History and Development of Diving
The first ever attempts on diving were made by the ancient people who hunted for food and other valuable resources such as pebbles, corals and pearls. This eventually evolved into semi commercial diving during the Greek and Roman reign with the establishment of marine salvage and sponge diving. The history of Military diving runs down to the early wars like the Peloponnesian War and diving was also being used for sporting and recreational purposes.
Supplying air to the diver was a crucial problem during the early stages. Diving bells bought in a solution to this problem during the 16th and 17th centuries. It should also be noted the divers were being provided with a helmet to source the air supply. This was later on developed as a waterproof kit for the betterment of the diver.
Divers were keen to explore methods to stay safe underwater for a longer period of time, and this necessity arose after the 1700's. People came up with different solutions to overcome this issue. These were known as rebreathing devices back then. They were finally able to come up with a fully functioning rebreathing device during the 1940's. Jacques Cousteau and engineer Emilie Gagnan took initiatives to develop this device. This is probably the turning point of diving which established a sense of safety within the minds of people. People were actually moving in thousands to explore the waters.
It is quite clear that diving for commercial purposes may have begun based in Ancient Greece. Plato and Homer provide witness for this with a sponge being used for bating. The Kalymons Island was a popular center for sponge diving during the ancient times. The professional divers had the facilities to dive up to a maximum of 30 meters to collect sponges and they could hold their breath under water for a period of 5 minutes.
The limits and regulations on professional diving have been subjected to various changes over the years. It should be noted that the limit set for an autonomous diver through the EN 14153-2 / ISO 24801-2 standard is 20 meters which is roughly about 66 feet. The range for professional divers varies upon the capacity of the diver. A PADI diver could dive up to 30 meters, the limit at which the adults display symptoms of nitrogen narcosis. The Recreational Scuba council has set a maximum depth of 40 Meters for their divers and the British Sub-Aqua Club have set a limit of 50 meters for their divers.
Though the systems and device for diving had been developed, there wasn't a professional organization to guide and the train the divers. This gap was filled by John Cronin and Ralph Erickson in the year 1996. They took initiatives to create the world famous PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors). This was another key turning point in the history of diving. After the establishment, they have managed to issue over a million of certificates on diving and people have placed great trust on this professional body.