What Are My Diving Depth Limits?

padi recreational dive planner

What Are My Diving Depth Limits?

One question we are commonly asked by beginners is “How deep will I go?” But qualified divers, who may forget their own limitations, also ask us this. Even recreational scuba divers, who have a diving license, are subject to limits on depth. These limits are set for safety reasons and depend on how much training you have. In general, you should follow these guidelines:

Adults:

  1. PADI Discover Scuba Diving Course – 40ft/12m
  2. Successive dives for non-qualified divers – 40ft/12m
  3. First and second training dives of Open Water Training – 40ft/12m
  4. Third and fourth dives of the Open Water Training – 60ft/18m
  5. PADI Certified Open Water Divers or equivalent – 60ft/18m
  6. PADI Certified Advanced Open Water Divers or equivalent – 100ft/30m
  7. Experience Certified Divers with Deep Dive Training – 130ft/40m

Children: 

  1. Children age 8-9 years old – 6ft/2m
  2. Children age 10-11 years old – 40ft/12m

Teenagers:

  1. Age 12-14 with PADI Junior Open Water Diver Certificate – 60ft/18m
  2. Age 12-14 (Advanced Junior Open Water Diver Certificate – 70ft/21m
  3. Age 15+ - same as the adult maximum depths 

Can I exceed these set limitations?

Divers often get carried away and go deeper than they should. If you are diving without a guide, then you must keep a check on your depth gauge or your dive computer to ensure you do not exceed your limitations. If you are diving with a dive computer, you should have warning signals/alarms from your computer to let you know that you are going too deep, the computer will also indicate how much safety stop you will need to do to be safe from decompression sickness. If you do go into a deco dive, then your computer will indicate this and you will need to stay in shallow water for a longer period of time than a standard 3-minute safety stop. The amount of time will depend on how deep you went and how long for. Of course, you need to check that you will have enough air supply to do your decompression stop. So, it is much easier and safer to stay within your limits. If you hear of divers exceeding their 40m depths, they are most likely talking about technical diving, which requires specialist training and does not come under the category of recreational diving. Technical diving usually involves using special equipment as well as mixed gases. So, remember to always dive safe and never exceed your limits. There is always something interesting to see underwater, even in the shallows.