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, free diving courses are only offered at Divetech and Ambassador Divers. However, with the increasing popularity of this sport, it is expected that other operators will start to introduce lessons.
These courses vary from half-day experiences to a full certification course. Divetech's Experience Programme is designed for snorkellers who would like to increase their capabilities in the water. Ambassador Divers offers a PFI 20m/66ft class. Both course include 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.
To connect with other free divers, visit the Free Diving Association Facebook page.