The Most Dangerous Places To Scuba Dive On Earth

Whether you’ve been scuba diving or not, it’s obvious that it’s an activity that is not for the faint of heart. Not only are you completely reliant on your equipment and a tank of air, but being so far beneath the surface places you in great danger with regard to wildlife, the conditions underwater, or even the possibility of getting lost or trapped. Although not all diving locations are terribly dangerous, there are those that even some of the most experienced and fearless divers are hesitant to explore. These are the most dangerous dive sites in the world.

The Great Blue Hole In Belize Can Be Daunting For The Less-Experienced

Arial shot of the hole
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On the top of the bucket list for many experienced divers, the blue sinkhole in Belize is known for its contrast of striking blue colors, demonstrating the hole’s vast depth. The hole is approximately 305 meters across and 124 meters deep, with divers from all over the world traveling to plunge into its blue waters.

For the first 30 meters, divers are confronted with sheer walls on both sides, which then turn into stalactite formations of limestone. This sudden drop can be disorienting for even skilled divers. The drop can cause divers to descend at a dangerous pace.

Eagle’s Nest Sinkhole Has Claimed Numerous Lives

Picture of Eagle's Nest from above
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Located in the western part of Weeki Wachee, Florida, this renowned dive site goes all the way down to 315 meters deep, making it particularly life-threatening. This is because the deeper you dive, the more likely you can suffer from nitrogen narcosis, resulting in severe disorientation.

Even being mildly disoriented can cause divers to forget to check their depth and air gauge regularly, which can lead them to run out of oxygen or descend too deep. Numerous divers have lost their lives pushing their limits here and will most likely continue to do so.

Devil’s Den Has Earned Its Name

Diving into Devil's Ear
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Located 35 miles northwest of Gainsville, Florida, Devil’s Den is a popular dive site among the diving community considering that it’s warm all year-round. The site is a network of caves, some of which are appropriately named “Little Devil,” “Devil’s Eye,” and “Devil’s Ear.”

Although this cave system is frequented by countless divers every year, that doesn’t make it entirely safe. At the entrance to the “Devil’s Ear” system, there is a natural vortex that has been known to cause frightening complications to diver’s equipment.

Look Out For Unexploded Bombs At Samaesan Hole

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Located in Samaesan Bay, Thailand, this diving site reaches an impressive 85 meters deep. Although that may not seem all that deep to veteran divers, there’s an incredibly strong current that is likely to pose some serious problems. Right in the middle of the busy shipping lane between Ko Chuang and Ko Samae San, it’s recommended only for experienced divers as there is no visibility below 60 meters.

On top of the lack of visibility and unusually strong current, it is also the site for a number of unexploded bombs. The hole used to be the site of a military dumping ground, which only adds to the risk, or excitement, depending on the diver.

Egypt’s Blue Hole Truly Is A Diver’s Cemetery

Blue Hole in the Red Seacan_bearb_150d
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Appropriately referred to as the “Diver’s Cemetery” among the scuba diving community, the Blue Hole is located in the Red Sea and not for the faint of heart. The site is best known for “The Arch,” a passageway that leads to open water, only accessible 56 meters below the surface of the water.

Going that deep can result in losing severe disorientation, making reckless decisions, and even losing consciousness. The extreme depth of this has led some divers to miss the arch entirely, diving down to their death. In the past 15 years, approximately 150 divers have lost their lives at this site.

Coco’s Island In Costa Rica Is Not For People Afraid of Sharks

Picture of the islands
Twitter/TurismoItaliaNews.it
Twitter/TurismoItaliaNews.it

Located 340 miles off the coast in the Pacific Ocean, Coco’s Island is regarded as one of the most remote dive sights in the world. Taking over 35 hours to reach by boat, it’s inherently dangerous simply because it’s so far away from any help if it’s needed.

However, on top of that, another aspect that makes it so risky to visit is the number of sharks that inhabit the surrounding waters of the island. Typical marine life at the site includes sea turtles, white top reef sharks, giant manta rays, dolphins, and hammerhead sharks.

