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Bet You Didn’t Know: Scuba Diving by the Numbers

Author: Maduro Dive Staff

For all the changes that have happened in scuba diving over the past 20 years, some things have stayed rather constant. A quick look at stats from PADI show some familiar trends (that actually aren’t that surprising) but interesting all the same.

A third of divers are female: Think scuba diving is a man’s sport? Think again. Since 2006, more than a third of all certifications have been issued to female divers. To many people, SCUBA diving is one of the few “gender neutral” sports where men and women can participate equally. Going back into the 1980’s and 1990’s, the percentage of female participants hasn’t changed all that much.

Photo courtesy of

According to Scott D. Jones, publisher of, “Women have always been a part of diving. Modern equipment has become more lightweight and user-friendly allowing both men and women to enjoy the sport equally. In diving’s early days, there was a much more ‘military-based’ feel to training. Modern certification programs still stress safety and education but in a more effective and inclusive manner.”

You’re Never too YOUNG to get started: Scuba certification trends have also held steady over the last 20 years when you examine the AGE of new divers. PADI worldwide statistics show that the average age of scuba certification is 29. To break that down more specifically, the median age for men is 30, while the median age for women is 27.

Photo courtesy of PADI

“Diving still appeals to a wide cross-section of people, but it’s the younger ones who are the lifeblood of the industry,” Jones points out. “Consumers who are just out of college are looking for a diversion and SCUBA represents a challenge. In many ways, it’s something that virtually everyone has thought about, but a smaller number actually take the plunge and dive into scuba.”

In total, PADI reports that the organization issued 930,000 certifications last year and that the cumulative number of certifications is more than 20 million.

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