Free diving is a form of underwater diving that relies on a diver’s breath instead of breathing apparatus.
Being without equipment allows you to explore and interact with marine life while strengthening your lungs and toning your muscles. In 2019, Richard Collett, Cayman’s national free diving record holder, set two new national records in Roatan, Honduras. He first set a record of 196ft in the bi-fin constant weight category and then 213ft in the free immersions discipline category. In 2018, he also set three national records in Miami for holding his breath for 6 minutes, 17 seconds, swimming 166m with fins and 114m without. He has now set 18 national records.
Currently, Divetech (Tel: (345) 949 1700) is the only dive operator that offers free diving courses. However, with the increasing popularity of this sport, it is expected that other operators will start to introduce lessons.
The courses offered vary from a half-day experience to a full certification course. Their Experience Programme is a half-day course that will introduce you to tips and techniques that the world’s greatest free divers have evolved. It is designed for snorkellers who would like to increase their capabilities in the water. The course includes basic classroom lessons, followed by shallow water/pool skills and then open water free diving.
For those wanting to pursue free diving more seriously, there is the PADI Freediver (two days), PADI Advanced Freediver (two days), and the SSI Free Diving Certification. Level 1 of the SSI teaches you proper breathing techniques and introduces you to the purest form of diving. You will acquire the proper knowledge to participate in free diving depths of 60ft, as well as develop the skills necessary to train your body to be more efficient with breath-holding, gain better respiration and muscle flexibility. Level 1 is held over two full days and you must be 14 or older. Level 2 expands on what is learnt in level 1 and will teach you the skills to participate in free diving to depths of 98ft. It will also teach you dynamic free diving to 180ft and a static breath-hold for two and a half minutes in the most relaxed and safest manner possible. Level 2 is held over three full days, and you must be 16 or older, be able to swim 400m nonstop, have completed level 1 and logged 15 free diving sessions.