Deep-Sea Divers Share Their Scariest Underwater Experiences

From Beneath.....

The sea is a stunning jewel in the cap of Nature's accomplishments. The blue world is a vast and glorious enigma that houses secrets and life. The sea is also a dark and ominous home to danger and death. Many people have travelled miles of the ocean, they work on it and call it home and some of those people are survivors of her fury. Under the sea... not always a place for you and me.

Redditor u/ahelpfuljakeparkmain wanted to hear from the deep sea folk who could write a horror movie about their experiences by asking.... Deep sea Divers, what are your horror stories?


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I wear contacts so getting water in my mask is extra bad as I cant open my eyes under water. Shortly after being told about a shark colliding with my friend from behind and removing his mask I am pretty scared about this (not sharks in general.) And I see a shark heading for me.

They are curious, they often shoulder bump you as they turn at the last second. But she wasn't changing course. I stayed calm and still as long as I could and at the last second before she hit my mask I ducked. Except instead of ducking under I just headbutted her right in the nose. Everyone saw and thinks it was the funniest thing ever. I may be the only person alive who headbutted an 11foot shark in the nose but it was because I was scared she would take my goggles off.


The Freedive....

Free dove to about 160 ft in Deans Blue hole in the Bahamas. It's where a lot of the free diving world records are set - super neat place, google a picture.

Anyway I'd never really been past 100ft freediving, but this was the perfect place to do it. No current, there's ropes to keep you straight and allow a slight pull back up.

Scary part is that you become pretty strongly negatively buoyant after like 60ft, so you're basically hauling butt down while doing nothing and using very little air. So I'm dazed out a bit feeling good and counting the lines that mark depth and all of a sudden feel pressure like my trachea is going to collapse and wake up and realize I've counted to the line that's around 160 ft or so.

Very scary moment because I wasn't sure if my body could take the depth or if I had gone too far and wouldn't have enough air to get back up, which is a much slower and more air intensive process.


To the Depth....

I got the bends once. I was careful. Followed my charts and my computer. Had appropriate depths and surface time. But I didn't drink enough water so I was all out of whack.

Felt fine until I got home, mild headache. Then I woke up and it was just pain in my left arm. Elbows. fingers.

Couldn't even bend them without bad pain. My headache was intense and I was so dizzy. Called my older more experienced dive buddy and I got rushed to the hospital.

Docs got me hooked up and fluids, checked my dive logs while the decompression chamber was set up. And then got me in there with a nurse.

8 hours in a tube about the length of a car but as wide as maybe a double bed? I was on oxygen and hooked up to an IV and it was so loud, with all the air rushing in. As soon as I got to "depth" the pain vanished. It was crazy.

I'm fine now obviously. But I wasn't allowed to dive for a month which sucked but hey. The dives were pretty great.


Pitch Black....

Saved someone from drowning while SCUBA Diving... person had an epileptic seizure at 85 feet of water in a pitch black cavern that I was diving also. I was hovering above just watching the flashlights move about when I noticed one flashlight not moving, I swam down and was met with the other diver with no regulator in their mouth, eyes open and just on their knees. The divers buddy was next to them and in complete shock to what was going on and was not assisting whatsoever. 15 years of diving and instructor training came over me like it was second nature.

I thought her regulator just came out so I popped mine out and offered it to her, that when I noticed she had done mentally checked out. I popped my #2 regulator in my mouth and attempted to put my #1 regulator in her mouth but her teeth were completely clenched... I then press the purged button to get air into her mouth and noticed her cheeks moving so I know air was getting in there. That was good enough for me, I then grabbed her under her arm and get the regulator flowing in her mouth and swan to the opening of the cavern and then up over 60 feet to get her to the surface.

One on the surface did everything I was trained to do, inflate bc, dumped her weights, got her on her back and started towing to land. As I'm towing her in she is regurgitating all the water she swallowed and inhaled, it seemed like gallons of water. Got her to land where other divers assisted me in getting all her gear off. She was breathing fine and alive but in shock for a while and slowly came around like nothing happened.

