A Short History of Scuba Diving

The history of scuba diving is full of trial and error and a deep longing to understand the depths of the ocean. The roots of scuba diving are in fishing, practiced thousands of years ago by people who relied on fishing to eat. To increase their chances of catching dinner, people devised different methods to catch fish, including ways to breathe under water. Thus came the first scuba gear, the snorkeling mask and tube.

Sieur Freminet made the first real advancements towards what would eventually become scuba diving when he invented a rebreathing device. Unlike equipment that would come later, Freminet's rebreathing device was self-contained. Unfortunately his invention was far from perfect, and he died after twenty minutes of using it.

Next William James developed a diving device which was comprised of a belt attached to a copper helmet. This allowed him to spend up to seven minutes underwater, but it wasn't a true self-contained apparatus.

Benoit Rouguayrol and Auguste Denayrouse were next to take a stab at creating a scuba tank. Their functioning regulator consisted of a compressed air tank connected to a mouthpiece. This scuba tank was tethered to the surface, making it difficult to move. This became the blueprint for later scuba tanks.

Another scuba-related death happened before the scuba tank was perfected. Henry Fleuss died while using his invention, a pure oxygen rebreather. Unfortunately for Fleuss, pure oxygen is deadly for humans.

Jacques Coustea and Emile Gagnan were finally able to perfect the scuba tank. Their self-contained underwater breathing apparatus are the design still used today. They designed the scuba tank in 1943, using the US Navy's scuba tank as a model.

Today we continue to use the scuba tank invented by Cousteau and Gagnan. The National Association of Underwater Instructors (NASD) formed in 1960 to oversee scuba diving. They regulate safety rules and certification requirements for scuba divers. Scuba diving's popularity increases constantly as more people discover the excitement of scuba diving. Scuba diving locations can be found across the world, whether you enjoy warm water, tropical fish or immersing yourself in the colder water of the north Atlantic.

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