The Shaft Sinkhole Is Dangerous From The Start

Light coming through the manhole
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Regarded as one of the most dangerous dive sites on the planet, the Shaft Sinkhole in Australia is full of various caves to dive. However, in order to even enter the cave system, divers must take off their equipment to pass through a hole that isn’t big enough for a diver and their gear.

Once inside, divers are confronted with a series of very dark and dangerous caves. Low air consumption is also necessary considering it is easy for divers to get lost or not have enough air for their return journey. Because of this, numerous divers have lost their lives here.

The Temple Of Doom Is An Appropriate Nickname

Inside of the cave
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Located in Tulum, Mexico, the Cenote Esqueleto, nicknamed “The Temple of Doom,” didn’t earn its threatening name for no reason. Divers are faced with danger the second they enter the water, and are warned to follow only the sunlit areas, as the dark places are considered to be deathtraps.

The cave system is also extremely intricate and dark, making it easy to get lost or become disorientated. In this cave, getting lost is the biggest fear, and is what has resulted in several deaths over the years.

Three Divers Have Died At The Site Of A German U-Boat Off The Coast Of New Jersey

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In 1991, a diving crew discovered a German U-Boat off the coast of New Jersey. An incredible World War II relic, the submarine is located an astonishing 73 meters below the surface — a dangerous depth for any diver.

To demonstrate how dangerous reaching this vessel is, three divers have perished in the ship’s hull since it was first discovered. The cold water, strong currents, and extreme depth are what makes this particular dive so life-threatening.

Jacob’s Well Isn’t All That Harmless

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Located in the southwest of Austin, Texas, Jacob’s Well is a popular swimming hole, although it’s much more than that. Below the surface, Jacob’s Well is a series of caves with the first two being regarded as relatively safe to dive in. However, upon approaching the third cave, the dive becomes much more dangerous.

Not only is this chamber full of narrow passageways, but its also full of gravel and silt which if disturbed can affect visibility, leading divers to panic and use up all their oxygen. More than eight people have lost their lives diving in these caves.

The Valhall Missile Silo Is Eerie, To Say The Least

Capture
YouTube/Texas Divers Anonymous
YouTube/Texas Divers Anonymous

Located right outside of Abilene, Texas is an abandoned nuclear missile silo. Although once in use, it has now become a diving location for people looking to do something out of the ordinary. After making their way down the foreboding staircase beneath the ground, divers are then faced with water as cold as 57 degrees Fahrenheit.

Although it once housed nuclear-tipped Atlas missiles, after it was abandoned by the US government, it was bought and converted into a training facility for technical diving. This is not everyone’s ideal place to test their skills.

Diepolder II

Blue light inside the cave system
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Located between Brooksville and Weeki Wachee Springs, Florida, Diepolder II is a cave system consisting of large rooms that reach depths of up to 110 meters. In order to even dive the cave with a guide, you have to have at least 100 dives, in five different systems, under your belt due to the extreme depths.

Because this cave system is considered to be so dangerous, dives without a guide are not permitted and numerous certifications must be met to even be admitted.

Pelagic Magic Isn’t For Everyone

Underwater creature
YouTube/Bob Hughes
YouTube/Bob Hughes

Pelagic Magic is an open-water dive off the coast of Kona, Big Island, Hawaii. Divers are connected to the underside of a boat where they are then suspended in pitch-black water over a channel that is hundreds of meters deep.

The reason for doing this is that bioluminescent creatures rise from the channel to put on a breathtaking show in otherwise extremely eerie circumstances. Although this isn’t the most threatening of dives, being strapped under a boat at night in the open water is a little much for some people to handle.

Chuuk Lagoon Is A Sight To Behold

Plane underwater
Adam Hornwood/Getty Images
Adam Hornwood/Getty Images

The Chuuk Lagoon is a sheltered body of water in the central Pacific in the Caroline Islands of Micronesia. Beneath the water is the remains of a Japanese naval base along with all of the boats and planes that were included. The site was discovered in 1969 by Jacques Cousteau, approximately 50 meters from the surface.

