Spearfishers like to challenge themselves by pushing themselves to new limits while exploring the depth of the ocean. A deeper dive usually yields more diverse fish of a much larger size.
Spearfishing isn’t a sport that has strict depth rules. Since there are no guidelines about how deep a diver should go, it usually depends on a diver’s ability and preference.
If you’re a spearo, then you must’ve heard this question a lot; what is your average spearfishing depth? In this article, we’ll be discussing that in addition to record-holding depths. We’ll also address shallow water blackout, deep water blackout, and some safety tips for freedivers and spearfishers.
The Average Spearfishing Depth
Diving isn’t an exact science. How deep each diver can go is dependent on the diver. With that said, most spearfishers tend to stick to depths between 5-25 meters.
Moreover, there isn’t a specified distance from the shore at which you should dive. It all depends on personal preference. You’re equally likely to run into trouble at 100 meters out as 1 kilometer out.
Why Do Spear-fishers Limit Themselves?
Most spearfishers limit how deep they dive. If deeper diving means larger fish, then why don’t they go as deep as possible?
When diving, you will often have to sacrifice time spent fishing for depth since going deeper requires more energy and time.
Some spearfishers choose not to venture too deep because it requires more frequent adjustment of their masks and ears to the increasing external pressure.
Additionally, the deeper you go, the higher the risk. With increased depth and pressure, the diver is more susceptible to oxygen toxicity because their body absorbs more oxygen. Oxygen toxicity can lead to life-threatening side effects. These side effects include:
- Tunnel Vision
- Loss of Consciousness
The Deeper Dive
The divers who dare to venture further than others usually dive to about 60 to 70 meters using weights. These weights pull them down and are released once the fisher starts hunting. It accelerates their plunge and helps them conserve their energy.
However, divers that go that deep have specific rules and techniques that they must follow. These include:
- Customized breathing exercises
- Diving partners
- Having a rescue boat nearby at all times
Diving in such a manner is considered an extreme sport and isn’t usually attempted by the average divers.
Freediving is a form of diving that relies on the divers’ ability to hold their breath while diving. This is a term that encompasses many types of diving. Some examples of freediving include:
- Free Immersion Freediving (FIM)
- No Limits Freediving (NLT)
- Variable Weight Freediving (VWT)
The current world record for the deepest dive is 214 meters and is held by Herbert Nitsch. The longest time a spearfishing diver has held their breath while diving is 8 minutes and 35 seconds. This record is held by Brandon Hendrickson.
Shallow Water Blackout
Shallow water blackout refers to when a diver loses consciousness due to cerebral hypoxia. This usually occurs at depths less than 5 meters and is usually a result of hyperventilation directly before a dive.
People who suffer from shallow water blackouts don’t always feel the urgent need to breathe before losing consciousness. Victims can be experienced divers.
Deep Water Blackout
Deepwater blackout is common amongst divers who practice dynamic apnea at depths exceeding 10 meters. This may cause a rapid drop in the partial pressure of oxygen of the lungs and results in loss of consciousness.
How to Assist Blackout Divers
Time is of the essence when dealing with anyone unconscious. To take care of an unconscious diver, follow these steps:
- Cradle the diver’s neck and ensure that no water enters their mask or mouth by covering both with your free hand.
- Swim to the surface immediately.
- At the surface, ensure that the diver’s airway is open by tilting their head slightly upwards.
- Put the diver on the boat/floatation device.
- Wait for the diver to reawaken.
For divers suffering from shallow water blackout, the recovery time should be 3-10 seconds. Deepwater blackout victims will require a slightly longer recovery period of 10-30 seconds.
Halt all diving activities for the rest of the day! First aid training and CPR is essential for anyone planning on diving as it may be a lifesaver.
Spearfishing depends heavily on the environment. Harsh environments can make spearfishing too dangerous. So it is vital to make sure not to take the plunge unless you are as sure as possible that it is safe.
Don’t Dive After It Has Just Rained.
Rain is one factor that is hard to control and can have a massive effect on visibility, especially when you are shore diving. Even if the amount of rain seems insignificant, it can lead to run-off of dirt into the water.
Do Check the Wind and Ground-Swell Before Diving.
Other environmental factors include wind and ground-swell. It is better to embark on your spearfishing expedition when both wind and swell are low for ideal diving conditions.
Don’t Stay in the Water for Too Long
Bluewater diving comes with an added risk. Being left in the water for such long periods can lead to sensory deprivation. In turn, this could lead to the misidentification of a fish which could be fatal.
Don’t Dive Alone.
The final thing to consider is sharks. Everyone knows that sharks don’t view humans as delicious snacks. Regardless of this fact, there has been an increase in the shark population and aggression. This makes it easy to fear them. For this reason alone, it is imperative that you don’t go spearfishing alone. It’s essential to have someone who can watch your back.
Spearfishing is a fun and more effective way of fishing if done correctly. There’s no limit to how deep you can go. The average depth that most divers stick to is 5-25 meters. Diving beyond this depth is considered an extreme sport. Few divers opt to dive 60-70 meters deep.
Free-diving relies on the diver’s capability to hold their breath. It’s worth noting that the world record depth is 214 meters. However, diving, especially at extreme depths, can be dangerous. But, you can be safe while spearfishing basically by following all the guidelines and having a companion.