Diving has been around for many years, from ancient Greek fisherman who went free diving for their quarry right up to modern day hi tech rebreather apparatus. How has this sport progressed so far?
Free diving, where you take a few breaths of air on the surface and stay down for as long as your lungs hold out is where it all started out for the fisherman. Advancing on from this came the idea of the basic snorkel. Divers first used hollow reeds to allow them to keep their heads under the surface. From there it was a step in the right direction to air filled bags and simple diving bells.
Diving bells were great for pumping air to the guys under water, but very cumbersome and difficult to move around. The next step in progession was to connect the air pump directly to the lucky diver’s helmet and supply the air from the surface, with a few guys pumping the air down. Still very cumbersome and liable to kill the diver if the lines became entangled or the pump broke down and air wasn’t getting to him. The first helmets were of leather and soon changed to metal to allow more pressure bearing, hence deeper access for the diver.
Eventually divers had the ability and more advanced technology to fill a small cylinder with cleaned air, feed it to their lungs at a safely reduced pressure and to stay under water and actually swim, rather than walk around weighted down by heavy lead boots in a restricted fashion.
At first divers knew little about problems such as the bends, which every diver now takes actions to prevent. It was all very hit and miss with some divers exceeding what are now considered to be the safe limits and getting away with it whilst others were less fortunate. Experience and research by naval divers eventually produced the diving tables that we now work to. Although even these should be considered work in progress.
Diving equipment has progressed a lot along the years. Half a century ago buoyancy was totally down to the pure skill of the diver before basic manually inflated buoyancy jackets were introduced, to many divers’ horror. Blamed for many accidents, probably unfairly, these tricky to use jackets soon gave way to today’s BCDs and even wings, which are supposed to distribute buoyancy in the water better, but are more tricky to use at the surface.
The sport which started off to serve fisherman in a basic fashion has progressed to many other trades such as Naval divers and archaeologists. Now many active people consider diving to be one of their regular preoccupations and many others like to give it a first try whilst on holiday abroad.
If you are about to venture abroad, read our diving reviews before you travel to find suitable diving centres abroad to get you back safely from your trip.
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