On top of the dangerous depths required to dive, the cargo ship also contains countless unexploded mines, bombs, and torpedos, all of which could still possibly be detonated.

Petermann Island Pushes The Body To Its Limits

Icebergs on the island
Michel Setboun/Getty Images
Michel Setboun/Getty Images

Petermann Island is a low island off the coast of Kiev Peninsula in Graham Land, Antarctica. Considered to be one of the most remote dive spots on the planet, the relatively small island has around ten dive spots that people explore to see stunning ice sculptures, gentoo penguins, whales, and leopard seals.

As beautiful as it may be, that doesn’t mean dives here aren’t dangerous. Dives are only possible through organized trips and for those who are cold-water certified. Those who dare to brave the water must wear heated wetsuits, masks, and can only last around 30 minutes beneath the water.

The Sardine Run Is Utter Chaos

Bait ball and divers
Barcroft Media/Getty Images
Barcroft Media/Getty Images

The sardine run is an annual attraction that brings divers and marine life enthusiasts to the coast of South Africa. During the dive, millions of small sardines travel up the coast of South Africa in an attempt to reach Durban to spawn. However, along the way, they are caught in a feeding frenzy made up of diving birds, sharks, dolphins, massive whales, and any other creature looking for an easy meal.

During this time, crews of divers boat around looking for bait balls. Once one is found, the divers enter the water to get an up-close-and-personal view of the show, risking life and limb at the same time.

Look Out For Sharks In Isla Guadalupe, Mexico

Shark outside of cage
Reinhard Dirscherl/ullstein bild via Getty Images
Reinhard Dirscherl/ullstein bild via Getty Images

Widely regarded as one of the four best places to dive with great white sharks in the world, Guadalupe Island in Mexico is a hub for divers looking for a real thrill. The water is clear and the temperature perfect, almost guaranteeing divers to experience one of these massive beasts up close.

In Guadalupe, you also have the option of using top-open decks, limiting the amount of protection from you and a great white. Only reachable by boat, this is considered to be one of the most extreme shark diving spots in the world.

Heli-Diving Off The Coast Of California Requires A Specialty Course

Divers on helicopter
Facbook/Heli-Diving (SCUBA)
Facbook/Heli-Diving (SCUBA)

Off the coast of California near Los Angeles is one of the few places in the world where the PADI Heli-Diver 1 specialty course is offered. Although the dive itself isn’t all that intense, entering the water is. To qualify as a specialty diver, you have to make two jumps and dives in the area, most likely on the Eureka Oil Platform.

This involves an eight-minute helicopter ride from land, only to jump 15-feet from the helicopter into the water below. After entering the water, divers then undergo a regular diving course in the surrounding area.

Rummu Gulag, The Prison-Turned-Dive Site

Divers exploring the gulag
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The Rummu Gulag was a prison established by the Soviet Union in the 1940s. Located in Estonia, Europe, it is also part of a limestone quarry where prisoners were forced to work. When Estonia regained its independence in 1991, the Soviets abandoned the prison and quarry, which became submerged by groundwater.

It filled up so fast, in fact, that many of the mining machines and buildings were lost beneath the water. Today, the area is a popular dive spot for adventurous divers who aren’t afraid to dive where prisoners once worked and lived.

Titan I Nuclear Silo

Entering the silo
YouTube/SEAPROOF dotTV
YouTube/SEAPROOF dotTV

For divers interested in becoming fully emerged in the Cold War, the Titan I Nuclear Missile Silo in the state of Washington is a perfect option. Flooded in the years after tensions eased, the silo is as creepy and off-putting as one would imagine.

Thirty-four meters deep and composed of three silos connected by catwalks and tunnels, it’s a cold, dark, and ominous experience that most people could live without. Be careful not to cut yourself on the countless sharp objects or panic and run out of oxygen.