November 14, 2021 5 min read

Many divers love to scuba dive because it is so much fun.

However, some people want to know what is the reasoning behind the popularity of this sport.

This article is going to reveal this reason and even give more information about scuba, its history - how and when was scuba invented.

What is Scuba?

The word scuba is a shortened form of Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus. Scuba, or scuba diving, is underwater diving in which air is supplied from an air tank carried by the diver to the surface.

Scuba diving is recreational, but in some cases, it might be used for professional reasons in underwater exploration.

The divers in scuba diving typically use a mouth-and-nose mask configuration to supply air for breathing, but scuba divers are not limited to only this configuration.

Depending on the type of diving being done, scuba divers can adjust their equipment to match their needs.

What Preceded the Advent of Scuba?

In the old days, people had to breathe through a tube or a straw, and they were called snorkelers. Earlier, people would put on a diving suit and go underwater with one breath of air. What a crazy way to explore the depths! These divers are called “turtles”. Those were the days before Scuba. A scuba mask may seem like a simple invention, but it has a long and colorful history. Scuba masks are so common nowadays that it's hard to imagine what life may have been like without them.

scuba diving

This piece of equipment is surprisingly recent. The first time people tried diving underwater was in 1770. They used an air tube that ran from the top of the helmet to the surface of the water. The first occasion that this was used was for military purposes. Soldiers were sent down to spot oncoming ships, storming beaches, and to search for sunken boats. It wasn't until 1772 that scuba diving became attempted recreationally. This attempt was made by Abraham Duquesne, who is primarily remembered as the first person to use a diving bell for salvage work.

Who Invented Scuba for Divers?

If we look back in history, we will find that man has been preoccupied with deep-sea exploration for hundreds of years. The first recorded dive dates back to the 1500s. A man named Franz Lenck of Bavaria is credited with inventing the "immoral helmet" which was supposedly used to explore underwater caves. However, it is unknown if this was true or if it was just a hoax. The first person to have coined the term "scuba" was Jacques Cousteau's father, Leon, who traveled to America in 1910 and noted that some people wore masks and carried air tanks so they could breathe underwater. Together with Emile Gagnan, they used a gas mixture that was a blend of hydrogen and oxygen, and his inspiration for using this mixture was none other than the blast of a rocket. He developed the equipment with a proper and safe regulator, which was finally patented in 1945.

What Problems Did the Invention of Scuba Solve for Divers?

a short history of scuba diving

As known, the inventor of scuba -Jacques Cousteau’s father Leon was originally exploring the ocean and soon he realized that he needed something to help him stay under longer. The invention of scuba solved the problem of how divers could stay underwater for longer than 30 minutes, which was the time limit before they needed to resurface without proper regulators. Until Jacques created scuba diving, divers had to resurface after 30 minutes and refill their tanks and they were also limited to a certain depth. Besides, the only way to explore the underwater world was with a tank of air strapped to your back. And you could only go so far. That’s why so many exciting discoveries have been made in the last 50 years of scuba diving. Thanks to Jacques, scuba diving made it possible for people to stay underwater indefinitely and at any depth.

How Did Modern Scuba Diving Become Popular?

After Jacques Cousteau's father, Leon invented scuba diving that later become the sport of scuba diving -the first a very niche activity, and only the most dedicated of enthusiasts practiced it. Unlike other modern sports like football or soccer, scuba diving has a low risk of injury. However, as more and more people became interested in the scuba diving invited by Leon Cousteau this sport, quickly grew in popularity. Several factors helped to transform scuba diving from a niche activity into a popular sport.

  • The successful underwater exploration and mapping of the Nautilus, the first nuclear submarine, was accomplished in early 1945. This feat demonstrated the suitability of scuba for technical divers and led to an increase in popularity.
  • The increased influence of Jacques-Yves Cousteau and his popular TV series, The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau. His show popularized the idea of diving using scuba.
  • Scuba diving offers a challenge to people who are looking for adventure. Equipped with the right gear, you can explore the deep waters of oceans, lakes, rivers, quarries, and even industrial sumps. Scuba diving is the perfect way to experience new worlds while being completely safe.

Final Thoughts

The legendary underwater explorer Jacques Cousteau invented scuba for people who love to swim. Now everybody can enjoy the underwater world thanks to modern scuba diving techniques with Jacques Cousteau's invention, scuba! Thanks to him, each year people celebrate National Scuba Diving Day which is on the first Saturday of October. This pretty rad invention solved the problem of humans being able to explore the underwater world using safe breathing apparatus without having to risk drowning. Scuba equipment gave people the freedom to explore underwater habitats and solve mysteries of the deep sea. Today we have a great possibility to make unlimited dives and see the amazing underwater world closer than ever. thanks to scuba diving invented in the last century.  

Most Commonly Asked Questions

1. What are two of Jacques Cousteau's inventions?

The “Aqualung” or scuba. The Aqualung was invented by Jacques Cousteau and engineer Emile Gagnan. 2. Underwater habitat: The underwater habitat was also invented by Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Émile Gagnan. The habitat is a metal cylinder with windows where the divers live underwater.

2. Who built the first scuba system?

Cousteau and Gagnan’s first efforts to build what we now call scuba were not successful. They continued to experiment and in 1943 they finally developed a system that worked: the first scuba. Before the end of the year, he and Gagnans were sending crew members to about 10 meters (33 feet) underwater.

3. Is scuba diving still popular?

Scuba Diving is still remaining popular, especially in the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, China, Australia, and many European countries. Also, there is a new trend for Scuba Diving in the Middle East Countries like Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Oman, etc.

4. Why is it called scuba diving?

Many divers are interested in exactly how scuba diving got its name. Originally, "SCUBA" was an acronym that stood for "Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus".

5. Who is the most famous scuba diver in the world?

Jacques-Yves Cousteau, a French naval officer, and researcher was a pioneer of deep-sea diving and a television producer to Europe and the United States. Cousteau was probably the first diver to truly live underwater.

Author - Aleksandra Djurdjevic
Aleksandra Djurdjevic          

Senior Content Creator

Aleksandra Djurdjevic is a senior writer and editor, covering surf, kayak and various watersports activities. She has previously worked as ESL teacher for English Tochka. Aleksandra graduated from the Comparative Literature department at the Faculty of Philosophy in Serbia. Aleksandra’s love for the ocean / rivers, getting out waves, season after season, seeking epic adventures across the globe helps her continue to be a top expert at CSG.

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