Underwater diving, is the act of going under water with some breathing equipment (scuba diving, surface supplied diving) or just by breath-holding (free diving).
Diving is a popular recreational and sometimes professional activity all around the world. The diversity of life found underwater lures man to descend deeper and deeper into the ocean to explore.
Deep-sea diving is a type of underwater diving that requires the use of special equipment and procedures that are usually performed by people trained to dive for recreational or professional purposes.
According to the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), a deep dive is anything from 18 meters (60 feet) to 30 meters (100 feet) of depth underwater and is considered a form of technical diving.
Diving beyond these depths usually requires some form of advanced training.
Several factors can affect the amount of time a diver can last underwater. In general, the deeper you dive, the faster air is consumed. That is the reason why shallow dives usually last longer than deeper dives.
Other factors include the efficiency with which a diver uses air, diving experience, physical health, and lifestyle. At 40 feet below the surface, most divers can last 45 minutes to 1 hour submerged.
Purpose of Deep-Sea Diving
Deep-sea diving can be tedious and expensive work, usually done for science, research or profit.
In research, diving scientists, biologists and other related professionals use special techniques and equipment to enhance humanity’s knowledge of the deep.
For profit, commercial divers can be tasked with performing wreckage surveys, and to work on pipelines, bridges, breakwaters, dams and sewer discharge lines among others. Some divers also salvage valuables from wrecks.
Gear Up for Deep-Sea Diving
Diving equipment usually depends on the location of the dive. The basic equipment one needs for diving are: a mask, snorkel, a pair of flippers and sometimes an exposure suit to keep the body warm. Other times special equipment is worn by the diver to breathe and help their body’s position underwater.
The body can lose heat up to 60 times faster underwater than on land, this is due to heat being conducted by water much more easily than air. When diving in warm waters, a diver wears a wet suit, made of neoprene rubber that traps a small amount of water that the diver’s body heats up.
On the other hand, a dry suit is worn when divers have to work on waters where temperatures can drop below 10°C.
Specialized Equipment for Deep-Sea Diving
How to breathe underwater is essential in any kind of diving activity. A metal tank packed with compressed air with a regulator attached is used as the source of air underwater.
The regulator is an important part of a diver’s arsenal. To be able to breathe comfortably, the regulator reduces the pressure of the air to match the pressure of the surrounding water.
It’s also responsible for distributing air throughout the whole equipment that needs air via four hoses: First, a hose that connects to the mouthpiece where air is delivered when the diver inhales and exhales.
Second, a hose attached to the buoyancy compensator device worn by the diver as a belt to control buoyancy. When air is added, the diver becomes more buoyant and rises. Releasing air, on the other hand, will make the diver less buoyant.
A lead belt is also used by divers to weigh them down and help them stay submerged in the water.
The belt usually weighs around 5 to 20 pounds, although several factors such as the diver’s suit, the diver’s own weight weight and the location of the dive may also influence how much lead is going to be carried.
For emergencies, the lead belt has a quick-release buckle to shed off the added weight.
Other tools a diver has to have in hand in case of an emergency include, a dive knife, whistle, light and other signaling devices. They also should have an extra tank of oxygen at the surface, a marine radio and a medicine kit.