Thursday January 23 2020
June 20, 2013

Sex Underwater

Before starting to talk about sex underwater, I want to ask you a simple question. How many scuba divers you think are there on the world? Thousands? Millions? Billions? Make a guess. When I have planned writing about sex underwater, I have estimated that there should be 8 billion people living on the world. And if 1/1000 people are diving, then it makes 8.000.000 divers on the earth! But when I started to search, I have realized that I was wrong.

How Many Scuba Divers On Earth?

Renee Duncan, from Divers Alert Network says that there’s not an exact number of divers worldwide. However, Divers Alert Network has been using a range 1 million-3 millions in their reports.

Ben Davison, publisher of Undercurrent has written an article about this. Davison says that his research shows us that there are 1.2 million active divers (Davison defines active diver as “a diver who makes at least 5 dives in a year”) on the world.

In addition to this number, PADI, SSI,  NAUI and SDI have declared that more than 170.000 new divers are certified in 2002. Of course there are also other diving agencies. I can clearly say that every year, more than 200.000 new divers are joining scuba diving community.

Gender Rate of the Scuba Divers

In Australia, there are 36.000 certified scuba divers who are older than 18 years old. The demographics of these scuba divers in Australia is such:

  • 22.600 of the divers are man (65,4%).
  • Majority of them live in New South Wales and Queensland
  • On average, they have never been married and Australian born

Let’s look at PADI’s graph of scuba diver gender globally year by year starting from 2007.


 As you see here, males are dominant in scuba diving. And there is not an obvious change in last 5 years. The question is, WHY?

Reasons of Men Dominancy In Scuba Diving

This can vary from culture to culture. In some countries, women are still struggling for making their sound heard, get elected and etc. So not only in scuba diving, women rates are very low in almost every sector in such countries.

Another reason can be about slenderness. Cold and need for endurance may be perceived “more suitable” for men.

Lots of people think that women are getting panicked easily compared to men.

Think about hunting underwater. Possibly, diving was invented due to hunting issues to provide food. And in ancient times, men were hunting, women were gathering. This “start” might still be in our minds and illustrates scuba diving as a “man activity”.

 Haenyo: Sea woman of Korea

In Jeju, Korea diving was a “man job” until 19th century. Right after this, government has raised the taxes of men. Diving was not a bread maker anymore. Life in Jeju was connected with sea products. At last, women have started to dive and bring money to their homes.

Everything changed. Males have started to shop and look after the babies and women were working underwater to earn money with lower taxes.

These women divers are called “Haenyo” which means sea women in local language. A Haenyo can hold her breath for 2 minutes and dive as deep as 20 meters. They are not scuba divers, but freedivers to collect sea products to sell and consume.

A Haenyo’s life is hard. They should collect as much sea product as possible to earn money. Staying in water for hours requires endurance. Safety is another problem. A Haenyo should avoid possible dangers would come from jellyfish and sharks.

Haenyo Is Becoming History?

Especially after 1970’s, sea product export has increased. This made Haenyo rich. They have fixed their houses and send their daughters to college.  These daughters then grew up and started to work in tourism sector in Jeju or even in bigger cities. They didn’t become a Haenyo.

In 1950, there were about 30.000 Haenyo on the island and in 2003 their number was just 5.650 and 85% of this number is 50 years old or older. Haenyo is dying. I don’t want this sea culture to disappear. And I congratulate these great moms!


The sex rate in scuba diving shows us a great man dominancy. My personal records as an instructor tells me that 40% of my students are female. I want to see more female scuba diving. Yes, it is more aesthetic, no lies. But it is also about demolishing the taboo of “scuba is a man-activity” and share the underwater with women more than these ratio. Everybody can dive.

I want to share two great web-sites. These sites founded by female divers. I really advise you to take a look around.

Women Divers Hall of Fame 

Scuba Diver Girls

Scuba diver girls! I want to hear your comments below.


Haenyo photo:–Do_not_use_this_folder_at_al/About_PADI/PADI_Statistics/2012%20WW%20Statistics.pdf

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About Seaman


Hi, my name is Murat Demirağ. I have been diving since 1996 and teaching scuba since 2005. I wanted to share my knowledge through

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