly, it forms bubbles in the tissues, which causes decompression sickness.

How deep can a human dive with scuba gear?

Diving Dangers: Nitrogen Narcosis

When you’re researching how deep can you scuba dive, it is important to acknowledge the dangers of nitrogen narcosis. Nitrogen narcosis starts when divers breathe compressed air and often feels like tiredness. The feeling often starts at about 100 feet, when the weight of the water becomes heavier. If divers stay shallower than 130 feet, it’ll minimize the risk of experiencing severe nitrogen narcosis. It is also important that aspiring divers go through certification classes.

Belize Diving Services

If you’re still looking for more information about how deep can you scuba dive, or you’re curious about certification classes, or diving excursions in Belize, contact us at Belize Diving Services.

Of course, as part of your SDI or PADI open water certification classes, Belize Diving Services will teach you everything you need to know to explore the wonders below the ocean safely. The SDI and ADI diving courses progresses from shallow water to 60 feet. The certification courses prioritize your health and safety to ensure that your underwater adventures are worry-free. These classes are also a great time to ask the instructor, how deep can a human dive with scuba gear?

If you’ve already been certified, but would like a refresh of your diving skills or equipment, then our Scuba Review program is for you. We’ll review mask skills, buoyancy skills, equalizing and emergency procedures. Then we’ll jump on a boat for a glorious day of diving at Turneffe Atoll.