Diving, using trapped/contained ambient pressure air with no air-supply connection to the surface, likely began many centuries ago. With enough weight to counteract the buoyancy of the trapped air, almost anything is possible, and was probably attempted. Breath-hold or 'free' diving's origins, however, can be traced back to several thousand years BC, most likely attempts to salvage sunken treasure from wrecked ships. Both commercially and recreationally, free diving is still, by far, the most common and frequent. Cheapest, too. Strictly speaking, however, Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus, or SCUBA, using pressurized (150 atmospheres/approx 5300(!!!)lbs) air with a downstream user-demand regulator valve can be very closely dated. In his (highly reccomended) 1953 book, "The Silent World", Capitaine Jacques-Yves Cousteau describes how, in June, 1943, he first tested (his own design of) the world's first (23kg) 'aqualung', accompanied by Phillipe Taillez as (surface) dive-boat 'tender' and Frederic "Didi" Dumas as 'safety' (skin) chase diver. Capitaine Cousteau's wife, Simone was to observe only, using mask and schnorkle.
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