Scuba Diving History

Scuba diving is a marine sport that is pretty much enjoyed by water babies. Actually, SCUBA is an acronym for “Self Contained Underwater Breath Apparatus”.

Through the development of technology, scuba diving continues to evolve. At the moment, diving activities pertaining to scuba include:
– recreational diving
– public safety diving
– technical diving which includes ice diving, wreck diving, cave diving and deep diving
– military diving
– commercial diving
– scientific diving

History of scuba-diving goes back centuries. Men and women have practiced holding their breath underwater way before the apparatus for the sport was invented.

Indirect origins come in the form of ancient artifacts found in Greece showing divers hunting for sponges and sometimes engaged in military endeavors. The most popular would be the story of Scyllis dating back in the 500 BC as quoted by the famous Greek historian Herodotus.

The story goes that during the Grecian naval campaign, Scyllis was held captive by Xerxes I, the Persian King. Upon knowing that Xerxes was attacking the Greek fleet, Scyllis grabbed a knife and jumped overboard.

Persians couldn’t find Scyllis. They assumed that he drowned. At night, Scyllis resurfaced and swam all the way to Xerxes’ fleet, cutting every ship off from its moorings. He used a reed as his snorkel so that he couldn’t be seen. Afterwards, he swam nine miles (approximately 15 kilometers) and joined his fellow Greeks.

Move on to the 16th century when people started using diving bells which were the first effective apparatus used in staying under water for a long period of time. The bell was held at a stationary level which is few feet away from the surface. The bottom was open to water while the top contained air compressed with the water pressure.

The diver stood upright and held his head in the air. Then he could leave the bell so that he could collect sponges or explore the bottom of the sea. Afterwards, he returned to the bell to get air. He could keep on doing this till the bell was no longer breathable.

At that time, England and France were manufacturing full diving suits. These were made from leather and used to submerge under 60 feet. The air was pumped from underneath the surface through manual pumps. Later on, metal helmets were made in order to hold greater water pressure for divers who went deeper.

19th century, scientific researches led by French Paul Bert and Scottish John Scott Haldane concluded the effects of water pressure within the body. From these study, compressed air pumps, regulators and carbon dioxide led to the creation of the Scuba diving apparatus we know today.

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