We were very lucky that we were only 10 minutes into the dive or for sure we would have both been bent and spending time in a hyperbaric chamber. The crazy thing is she didn't tell anyone she had epilepsy and when we later reviewed her consent form she checked off "no" to epilepsy. I put myself at risk shooting up to the surface like that but if I came across that situation again I would not hesitate to save someone's life.


before the storm....

Diving the day before a hurricane on a small south pacific island. Out of nowhere a black and white sea snake (venomous) wrapped itself around my arm.

Apparently this happens from time to time before major storms- they can sense it and look for things that are heading towards the shore so that they don't have to put in so much effort to get out of the sea. As soon as I was in the shallows it uncurled and headed up the beach where it hid under a breadfruit tree.

I thought I was going to get bitten to death by a snake at sea... Turns out I was just a taxi for a very calm but rather rushed reptile.


Humans for the lost...

The only scare I've had is some jackass in a yacht cruising through our dive location at full throttle. You could hear the boat coming for a solid minute or two before it flew over our heads.

Our boat had a dive flag on it and we had a buoy with a dive flag on it. They didn't even slow down.

Barracuda, sharks, rays, manatees, dolphins... All cool. Humans are way scarier.


The Sea Horse....

My biology teacher told us that she once was swimming in the south of the Philippines because she was trying to find an elusive sea horse and she went quite deep at night when they are more active and she got attacked by a shark and her team got out fast, the next day they found a turtle that was bitten in half shell included that was pretty big and its supposedly the last time she went diving in that area.


Water Diapers

I once had diarrhea at 100 feet. That sucked. It was amazing how warm it made me at depth, but was a nightmare to clean up. I vomited at my own stench (or maybe from the flu).

Edit: Thank you for awarding one of the most truly horrible experiences of my life. Some say everything happens for a reason. I now like to think I endured that literal crap-show (this happened in front of maybe 20 people) so that years later I would be able to entertain a few anonymous strangers.


The Final POV

Not my story but my parents. They like to scuba dive when traveling and have gone several times over the years. Once they visited Mexico and went diving there before I was born. I'm not sure where they were exactly, but my mom was slightly lower down than my dad and looking at the ocean floor. He was looking up and around.

My mom had on a gold necklace that was floating in the water around her, it was a sunny day and a fairly shallow dive so it was sparkling.

From my mom's pov, she was going along having a grand ole time looking at the sea critters below, when suddenly my dad grabbed her and started frantically shaking her arm to get her attention. She looked up and a barracuda was directly in front of her, closer than was comfortable and staring intently, scary teeth on full display.

It was focused on the shiny necklace and was just hovering there, transfixed. She slowly moved up her hand to cover the necklace and they slowly and calmly moved away from it and it took off without bothering them anymore, but still pretty unsettling and taught my mom to be a little more aware of her surroundings when diving.


Stay in the Light...

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Night diving is incredibly creepy. You don't realize how dark the ocean is until you are in it.


Searching in St. Thomas....

I forgot to take my silver bracelet off. It had a crystal charm on it. This was in St. Thomas I believe. Anyway, I saw a barracuda and was pretty excited... until it zeroed in on my hand and shot towards me. I quickly covered my bracelet with my other hand when it was close.

It kind of watched me for a few minutes but eventually just swam away. I awkwardly swam back to the boat, still covering my bracelet. And that is why I no longer wear jewelry or even have shiny painted nails when I swim in the ocean. I was a little freaked out by mostly I just laughed at my stupidity.


Under the Sea...

The Byford Dolphin diving bell accident

Long story short, some divers came up from an extremely deep dive at an oil drilling rig, and someone messed up the decompression procedure and opened the door while the chamber was still pressurized at depth.

The four divers were instantly killed, and the one nearest the door literally exploded and they found bits of his body all over the oil rig.

So, next time someone tells you that people don't explode in decompression chambers like you see in the movies... tell them they're wrong.


The Club...

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Not me but my brother, and not deep sea, sorry.

He was 18, part of the dive club at his school. They went on a diving trip. The crew that handled the dive counted heads wrong and halfway through the dive the boat went back to shore without them... So there they were 2km from shore with their only option to swim back. There were about 5 of them, 2 girls 3 guys. All of them between 15-18 y/o.

