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Scuba diver

As diving in general penetration is a body in a fluid , respectively. As a rule, so diving is of people under water meant. In contrast to swimming and snorkeling , when diving, the entire body is under the surface of the water. The conditions above the water differ greatly from those that prevail under water, which places special demands on people and technology , which are met with special skills and appropriate equipment.

History of diving

The history of diving begins around 4500 BC. With the harvest of sponges , pearls and corals . In ancient times, divers are said to have been used in combat missions against enemy ships. Helmet diving equipment began to be used at the bottom of the water towards the end of the 18th century . The first lighter scuba diving equipment appeared in the first half of the 20th century.

Scuba diving, which is practiced today, was born in the 1950s / 60s, after researchers and inventors such as Hans Hass and Jacques-Yves Cousteau developed the first practical diving equipment in the previous years . At that time, the sport of diving went more and more from free diving (holding one's breath or apnea diving ) to scuba diving and the first diving organizations were founded.

Scuba diving

Apnea diver with monofin

Diving as a recreational activity is called sport or recreational diving and is divided into different sub-areas. The differences can be determined on the one hand by the type and scope of the equipment used and on the other hand by the goal pursued when diving.

Apnea diving

Apnea diving is the oldest and most original form of diving. Diving takes place with bated breath without an artificial air supply, whereby the diver is often only equipped with ABC diving equipment and a diving suit . Freediving is both widths - such as excessive competition extreme sports operated. There are different disciplines such as static time diving , distance diving or deep diving. However, apnea diving is most widespread worldwide in the form of underwater hunting .


A special form of apnea diving is snorkeling. The diver or snorkeler swims on the surface of the water using a snorkel and briefly dives to shallow depths without breathing apparatus. Snorkeling is often used to observe the underwater world or to rescue water .

Underwater sports

The underwater sports of underwater rugby and underwater hockey use snorkels on the surface to follow the game. However, the players dive down to intervene in the game and are then apnea divers.

Scuba diving

A group of scuba divers.

When scuba diver uses a scuba set ( SCUBA ) or a rebreather ( rebreather ), in order to survive under water. By artificial breathing gas supply are dives possible of several hours. Most of the time, physical activity, fun , relaxation , adventure and nature observation are in the foreground of the motivation for diving. Today scuba diving is his most widespread type worldwide. Every year around 1.7 million people are trained as scuba divers. In recreational diving, compressed air or nitrox is generally used as the breathing gas and not, as is sometimes assumed, pure oxygen . Depending on the exposure time , this has a toxic effect on the central nervous system from a partial pressure of 1.4 to 1.6 bar (from a depth of approx. 6–7 meters when using pure oxygen or about 67 meters when using compressed air with 21% oxygen) and creates oxygen poisoning . For this reason, recreational divers usually do not exceed a depth of 50 meters (a few diving organizations even allow 60 meters) and stay underwater for only about an hour. Diving is usually done in a buddy team or a small group to increase safety . For scuba divers there is a large selection of equipment and a wide range of diving training courses .

Technical diving

Technical diving ( tec diving ) is an increasingly popular special form of scuba diving that enables recreational divers to undertake deeper and longer dives using techniques and procedures that were originally reserved for professional diving. The boundary to normal scuba diving is fluid. Originally, one spoke of technical diving when the breathing gas mixture was changed several times during a single dive . Today there are also definitions independent of breathing gas.

As a rule, the breathing gas mixture is changed several times during a single deep dive, as each mixture has different advantages and dangers at different depths. As a result, some divers get into the water with numerous bottles. Technical divers use equipment such as wing jackets , full face masks , stage bottles , backplate with harness and other items that go beyond the usual level of recreational diving. Technical diving requires specific, advanced training because of the different equipment and the special breathing gases.

Forms of recreational diving

For recreational divers there are some special forms , which often require special knowledge and in-depth training:

Ice Diving: When ice diving refers to diving under a closed ice cover. Particular dangers here are primarily the effect of the low water temperature on the diver and the device as well as the almost impossible possibility of finding the entrance opening without a guide line.

