Ah, the ocean. If you’re anything like me, you love to feel that salty breeze on your face. I spend quite a lot of time by the sea doing ocean photography, sailing, and teaching surfing lessons. Many of us spend time at the beach, gazing out over the horizon.
The ocean is fascinating, mostly because we know so little about it. The ocean depths have captures the human imagination for as long as we’ve been around. This leads me to the question: how deep in the ocean can a human go?
In this blog post, we’re going to explore just that.
Scuba and Freediving
The further down into the ocean you go, the more pressure a diver will experience. The human body can only handle so much pressure. Plus, the deeper you go, the more likely you are to experience “the bends” (aka decompression sickness).
At most, recreational divers can dive to about 130 feet deep. However, that depth is only for advanced divers. If you just got scuba certified, you have to stick to 40-60 feet.
However, some adventurous souls choose to push those limits. Free-diving is a sport where divers go underwater without any scuba gear. They just see how deep they can get in one breath. So what is the depth record for this sport?
In 2007, Herbert Nitsch set the record for deepest free dive. He reached a depth of 702 feet in a single breath. To do this, a person must train for years to be able to hold their breath so long.
Humans can reach even greater depths thanks to modern technology!
The Mariana Trench in the western Pacific Ocean is the deepest known part of the ocean. The Challenger Deep is the deepest part of the Mariana Trench, and it is 10,928 meters below the surface.
Down here, the pressure is 1,000 times what it is at sea level, or about 8 tons per square inch. No human could survive down here on their own.
To date, only 22 people have been to the bottom of the Mariana Trench:
- Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard were the first to do so in 1960.
- James Cameron was the first person to solo dive to the bottom in 2012.
- In 2019, Triton Submarines created the DSV Limiting Factor. 19 people have explored Challenger Deep in this vessel.
- Explorer Victor Vescovo has made 15 dives to the bottom of Challenger Deep, more than anyone else.