And the Beat Goes On: Part Two of Recent Underwater Records

Stephen Weir Writes a Story so that he can get a Guinness Book of World Records' Listing (most scuba record stories by a writer in an attic on a Mac) PART TWO

Dive Record Story continues from
I have been writing on a casual basis about underwater records for Diver Magazine, and this website. A colleague of mine at Diver Magazine, Quebec based diver/explorer/film maker/ record keeper Jeffrey Gallant, has set up a website to keep track of the many underwater records set – some are Guinness records, others are simply proclaimed by individuals (who may have had a record amount of Guinness).!/pages/Drummondville-QC/The-Diving-Almanac-Book-of-Records/303917838845?ref=ss
Since I last wrote about underwater record attempts in 2008 I have received emails and clippings about over 30 new underwater feats of daring and foolishness. This is the second posting on my website to note these new world records. These scuba acheivements, Par Two include in no particular order:

Record: The Longest Open Saltwater Scuba Dive. Guinness

Details: On September 19th 2009 35-year old Irishman Sean McGahern broke the record for Longest Open Saltwater Scuba Dive. McGahern stayed underwater, near the Westin Dragonara Resort (Malta), for 25 hours and 10 minutes. The previous record was 24 hrs. McGahern, a bouncer at a bar when he isn’t diving, stayed at 15 meters in a dry-suit and full-face mask. This was his second attempt.
When contacted by this website in late March about his record he said “Yes I am still the holder of the Guinness World Record … not the World Record … as the World Record dive is set at 6 meters while the Guinness World Record is set at a minimum of 11meters.” In 2011 the diver plans to go back underwater to set three Guinness World Record including the first underwater circumnavigation of Gozo (a Maltese island).
According to British news sources, around the time that McGahern made his dive, British diver Will Goodman claimed he was the record holder with a 33 hour 34 minute dive in Gili Trawangan; Lombok, Indonesia made April 15 2008. There is an 8-minute video of his dive at:
As well, a year before McGahern’s dive, Brazilian Robert Silva claimed to have set a record with an uninterrupted dive of 48hr 3min. Guinness has not recognized the claim.

Record: Longest Scuba Dive in a controlled environment. Guinness

Details: A Guinness World Record was set in an Istanbul parking lot back on September 4th, 2009. That is when Cem Karabay set the Longest Scuba Dive in a controlled environment (a large fresh water tank with a glass window). The 37-year old diver stayed under water for five days

Record: 100 meters in Constant Weight, Free Diving. AIDA (International Association for the Development of Free Diving) certified

Details: Russian free diver Natalia Molchanova, became the first woman in the world to make the AIDA (International Association for the Development of Free Diving) 100 meters in Constant Weight. The 47-year old set a mark of 101 meters at Sharm el Sheik, Egypt in the Ruler of the Deep competition. Her total dive time was 3 minutes and 50 seconds. Her record dive can be seen at:
According to a press release issued by the sponsoring Underwater Channel TV, this is the 25th diving record set by Mochanova.

Record: Swimming to depth with fin while breath holding. United States Apnea Association National Free Diving certified

Detail: In early December the United States Apnea Association (USAA) is announced that Robert King, had set a new national record for swimming to depth with a fin while holding his breath. According to the USAA King reached a depth of 84 meters (275 feet) on December 1, 2009 at Dean’s Blue Hole on Long Island in the Bahamas during the AIDA Individual Depth Free diving World Championship. “This dive ties the existing Continental Record held by William Winram of Canada,” reads a press release issued by the USAA. King has broken his own record of 83 meters / 272 feet that was set earlier in the year.

Record: Best Male Free Diver in the World. Presented by ICARE (International Center for Apnea Recognition and Education)

Martin Stepanek is a world-class free diver. In 2009 he set a world record in the constant weight discipline becoming the first man to dive 400 feet on one breath of air in 3 minutes and 36 seconds. For that win and many other records made by the Czech free diver over the past six years, the International Center for Apnea Recognition and Education named him the Best Male Free Diver in the World … for 2009. Stepanek also spent an afternoon in Pompano Beach showing Stephen Weir ( / Diver Magazine) how to hold his breath underwater, increasing his bottom time by 10% - from 60 seconds to 66-seconds (which must also be some sort of underwater record).

Record: Being one of the most popular Guinness Book of World Record Holders. Guinness

Details: The votes are in and the public has chosen their top Guinness World Records of the decade! There is an underwater feat included in the top ten. Tom Sietas (Germany) held his breath underwater for 17 minutes and 33 seconds. Sietas finished 5th behind Ashrita Fuman (Balancing a Pool Cue while Walking the Longest Distance at the Pyramids), Gary Dushci (Longest Chewing Gum-wrapper Chain - 17,760 meters or 58,266 feet), Jamaica’s Usian Bolt (Fastest 100 meter run) and Homer Simpson (Longest Running Sitcom). Siesta has already discovered that Guinness fame is fleeting -- see next item.