Historical diving: Lately, there has also been a growing interest in old diving technology among recreational divers. In particular, helmet diving equipment , as it represented the state of the art between 1900 and 1950 but gradually disappeared from professional diving , is attracting new attention. The focus here is on the experience of dealing with old technology, comparable to the hobby of oldtimers.

Cave diving: Many caves are completely or partially filled with water, exploring them by diving is a special attraction. However, there are dangers of their own, especially confinement, darkness and the risk of losing orientation. Since the cave diver usually does not have the opportunity to appear at short notice in dangerous situations, he must have a particularly high degree of self-control and also take technical precautions. Above all, a considerably larger air supply, redundant equipment and the use of a guide line serve this purpose.

Orientation Diving: When underwater orienteering it comes to fast and accurate diving. This competitive sport combines elements of orienteering and fin swimming.

Solo Diving: In the solo diving is not as usual with a buddy submerged. This has advantages for some divers, but requires additional equipment and training.

Underwater photography and video : With special cameras or conventional photo equipment in watertight and pressure-tight housings, it is possible to take photos and video recordings underwater . This special form of photography and videography is not only used in the professional field, but also in diving.

Wreck diving

Wreck diving: Ship wrecks are a special attraction for divers, on the one hand out of interest in the sunken ship itself, but also because of the often remarkable flora and fauna that inhabit such artifacts as a new habitat. The wreck diving but carries risks: Other types of flow conditions, stuck fishing nets, protruding, sharp edges and, one provided in the wreck penetration, the chance of getting hooked or getting stuck and the loss of orientation.

Environmental and monument protection

The popularization of diving, which began in the 1950s, initially caused considerable environmental damage . In particular, the fact that diving equipment was used without hesitation, but with great success for underwater hunting and the recovery of antiquities , led in some places to the destruction of the habitat and the food sources of flora and fauna as well as the irreversible destruction of archaeological sites . Therefore, on the one hand, the state authorities have issued protective regulations or even completely closed certain areas for diving. The preservation of an intact environment and the archaeological sites is also in the divers' own interests, which has prompted diving organizations to develop codes of conduct and special courses aimed at encouraging diving in a way that is environmentally friendly and respectful of historical monuments. This prevents recreational divers from committing violations of the law, some of which are punishable by severe penalties. The observance of these premises makes diving a sport that is environmentally friendly and enables undreamt-of insights into underwater biology or into cultural history.

Recreational divers also often clean parts of the water from waste or create new artificial habitats such as artificial coral reefs .

Diving with disabilities

People with disabilities now also have a wide range of opportunities to practice diving. In addition to the scientific discussion, there is a remarkable voluntary commitment in this area of ​​diving. The training requirements are by no means reduced compared to the non-disabled, but rather increased. The reason for this is that despite the possibly limited abilities of the student diver, the same safety standard must be observed as with a non-disabled scuba diver. Diving guides for the handicapped should ideally be experienced scuba divers with appropriate additional training, in which the future guides are prepared for the special features of diving with handicapped people. In the accompanying cultural program of the Paralympics 2012 , the British performance artist Sue Austin choreographed an underwater ballet using a propeller-driven wheelchair she developed.

Children's diving

From the age of around 8 it is possible for children to learn to dive with specially adapted equipment in diving courses geared towards children. Children always dive in a buddy team with an adult. The certifications that children can obtain in this way are usually limited in terms of the maximum depth and number of dives per day compared to adult certifications, as there are still no conclusive results on how the changed demands on the body affect a child's organism impact. Children react differently to dangers or incidents than adults and can thus become an increased risk for themselves and their accompanying adult buddies underwater. From the age of 15 or 16, adolescents are usually admitted to diving courses for adults without restriction. However , diving guide and diving instructor training courses are reserved for young adults aged 18 or 20 years, because legal issues can arise during these activities. Diving instructors are only allowed to teach, test and certify children after having completed additional training that enables them to become a children's diving instructor.

Educational diving

Since the mid-1990s, diving education offers for children and adolescents with behavioral problems have increasingly been developed . It is precisely in these areas that a scientific debate is taking place, which no longer only deals with the sport itself, but also revolves around psychological , educational and even psychiatric issues. The findings from diving psychology have made a significant contribution to this . Emotional psychological and experiential studies have shown astonishing success and confirm the practical experience of the pioneers in this field. People with intellectual disabilities can also benefit from these results.

