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How deep can you scuba dive?

One of the most commonly asked questions by new divers is how deep can I dive?

And the simple answer is: it really depends on what you are trained for.

Here is a quick overview of depth limits for recreational diving (for most dive international no- decompression training agencies such as PADI) and a glimpse at what tech diving may offer.

scuba diving Nusa Penida
How deep can I go?

12m for a complete beginner (Adult - see below for kids)

If you have never dived before you can do a Discover Scuba Diving (DSD)experience. After your pool training, you can dive to a maximum limit of 12m accompanied by a diving instructor. The first entry-level certification, Scuba diver, will also train you to go to 12m accompanied by a dive professional.

18m for an Open Water diver

Once you have done your open water diver certification you will be trained to go to 18m. On paper, you can do this with a buddy of the same level but you would of course want to have quite a few dives under your belt and know the dive sites well before ever doing this. Ideally, you would go with a dive professional or at least with buddies trained to rescue diver level.

Diving Nusa Penida
Deeper and Deeper

30 m for an Advanced Open Water diver, Rescue diver and Divemaster

The advanced open water diver certification, or, if you do not have time to complete your full certification, your deep adventure dive will open up the world of deeper diving, with your maximum diving depth becoming 30m. This is also the depth limit for Rescue divers and divemasters.

40m for a deep dive specialty diver and for a dive instructor and above

If you like the deep, think about doing your deep diver specialty, this allows you to safely dive up to 40m. This is also the depth limit for scuba diving instructors and all the professional levels above in recreational diving with PADI.

Kids have different scuba diving depth limits

Children are more limited in depth. For bubble makers of 8 and 9 years old the max depth is 2 meters, for those of the same age doing 'Seal Team' training and who have completed Aquamission 1, the max depth is 4m. For kids of 10 and 11 who have completed their junior open water certification the depth limit is 12m but goes up to 18m from 12 to 14 years old. In both cases, they must be accompanied by a certified adult or dive pro. The depth limit for advanced open water divers of 12 to 14 years old is 21m, they also need to be accompanied by a certified adult or dive pro.

marble ray Nusa Penida scuba diving
Look who we found on the seafloor

Tech Diving

Tech diving is decompression diving and using different gas mixes which allows spending more time at depth and going deeper. Up to 60 m, tech divers can dive on air but may use enriched air for accelerated decompression stops (more oxygen going in means more nitrogen coming out of the body). Beyond 60m, the limiting factor will be Oxygen levels so tech divers tend to use trimix, a gas mix that includes helium as a replacement for some of the oxygen and some of the nitrogen. The world depth record for tech diving is 332.35m, held by Ahmed Gabr who dived in 2014 in Dahab, Egypt. It took him 15 minutes to get down and 13 hours 35 minutes to come up again, that's a lot of decompression stops!

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