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How Deep is Too Deep?

By John Lippmann 

Executive Director
DAN S.E. Asia-Pacific

DSC_0259DEEP

Copyright: John Lippmann

During diver training, dive students are normally drilled to avoid diving beyond 130 feet / 39 meters. However this depth limit recommended by most of the training agencies is not forged in stone. Historically, it appears that it probably emerged from the U.S. Navy, possibly as a result of equipment limitations at that time, and the work restrictions imposed by the relatively short no-stop times available at greater depths.

An increasing number of divers dive beyond the 130-foot limit, some routinely and others occasionally. The advent of dive computers has negated much of the decompression penalty and dive restrictions previously associated with deep diving, and has no doubt encouraged the current trend. In addition, the increased availability of a variety of gas mixtures has enabled more divers to venture deeper and deeper.

Deep diving demands vast amounts of knowledge, experience and discipline, as well as appropriate preparation and equipment, since deep diving is fraught with potential hazards.

There appear to be some inescapable realities of deep diving. These include:

  • the increased potential for certain problems to occur;
  • if a problem does occur, the consequences are often more serious; and
  • the fact that the physiological effects of deep diving are still largely unknown.

An old friend of mine used to teach diving at a tropical resort. The instructors routinely dived on air to depths approaching 300 ft (90m) and beyond on their days off. During such a dive, one instructor became unconscious at about 200 ft (60m) without obvious warning. He fell away and out of reach of the others before anyone could get it together to do anything. His body was never recovered.

Elsewhere, another diver diving at just over 165 ft (50m) on air on a wreck was seen to become unconscious and to convulse. Luckily his buddies managed to rescue and resuscitate him.

These are not isolated stories, and there are many similar reports involving deep air dives and mixed gas dives.

READ MORE AT: danlogo

#TBT 2007 Look what we found!

Thank you Dan! Very kind words!

Mark Goldsmith and his team are not only top-notch professionals in terms of the care they give students, beginning divers, experienced divers, etc. they also firmly believe in protecting the environment. You will often see the SDDS dive leaders picking up trash left behind by less-eco concerned water enthusiasts. They know their stuff and are always ready to point out interesting formations, life forms, etc. We used a couple of other dive shops the Dominican Republic and were not impressed with the service or willingness of the dive masters to point out interesting sites. To them we were just dollars, not divers wanting to see and learn. Mark Goldsmith, the owner, has been a dive instructor in the Dominican Republic for about 12 years. He is well known and respected in the industry. “

Dan Kubiske, USA, 2007