Scuba Diving

The word "scuba" is an acronym. What does the letter A stand for?

And the answer: apparatus.    

While we might think of scuba diving when someone says "scuba," the word was coined in 1952 as an acronym for "Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus."

Photo credit: Gustavo Gerdel

For decades, scuba has offered a means of exploring the undersea world. Attached to air tanks with compressed oxygen, nitrogen and other gasses, scuba divers can explore depths without ever having to come up for a breath of air. In fact, it's better if they don't! The nitrogen of the tanks can cause Caisson's Disease if the swimmers return to the surface too quickly – that's when nitrogen starts to form bubbles in the diver’s body. A rule of thumb in diving: don't rise faster than your bubbles!

The standard diving depth limit is around 100-133 feet. Diving any deeper than that requires special training as well as a specially-trained buddy to accompany you. That being said, some divers have made it a goal to be the one to dive the deepest on record. To date, Nuno Gomes holds the world record for deepest dive, clocking in at a whopping 1,044 feet deep.

There are popular scuba diving spots all over the world, yet some spots are specifically renowned for the experience they offer. The Galapagos Islands, off the coast of Ecuador in South America, offer coral reefs teeming with diverse forms of life, while Fiji is the soft coral capital of the world. Learn more about the best diving spots here.

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