Record: Breath holding underwater. Guinness

Details According to a Swiss news agency, free diver Peter Colat has set a new Guinness World Record for holding a breath underwater. The 38-year old had a recorded breath hold (oxygen assisted static apnea) of 19 minutes and 21 seconds. “ Under the Guinness Book rules,” reported the Swiss news agency, “ Colat was allowed to inhale pure oxygen ten minutes before his attempt.”

Record: World’s Largest Partially Submerged Underwater Museum. Self Proclaimed.

Details: In late Spring 2009 the Baiheliang Museum was opened in the famed Three Gorges Dam area (Yangtze River) Fuling City, China. The museum is built 40 meters below the surface of the river. The building protects a reef created 1,200 years ago to measure the changes in the water level. The museum also protects a number of cultural heritage artifacts that were in danger of being destroyed by river water when the Three Gorges Dam was built. Visitors enter the underwater museum at the top of the Gorge.

Record First Game of Billiards to be played underwater. Self Proclaimed.

Details: Sabir Bux, a well-known Indian musician and diver, wants to hold an underwater billiards tournament with some of the world’s best players. Earlier this year he played Ahsan ul-Haque (a national-level) underwater in the Bay of Bengal.
The two played for over an hour at a depth of 7-meters on a large iron table weighing 62 kg. Special weighted balls were used. Even though the date for the world’s first underwater tourney has not been set, Bux figures that his warm-up match qualified him for some sort of record since no one has ever played a billiards match underwater, at least as far as he can tell.

Record: World’s longest running underwater chess tournament. Self Proclaimed

Chess playing Certified divers in Formby, England, lined up to compete in an underwater tournament in a local pool last September 2009. The event started at 9am when the first two divers descended to commence the first round of chess and the divers rotated in pairs throughout the day -- completing the matches at around 5pm. The tourney was done to “raise money for charity.” No winner was announced, however it is known that some players were disqualified because of buoyancy problems. In 2008 two grand masters competed in an underwater chess match in Curacao. There is a video on YouTube of the match.
There is also a You Tube spoof about underwater chess at:

Record: World’s Largest Fully Submerged Underwater Museum. Pending.
Details: Mexico says that it is building the world’s largest underwater museum. Work has already begun on the Subaquatic Sculpture Museum, which is located, underwater, at the West Coast National Park in Quintana Roo, on the Yucatan Peninsula. Over 400 concrete statues are being sunk on the site. The Museum hopes that coral will grow on the art pieces, changing the look of the collection over time. Underwater artist Jason Taylor, who created the world’s first underwater sculpture park, is overseeing this future scuba tourism attraction.
Record: World’s biggest underwater birthday gift. Self proclaimed.
Details: The Miami-Dade Reef Guard Association sank a 210 ft long freighter on December 30th 2009 near Key Biscayne. This is the largest ship ever purposely sunk as an artificial reef in the region by and for sport diving. The association was able to purchase the 35-year old German built freighter thanks to a donation from the Brian and Lavinia Snyder Foundation. They have chosen to rename the wreck after their daughter, Ophelia, for her eighteenth birthday next year – hence the new underwater record. Prior to being the MS Ophelia Brian the ship was called the Sea Taxi and prior to that the Hoheburg.

Record: World’s strangest scuba jewelry. Designated by Stephen Weir & Associates

Details: Kate is a Missouri barista who works in a coffee shop in the town of Columbia. She is also a jewelry maker who likes to make things out of vintage buttons and Lego scuba diver mini figurines. She has made dangling earrings out of Lego figures, which she sells on her online shop - Ahlai! – at

Record: World’s Sexiest and best snorkeling and top wreck diving and novice dive beach (and country). Various

Long Bay Beach Resort, Tortola's only full service dive resort is built adjacent to one of the “ 2009 World’s Sexiest Beaches”, at least according to the Tortola is part of the British Virgin Islands. In the same year BVI was also named the "Top Wreck Diving," spot in the world, was in the Top Ten for "Top Snorkeling" for world’s best snorkeling and the World’s "Top Beginner Diving” locale. One suspects that Guinness took a pass on accepting these World Titles.


Top: Sean McGahern holds his Guinness certificate
Second from Top: Cem Karabay in the tank. Karabay publicity photo.
Natalia Molchanova: Photo by Mark Harris Flickr
Fourth from Top: Martin Stepanek demonstrating to Stephen Weir how to hold one's breath.
Third From Bottom: Surface entrance to China's underwater museum in the fame Three Gorges region
Second from Bottom: Statue has been put on the bottom of the Sea of Mexico's coast
Bottom: Lego Diver Earrings!


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