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What Are the Minimum & Maximum Ages For SCUBA Diving?

   July 14th, 2023   Posted In: Articles   Tags:

What Is the Age Limit for SCUBA Diving?

What is the age limit for SCUBA diving? How old is too young and how old is too old? These are great questions to know in order to plan out all the SCUBA diving in your life. Many families share this special sport in some of the most beautiful places in the world and try to have everyone get certified before their next amazing vacation. Making sure your young child is ready to dive is very important. Also, as you age, it is very important to get regular doctor check-ups to make sure you are fit to dive.

What Is the Minimum Age for SCUBA diving?

Certified Diver

For PADI, the minimum age to become a certified Open Water SCUBA diver is 10 years old. Other SCUBA diving organizations may differ slightly from this age. Ten years old may seem very young, but for the right kid it is perfect. It is up to the parents to decide if their kid is ready to handle the responsibility of being a good SCUBA diver.

At 10 years old, they can only dive with a certified parent or legal guardian or instructor/divemaster. However, it is important for the child to understand the book material and perform all of the necessary pool skills. For alternative options to learning in a classroom with other people, there is e-learning that is often most beneficial to young kids so that they can learn at their own pace.

Pool Experience

There are opportunities for those under 10 years of age to get into SCUBA gear. At 8 and 9 years old, kids can get into SCUBA gear in the pool, up to 6 or 12 feet deep, depending on the program. They get to try out all the SCUBA gear. And maybe even a kid’s SCUBA diving wetsuit if the pool is cold. With PADI, these programs are Bubblemaker and Seal Team.

I have taught several of these courses to young kids and they do amazing! Bubblemaker is like a discover SCUBA diving class, but can only take place in a pool. The goal of this class is to get kids in SCUBA gear in a pool to try it out. The Seal Team class goes a little further by teaching the kids pool skills over a few sessions through what we call Aqua Missions. There are even other Aqua Missions to take after this where kids can earn the name of Master Seal Team member. Some of the fun and exciting aqua missions include learning how to use a dive light, diving around a “wreck”, and learning search and recovery techniques.

what is the age limit for scuba diving

What Is the Maximum Age for SCUBA Diving?

What is the maximum age to be able to go SCUBA diving? Unlike the minimum age, there is no absolute maximum age for SCUBA diving. As you age, you will have an increased risk for decompression sickness. It is wise to have your dives become shorter and shallower the older you get. Although, many older divers still enjoy life underwater at 100 feet!

The dive profile and conditions you choose will be based on your physical health and ability. Staying physically fit in general will help you dive safely. Also, you should make sure to get regular doctor check-ups and be cleared for diving. Any physical ailment will, again, increase your risk of decompression sickness.

Guinness World Record Holder For Oldest SCUBA Diver

How old is the oldest person to ever SCUBA dive? The Guinness World record holder for oldest person to ever SCUBA dive was set on September 7, 2020 in Pearl Lake, South Beloit, Illinois by American William Lambert. He was 100 years old and 2 days. To make things even more exciting, William did not even start diving until he was 98! Prior to this dive, British diver Wallace Raymond Woolley was the oldest diver on record at 96 years old and 3 days back in 2019. He had broken his own record every year for three years in a row. 

In order to qualify for a Guinness World record SCUBA dive, they had to stay underwater for at least 20 minutes. The depth requirements are unknown at this time, but Wallace actually went to 140 feet on his dive. There is no further update on these two divers or if they will get into the water again. There are several other divers hoping to set a new record for oldest SCUBA diver. Stay tuned!

Now you can plan your family’s learning opportunities out by understanding the basic minimum and maximum ages for SCUBA diving. Get your friends and families SCUBA certified and go out and enjoy the beautiful underwater world!

Candace is an avid scuba diver and freelance writer with a PhD in Biomedicine. She has been diving since 2002 and is currently a PADI IDC Staff Instructor. When she is not instructing, she enjoys writing about scuba and volunteering at the local aquarium where she dives with the sharks!

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