Scuba Diving is a form of underwater diving using self-contained breathing apparatus (usually consisting of a tank and hoses) to extend exposure under the water for extended periods. Independent from surface air supplies, scuba divers are able to travel further distances and explore deeper regions than free divers or snorkelers. Compressed air is used for breathing in Scuba diving – typically an oxygen/nitrogen mixture slightly enriched by ambient pressure for greater endurance in their dive.
SCUBA diving is popularly practiced recreationally and scientifically, while it may also have occupational or military applications. Common commercial uses of SCUBA equipment include ocean oil drilling, submarine maintenance and bridge construction – while scientific researchers often utilize SCUBA gear in studying coral reefs or other marine environments.
Becoming a certified scuba diver involves first receiving training and passing an exam that tests his or her ability to dive safely. Once successful in passing these steps, certification from one of the world’s premier diving organizations will be awarded; this allows certified divers to undertake diving projects across many different nations.
Scuba diving as we know it began in 1943 when Cousteau and engineer Emile Gagnan designed the Aqua-Lung. This enabled sport divers to safely explore deep reefs without needing surface support vessels – signalling a new era in underwater exploration.
Scuba diving industry quickly expanded in response to an ever-increasing demand and changing public perception. Training no longer focused on weeks-long pool drills but instead focused on real-world learning with shorter classroom courses and quicker transitions into open water environments. Aesthetically pleasing silicone rubber equipment started replacing perishable and unattractive black neoprene equipment as more durable options.
Though scuba diving itself is not inherently hazardous, there are certain risks involved that could cause injury or even lead to death if they are mismanaged or understood improperly. These include running out of air supply, developing decompression sickness or nitrogen narcosis and drowning.
While scuba diving poses some inherent risks, most divers won’t ever encounter them in practice. Proper preparation is the key to mitigating risks: divers should adhere to all safety precautions set forth by their instructor and learn to recognize and avoid potential hazards such as underwater cliffs, drop-offs, coral and structures that could damage or injure divers. Divers should also devise an exit strategy in case of emergencies such as an air supply failure requiring immediate attention or other issues that necessitate immediate response.