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A Short History of Scuba Diving

Humans have always had a consuming desire in going beneath the sea for centuries. Ancient manuscripts depict early divers and century old artifacts imply that people dove underneath the sea in search of jewellery such as pearls. The Greek historian, Herodotus tells the story of Scyllis, a famous sailor, and soldier who used a reed to breathe as he cut mooring lines of Persian ships. This desire has pushed humans to invent methods of staying underwater for longer periods of time and at greater depths.

A couple of centuries later, Greek philosopher, Aristotle reported that Alexander the Great discovered a way of hiding underwater while the Siege of Tyre was taking place- this he did by using a barrel as a diving bell. Apparently, the desire and necessity to go underwater have always existed, when not for military purposes, for hunting, exploration, repair of water vessels and sometimes just to observe marine life.

In the 16th century, people began using diving bells supplied with air from the surface for diving, and this enabled them to stay underwater for longer periods. Still in the 16th century, divers in England and France began diving with full diving suits made of leather, and this enabled them to reach depths of 60 ft. However, by the 18th century, it became clear that everyone desired an efficient and safe way to breathe underwater and at further depths.

There were many attempts to create what was referred to as rebreathing devices, but it wasn’t until the 1940s that Jacques Cousteau and engineer Emilie Gagnan successfully created a rebreathing device that did work. In the next decade, recreational diving grew to become a hugely popular activity, one which everyone was eager to experience.

In 1946, CRESSI, one of the largest producers of watersport equipment’s in the world was officially founded, and their services saw to the technological needs of the scuba diving, snorkelling, and swimming industries.  In the 1950s, PINOCCHIO, the first mask with a nose profil was designed and it made compensation possible during diving. The ARO oxygen rebreather whose design consisted of a waterproof bag, a hydraulic hose with telescopic function and a mouth piece was adopted by the military and remained in use till the 1960s.

With the evolution of these technologies which made diving easier, depths at which people dived increased and in the 1970s, Jacques Mayol became the first man to go beyond 100m in free diving. CRESSI designed the Apache Speargun in the 1980s, and this made fishing easier and became a reference for World Champions. The 1990s witnessed a surge of interest from women in the sport of scuba diving.

In the 2000s, CRESSI designed their swim product range, and this has led to a growth of the sport for persons of all ages. Today, approximately 500,000 new scuba divers are certified yearly in the US and North America, recreational diving has evolved into a multi-billion dollar industry, and there’s an expansion of technical diving by non-professionals who use advanced technology full face masks, mixed gasses, underwater voice communication and propulsion systems.

That’s about it for the history of scuba diving, and it is clear that it will continue to develop and keep advancing.

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