Different Types of Diving Explained

There are plenty of different diving certifications you can catch. From frozen seas over to sunken wracks… even time travel is possible in the world of diving. So let’s start with this handy guide for those who think that diving is just snorkeling around.

For starters: Freediving and scuba diving are the two main types of diving. Both mods have at least one subcategory with different requirements to ones level of experience and diving gear. Each type can be divided into professional or recreational diving.


Freediving also known as apnoea diving or skin diving is a form of underwater diving. Unlike scuba diving, where a breathing apparatus is key for divers, free diver rely on breath-holding until resurfacing. This oldest form of diving occurs merely with a wetsuit, diving mask, finned and snorkel. The world record for apnoea diving is held by Herbert Nitsch (the deepest man on earth) who dived 831 feet deep. If your planning to beat Herbert or if you want just a little taste of those underwater experience in your all inclusive resort, you may consider to take one AIDA or CMAS course. Other recognized agencies are also possible. But be patient. Freediving can cause severe damage to your organs, because of the difference in pressure. You may also drown or suffer from a shallow-water blackout. This form of lost consciousness is caused by a lack of oxygen. Please do not overestimate your skills. This should be a commonplace for every (water sport) activity.



If freediving is to much trouble for you, maybe snorkeling is something for you. Snorkeling is a popular vacation activity and is often practised by experienced non professional diver. The snorkeler swims most of the time near the water surface and breathes air through the snorkel. With his diver mask, the diver is ready to explore the underwater world.


SCUBA Diving

SCUBA is an acronym of “Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus”. The diver uses a compressed air cylinder, which provides the diver via regulator with diving gas for the reason of breathing under water. This scuba equipment enables the diver to dive longer at a stretch and allows a stress-free diving experience. If you planning to dive recreationally you may consider to book a course done by a certified instructor. Certifications from organizations like CMAS, NAUI, PADI, SSI, and TDISDI will be accepted by diving agencies all over the world.

Scuba Diver

Drift Diving

Drift diving is a particular kind of scuba diving which allows the diver to dive with the stream of waters caused by the tide. Due to the drift the diver experiences the sense of flying underwater. One is able to dive over a long distance and to experience a wide range of marine flora and fauna. Drift diving can be spectacular but even for skilled diver venturesome. A good underwater orientation is a must have for drift divers, or you will get literally lost. The required equipment is nearly identical with the standard scuba one. The only exception are surface marker buoy, which is used by the dive leader and delayed surface marker buoys, which relate to to the other diver for eventual deployment.

Technical Diving

Technical diving or tec diving is a another special type of scuba diving. The diver uses techniques and procedures ajar to professional diving. Through more sophisticated equipment are longer and deeper dives possible. Technical diving gear consists of scuba tanks with special and often different diving gas, stage tanks and a wing (also known as buoyancy compensator), which has an inflatable bladder.

Night Diving

Obviously night diving is diving during night. With the help of a diver light is it possible to discover marine animals, who are normally invisible for diver, because they are nocturnal. During a night dive are other codes of practice necessary. The communication between divers are based on gestures and standardized dive signs. During complete darkness is this a little bit more complicated. Night diver are using just one hand to communicate while these will lit by the other.

Night Diver

Ice Diving

Ice divers are exploring the water world under frozen over seas. Often the ice layer is inches thick and difficultly to break through. Ice diving is one of the most risky types of diving, because the resurfacing is not everywhere possible, not to mention the risk of hypothermia. Ice divers use highly specialised equipment. A dry suit prevents cooling and regulators are constructed in a way that makes freezing impossible. To be clear: Ice diving is nothing for beginner. Even experienced diver use dive ropes and a they limit their dive time to 30 minutes or less, because of the above mentioned risks. Ice divers often dive alone while the rest of the dive group guarantees the divers security. In return for all this stress will the diver experience a unique marine fauna with penguins, seals and many many other sea creatures.

Wreck Diving

Historical Diving

You are a fan of old timer and diving? Maybe historical diving is something for you. Historical divers use vintage dive technology like the standard diving dress (also known as aquanaut), which you may remember from novels like Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas. The centre of historical diving is the handling of dive technology which was state of the art between 1900 and 1950.

Historical Diving

Cave Diving

Caves, grottos or cenotes, many of them are completely or partially filled with water. Discovering those caves attracts more and more divers. This involves special kinds of risks like narrowness, darkness and disorientation. Due to the impossibility of resurfacing is self-control key and a lack of technical preparation the worth case. Cave diver need extra air supply, redundant equipment and a safety cord. To cave dive is often subject to approval, because of the above mentioned risk to divers and to possible harm to the cave itself. The CMAS (Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques or World Underwater Federation) subclassifies cave diving into three different zones.

Zone 1: Cavern

Cavern Diving means to dive in the entrance area of water filled grottos or natural/ unnatural caves with natural visible light.

Zone 2: Cave Diving

Cave Diving implies to dive in water filled natural or unnatural caves beyond natural light and in total darkness.

Zone 3: Full Cave

Full cave diver explore larger cave systems and they dive miles deep long on day long expeditions. We strongly advise you from self-taught approaches!

Cave Diving

Underwater orienteering

Underwater orienteering is an underwater sport with elements of orienteering race and finswimming. Technical understanding, coordinative and conditional skills are the main factor for a successful underwater orienteering experience. The CMAS hosts the Underwater Orienteering Championship. The diver needs to swim an underwater route through a marked course. The origin of underwater orienteering is based on military tradition USSR-Style. Each diver has as recreational diving equipment a diving mask, fins, a diving weighting system, an open circuit scuba set including diving cylinder filled with only breathing air of atmospheric origin and as instruments an underwater compass as well as a distance counting meter. Each diver also needs to tow a buoy to identify their location underwater.

Solo Diving

Solo diving refers to the practice of self-sufficient diving without a dive buddy. It is possible to dive solo as a free diver or as SCUBA diver. Solo diver dive on one’s own responsibility and should therefore be specially trained.

Underwater Photography

Maybe your waterproof smartphone will not work, but with specific underwater cameras or conventional photographers gear in pressurized and watertight cabinets is it possible to shoot some pictures no other has shoot before.

Wreck Diving

Shipwrecks attracts more and more diver. Out of interest on the sunken ship or because of the incredible marine flora and fauna which inhabit those artifacts. Wreck diving holds some hazards: altered flow conditions, lost fishing nets, stick out sharp edges, the lost of orientation while penetrating the wrack and injuries due to wrack collapsing. Not all wracks are titanics, pirate ships or lost vessels. You may also find air planes, buses, trains or submarines.

Wreck Diving