Breaking records is no easy feat, and Arnaud Jerald proved that when he achieved the world record for the deepest dive with bifid fins on August 9th. According to the BBC, this was the seventh time the record had been broken. But what exactly is deep diving and what makes it so dangerous? Deep diving, or technical diving, is a certification awarded to divers who have been trained to dive at a specific depth range, usually greater than 30 meters (98 feet). This requires more respirable gas than shallow open water diving, and can lead to extremely high mortality rates.
In professional diving, a depth that requires special equipment, procedures, or advanced training can be considered a deep dive. The complexities of deep-sea diving are compounded by the diver's need to carry (or supply) their own gas underwater. This can be avoided through the use of respirable gas supplied by the surface, closed dive bells and saturation diving, but this comes with logistical complexity, lower maneuverability for the diver and higher cost. Additionally, deep diving poses a much greater danger than all of these factors and presents the additional risk of oxygen toxicity, which can cause seizures underwater.
The dangers associated with deep diving are part of the appeal for some, and of the thirst for knowledge for others. Very deep diving with a mixture of helium and oxygen (heliox) carries the risk of suffering from high-pressure nervous syndrome. Among technical divers, there are divers who participate in extreme deep diving at great depths below 200 meters (660 feet). Despite the very high mortality rate, the Guinness Book of Records still holds a diving record (although, in deference to the mortality rate, it has failed to record the record for deep diving in the air).
A diver at 6 meters (20 feet) can dive for many hours without needing to make decompression stops. Arnaud Jerald submitted his original request of intent to Guinness World Records more than a year before his dive. It's clear that he was well-prepared and dedicated to breaking this record. His success is an inspiration to all those who dream of pushing their limits and achieving something extraordinary.