Professional diving

Rescue divers of the fire brigade in Oude IJsselstreek

It is the job of professional divers to carry out commercial work underwater. The range of activities is very diverse, for example:

  • Construction work, in particular construction, maintenance and demolition of hydraulic structures and construction work on land in the groundwater area
  • Inspection work on hydraulic structures, ships, waterways, wrecks, wells, sewage treatment plants, etc.
  • Salvage work
  • Rescue work
  • Police and national defense duties
  • Signalization of the waterways.
  • Professional divers dive for lobsters , clams , sponges .

The range of positions that employ or commission divers is correspondingly broad:

The professional divers also include diving instructors who are professionally involved in the training of divers. Local diving guides also work professionally at many diving centers . A golf ball diver retrieves golf balls from ponds of golf courses. In developing countries there are treasure divers or gold diggers who dive with old-fashioned equipment and in disregard of all safety guidelines for small salaries.

Saturation diving

In the field of professional divers, saturation diving addresses the problem of increased decompression times during deep dives . One uses the fact that the gas uptake of the organism is limited at some point with increased pressure. After a certain period of time under high water pressure, the body is saturated; an extension of the diving time does not lead to an even longer decompression time. Since the decompression time z. B. after a dive to 200 m depth can be up to seven days, it can not be spent in the water. Nowadays, a decompression chamber is used for this purpose , which simulates a gradual ascent of around 30 m per day.

This technology is used particularly in underwater stations . A diver who stays in such a station for more than 24 hours is called an Aquanaut .


When diving, humans enter an environment for which they are not created due to their biological systems and in which they can only survive for a short time without technical support. In addition, there are few other occasions on which a person is confronted so directly with various physical conditions as in scuba diving.

Statistically, diving is a very safe sport. According to the long-standing international statistics from Divers Alert Network (DAN), there are 4.7 fatal diving accidents per million dives. One million dives corresponds approximately to a total diving time of at least 85 years. In comparison, there were 4.9 per million deaths from drowning in Germany in 2014 .

Every type of diving has its specific dangers and potential risks, which makes it essential to attend a solid diving training course in order to acquire the theoretical and practical knowledge of using diving equipment , dive planning and correct behavior in the water. Diving organizations offer courses in which divers can learn and expand their knowledge and skills. The main risks are:

In diving courses, the diver learns certain behaviors and limits to be observed in order to avoid diving accidents. The limits result from diving medicine and diving physics.



Statutory social insurance

There are no exclusions from statutory health insurance and statutory pension insurance ( statutory social insurance ). Treatment costs after diving accidents are also covered without restriction, as are pension payments in the event of reduced earning capacity . Professional divers are also insured through statutory accident insurance.

Private insurance

When it comes to recreational diving, exclusions apply to many types of insurance. So are z. B. Decompression accidents and typical diving health damage such as barotrauma are excluded in private accident insurance . However, some insurers include these cases through an additional agreement. Even with life and occupational disability insurance , scuba diving is considered an increased risk. Services are often excluded here or can only be insured through an additional agreement. For professional recreational divers, e.g. B. diving instructors , special exclusions must be taken into account in individual cases.


Most diving accidents are considered sudden and unforeseen events under Swiss law and are therefore regulated by the health insurances (KVG) and accident insurances (NBU), which are compulsory for all people living in Switzerland . If, after a diving accident, an accusation of negligence or the like arises, a health or accident insurance company can oppose the assumption of costs. That is why diving instructors and diving guides in particular should take out additional insurance.

The Suva treated diving under 40 meters of water as a risk sport, which in legal terms according to § 39 UVG and § 50 UVV is considered daring; thus the benefits from the compulsory health insurance or accident insurance can be reduced. Therefore, ambitious recreational divers and technical divers should take out additional diving insurance. This can be included in a supplementary insurance (VVG) or any other policy.

Additional diving insurance can also be useful for people living in Switzerland who dive abroad, as z. B. Pressure chamber treatments abroad are not always covered by health or accident insurance.