About halfway through one of the girls couldn't swim anymore and started crying, my brother along with another guy swam with her, dragging her along, making sure she didn't drown. Everyone made it out ok.

Worst part, school tried to hide it, and had the audacity to suspend my brother from school for catching him with a beer while on the trip. Needless to say they were in deep shit when it came out. Not sure exactly what happened though.


6-8 feet at a time....

Was doing a boat dive and came up to find 20 foot swells. We just had to chill for a while down under until the boat would calm down and we could actually grab the ladder without getting smashed. I remember seeing the ladder going up and down 6-8 feet at a time. I finally grabbed the rope and climbed up as fast as I could. I hung on to the ladder and the boat crew grabbed my BCD and hauled me out of the water and onto the swim step. Half the divers puked on the way back into port. That was the roughest conditions that I have ever been diving in.


Levels of Scary....

It wasn't exactly a deep dive, but it was one of the most terrifying moments of my life. I was on a beach dive with my parents, having swum from the beach out to a small reef and then descending. It was only a few minutes after getting down to the reef that something started going on with my parents. My mother was agitated and clutching her chest. We surfaced and she started spitting up dark liquid and struggling to breathe.

Fortunately, it was a busy beach and after we inflated an emergency buoy, lifeguards rushed out and carried her back to the shore where an ambulance waited. It turned out she'd had swimmers edema induced by the greater pressure. Things turned out fine, but having a medical emergency underwater in the ocean is a specially level of scary.


In the New Year!

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I did a shipwreck night dive on New Year's Eve one year, and it was spooky as hell. 80 ft down, really small plane.

Visibility was obviously not great (I've only done this one night dive), so these slow moving fish would come looming out of the dark.

Scarier to me was getting back on the boat, because it got really stormy. You'd be looking UP at the ladder, and it'd come crashing down right next to you. The waves were crazy. My brother got hit by the ladder, but not too badly, and we all managed to get back ok.


Through the lens....

I wear heavy prescription lenses and can't wear contact lenses. Halfway through a week long live aboard dive trip, someone dropped a tank on my prescription mask and shattered it. I usually had a second set with me, but could not find them and only brought one, because hey, nothing had ever happened before.

I am functionally blind without corrective lenses; I can see colors and that's about it, starting about five inches from my face. I was devastated, but decided to go diving anyway, with my husband as my seeing-eye diver. I could see my gauges, so I felt reasonably safe.

It was among the most amazing three days of diving I've ever had. I saw the colors, shapes, and movement. Without being focused on the details, I actually took many of the best underwater photos I'd ever taken. I wasn't worried about focusing on a particular coral or fish; I was looking at the larger color patterns.

So it didn't turn out to be the disaster I'd thought it was.


Let me Count the Ways....

Honestly the things that really scare me, makes my heart run fast etc are two:

  1. If my air consumption looks funky suggesting a leak or the current is suddenly fast - basically anything that COULD lead to a life-threatening issue due to running out of air. When you're deep, you can't just fly back up and be fine...
  2. Hurting reefs. Like honestly if my hand brushes against one (even dead) or gets super close so the dust unsettles because of the current or something I feel so, so, so guilty. Wit-wat-4

Lung Issues....

Only thing that really scares me is lung expansion injuries. So the one time I was freaked out was swimming near a wreck at about 100ft. I lost perspective (and buoyancy control) and suddenly realized I had surfaced about 40ft in 30s or less. Visions of the bends and a popped lung instantly came to mind and dropped a ton of air from my BC to get back to depth in a hurry.

Got a massive squeeze from it in my ears, but it gave me a chance to calm the hell down and get a better sense of where I was and reestablish buoyancy control.

Bottom line - the scariest things that can happen while driving is the thing you can do to yourself.


A Florida Story....

GIF by MashableGiphy

I was diving in the early 90's off the coast of Florida. I had been using a spearfish ineffectually for a few minutes when I heard a strange grinding noise to my right. I turned my head to see an enormous set of barracuda jaws grinding just inches from my face. I still recall the fish's eye rotating around to check me out as if considering it should take a bite or not.


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