Is Scuba Diving Considered A Sport?

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SCUBA diving is an exciting experience combining physical activity, exploration, and competition. It has been a popular pastime for decades and is a source of excitement and adventure for many people.

But is it considered a sport? Let’s find out.

What Is SCUBA Diving?

Scuba diving is a form of underwater diving where the diver uses a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) to breathe. It allows the diver to stay underwater for extended periods and explore the aquatic environment in a way impossible with snorkeling or other shallow-water diving.

Is SCUBA Diving A Sport?

The National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA) defines a sport as “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment or exercise.” With this definition in mind, it becomes clear that SCUBA diving fits the criteria to be considered a sport. 

Reason 1: Scuba Diving Requires Physical Exertion

The diver must use their body to move through the water under the surface and operate their breathing equipment. Divers also need to have good balance and coordination when underwater and the strength to carry their gear around with them. Advanced divers also learn skills, such as buoyancy control, that require significant physical ability.  

Reason 2: Scuba Diving Involves Skill

A diver must know how to properly use their dive gear and navigate underwater safely. There are also numerous certifications available for divers of all levels where they can further develop their skillset by learning more about the marine environment and safety protocols while underwater. 

Reason 3: There Is Competition Involved In Scuba Diving 

Competitions often involve timed dives at different depths followed by evaluating each diver’s performance based on criteria such as speed, air consumption rate, navigation accuracy, or buoyancy control technique used during the dive. This adds an element of entertainment and exercise.

With these competitions come rewards such as cash prizes or recognition from peers within the industry, which can help motivate divers to reach higher levels of expertise in their chosen field of study.  

Is Scuba Diving Safe?

Scuba diving is a relatively safe activity, but some risks are involved, as with any sport. The most common risk is drowning, which can occur if the diver panics or loses control of their breathing.

Other hazards include decompression sickness (“the bends”), nitrogen narcosis, and barotrauma. Most scuba diving accidents are preventable with proper training, experience, and safety devices such as dive computers and alarms.


All in all, SCUBA diving meets the criteria set forth by the NSGA for being considered a sport. It requires physical exertion and skill while incorporating competition and entertainment/exercise elements into its practice.