For professional divers, different rules apply, which are regulated in labor law.

Diving organizations

Diving organizations are clubs , associations or companies for sport and professional divers .

Most organizations create regulations and rules for diving training for beginners and advanced training courses for diving guides and diving instructors. The training is proven by a diving license (certification).

The best-known organizations are organized around the world either themselves or through umbrella organizations. Mostly they maintain a network of diving centers and diving schools all over the world and also arrange diving trips. Many diving organizations are commercially oriented. While some diving organizations only offer franchising contracts for diving centers, others charge membership fees and thus offer a diving school more freedom. Compensation can also be paid per student divers, e.g. B. through the compulsory purchase of teaching materials. Well-known organizations include PADI and SSI . In addition, there is also the possibility of acquiring a diving license through non-commercial clubs. In Central Europe, the clubs that have come together worldwide under the umbrella organization CMAS (for Germany: VDST ) should be mentioned.

See also

Portal: Diving  - Overview of Wikipedia content on diving

Web links

Commons : Diving  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: diving  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Norbert Gierschner: My illustrated chronology and bibliography of diving history . Volume 1. Tauch-Info-Büro, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-937522-16-6 . Volume 2: ISBN 978-3-937522-17-3 .
  2. 936,000 certifications ( Worldwide Corporate Statistics 2014. (PDF; 127 kB) Data for 2008-2013. (No longer available online.) PADI, February 2014, archived from the original on February 9, 2015 ; accessed on February 9, 2015 . (English) Info: The archive link is automatically inserted and not yet tested Please review the original and archive link under. instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.padi.com ) with a market share of 56%, ( Greg: 2013 market Share of Scuba Certification Agencies (PADI , NAUI, SSI). DiveBuddy.com, July 25, 2013, accessed on February 9, 2015 (English). ) result in a market of about 1.7 million.
  3. Dive Leader. Do you want to extend your personal diving skills and plan and lead dives for others? British Sub-Aqua Club, accessed on March 1, 2019 (English): " The training also prepares you to dive to depths of up to 50 meters in a range of challenging conditions, following a series of post-qualification depth progression dives. "
  4. Plongée en bouteille. Plonger en bouteille et se former au sein de la FFESSM. Fédération française d'études et de sports sous-marins, accessed on March 1, 2019 (French): “ ... à partir de 18 ans: brevet plongeur level 3 (P3), autonomy à 60 m . "
  5. World's first wheelchair developed for scuba diving. In: bizeps.or.at
  6. Harald Apelt: A question of teaching? (PDF; 747 kB) Children's diving. (No longer available online.) In: DiveInside. Taucher.Net GmbH, August 5, 2008, archived from the original on November 2, 2013 ; Retrieved November 1, 2013 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.diveinside.de
  7. Dagmar Himmel: Workshop for educational diving. (PDF; 270 kB) TC-Aqua, March 25, 2008, accessed on November 1, 2013 .
  8. Honduran lobster and conch divers are working on developing a more sustainable fishery.
  9. James W. Miller, Ian G. Koblick: Living & Working in the sea . Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, New York 1984, ISBN 0-442-26084-9 , p. 28.
  10. Diving from a sports medicine point of view - epidemiology. Münchner Verlagsgruppe GmbH, accessed on January 24, 2017 : “Overall, diving is a very safe sport. The Divers Alert Network (DAN) examined 940 accidents that occurred over a period of 10 years. The risk of a fatal diving accident was 4.7 out of 1,000,000 dives. ( The 2010 DAN Diving Fatalities Workshop. ) "
  11. Deaths from drowning in Germany in 2014. Deutsche Lebens-Rettungs-Gesellschaft eV (DLRG), accessed on January 24, 2017 .
  12. Thomas Kromp , Hans J. Roggenbach , Peter Bredebusch : Practice of diving. 3. Edition. Delius Klasing Verlag, Bielefeld 2008, ISBN 978-3-7688-1816-2 .
  13. a b All about insurance for scuba divers from magazine dive . In: heintzmann.de . Retrieved December 2, 2013.
  14. a b daring - dangerous sports. Suva , accessed December 3, 2013 .