You may have heard some rumors, you might even have witnessed it already: Naked scuba diving. And indeed, once you continue your diving journey, at some point you will encounter people who have done nude diving. However, this sounds crazier than it actually is. In this article, we’ll explore when and why people go scuba diving without wetsuit and swim wear. Also, we’ll answer whether nude diving is really a thing you should try or not.
Why Go Naked Scuba Diving? It’s a Tradition…
While it may sound weird, naked scuba diving is actually an old tradition. Where the tradition comes from exactly is hard to tell. Probably, somebody had this original idea to celebrate their 100th scuba dive. And that is exactly how the tradition is today: Your 100th dive is supposed to be done without wetsuit and/ or clothes on.
Why do many people still follow this tradition? Why do we dive naked for our 100th dive? Well, actually it is quite a lot of fun. While it’s one of the better environments to take your clothes off (usually you are not surrounded by tons of people), it can also feel quite freeing without a wetsuit or swim wear wrapped around your body. And even if you don’t really like it, it’s a cool thing to talk about (trust me, this is a topic that frequently comes up in dive shops and schools – and after all, the chatter with the community is one of the reasons why scuba diving is such a fun sport).
Reaching 100 dives is something you can be proud of. So why not celebrate this special occasion with the traditional naked dive?
Temperature Matters During Your “Nude Diving Experience”
During scuba diving, your body loses temperature without adequate exposure protection. In fact, water conducts heat more than 20 times faster than in air, meaning that temperatures that are comfortable in air may quickly become uncomfortable and cool in water. The reason for this is that water is far denser than air. The molecules within water are closer together, making it easier for heat to be transferred.
Without going too much into detail, let’s just say you can get cold quickly, so you should always wear the adequate amount of exposure protection. This is usually a wetsuit in warmer waters, or a drysuit in cool environments.
When we dive naked, we obviously do not have any exposure protection. Therefore, nude diving is only a thing in tropical waters, where it is warm enough to not get cold during a normal dive. Do not underestimate this fact, because getting cold can become quite dangerous.
Let’s say for a second that you decide to dive naked in colder waters. Not surprising, you will get cold once you hit the water, probably already before even entering. Once your core body temperature drops below 96.8° F (36° C), your body will activate its defense mechanisms. As the body cools, temperature is automatically centered in your hands, feet and head. The flow of blood to your extremities (except to your head) is slowed down through a body response called vasoconstriction (constriction of the blood vessels). This in turn reduces heat loss through the skin. Your fingers and toes may become numb after long exposure to the cold water. However, this is just the beginning. The body next starts shivering, which is an attempt to generate heat through muscle movement and an accelerated metabolism, but can’t do much against the cold water drawing away heat from your body so much quicker than in air. Therefore, you’ll quickly be in a state of hypothermia, which will impair coordination, before your body’s whole heat regulation fails. You may become drowsy, uncoordinated and eventually lose consciousness. At the same time, the slowed blood flow to the extremities makes it very hard for your body to eliminate excess nitrogen on your way up, which has built up over the course of the dive. You are therefore highly susceptible to Decompression Sickness. A very bad situation, to say the least.
So no, you definitely do not want to go for a naked scuba dive in cold waters!
Best Places to Go Scuba Diving Naked
As said before, you should only go scuba diving naked in warm waters. Therefore, the ideal dive locations for naked diving are in tropical waters, where the water is nice and warm all year round. Think of places like Costa Rica, Jamaica, Indonesia, Thailand, North Australia and so on.
One of the “capitals” of naked scuba diving is certainly Koh Tao, a small island in Thailand known for scuba diving. Koh Tao is full of dive shops certifying huge amounts of Open Water divers for very low prices. It is also one of the most popular places to do a Divemaster or Instructor course. It comes as no surprise that a large number of people surpass the 100th dive mark every month. Nude scuba diving is therefore something you’ll see or hear of almost every week when being in Koh Tao.
How Do You Scuba Dive Naked?
If you want to try naked scuba diving, but are still wondering how to best do it, here is some advice.
Basically, there are two ways to go about your naked dive. The first option is to take off your clothes while still being on the boat or on shore. That means you’ll actually be jumping off the boat or walking into the water naked, and everybody on the boat will be cheering (or turning away).
The other and more subtle option is to enter the water as you normally do and gently strip off your clothes while underwater. Just keep in mind that for doing so, it is best to start the dive with less clothing (you don’t want to try taking off a wetsuit underwater). For men, this would mean loose board shorts or swimming shorts; for women a two-piece bikini will do well.
From experience, I can tell that almost everybody goes for the second option. And trust me, not everybody enjoys to watch people being naked on the boat or on shore in plain daylight…
Do You Get Bitten By Fish When Doing Naked Scuba Diving?
While everything looks bigger underwater due to refraction of light, including fish, which will appear bigger and closer, you don’t have to worry. Even if all of your precious bits are hanging around without any protection, fish only looks bigger and closer.
Of course, fish will not bite – why would they? The only thing that may happen is a cleaner wrasse coming up to you and nibble on your skin. This type of tiny fish is in a symbiotic relationship with larger fish and loves to eat parasites and dead tissue off their skin. Occasionally, we see them coming to us and doing the same, especially on scars or wounds. But don’t worry, they do not hurt. It may however pay off to take a good shower before diving and rubbing off old skin to prevent them from doing it for you 😉
Can You Celebrate the 100th Dive Without Diving Naked?
Yes, doing the 100th dive naked is a tradition. But there are several reasons why you may not choose to do this particular dive naked. Firstly, not everybody enjoys doing it. If the idea of taking off your clothes makes you frown, why even bother to do it? If you don’t feel better afterwards and just feel stressed, don’t.
Secondly, as we have discussed above, getting cold during a dive is a serious concern. Certainly, not everybody does their 100th dive in tropical waters. So if you are diving in colder waters or it is just not a good day, don’t even bother. The risk is just not worth it.
Nonetheless, your 100th dive is an important milestone in your scuba diving journey. Not everybody will make it to this stage, and if you are lucky enough to do that many dives (and hopefully more in the future), why not celebrate?
Of course, there are a few ways to celebrate your 100th dive (and potentially 200th, 300th and so on) without diving naked. Here are a few ideas.
Take a Photo Underwater
One of the easiest way to celebrate a special occasion and remember it afterwards is to take a photo. Why not in diving? Just take a selfie with your GoPro or ask a buddy to take one of you. I have seen many divers bring a slate and decorate it to show that it is their 100th dive.
Of course, if you want to get a really really cool photo, you could even hire an underwater photographer for a real underwater photo shoot. After all, your 100th dive is quite a special occasion.
Wear a Costume
Next to taking a photo underwater, wearing a costume or dressing up in a funny way is a very easy and great way to remember your 100th dive. Wearing a costume can be a lot of fun and is certainly something to remember. Again, bring your camera or ask a buddy to take pictures of you.
Another idea that goes in the same direction is to dye your hair for your 100th dive.
If you want to just have a normal, enjoyable dive and not worry about getting naked, dressing up, or taking tons of pictures underwater, there is another very easy way to make your 100th dive special. Just bring cake and share it with your dive buddies, dive guides and the boat crew! Everybody comes up hungry after a dive, so it’s a great idea to bring cake. While making everybody happy, it’s an easy way to share your joy with everybody you dive with.
Go on a Liveaboard Trip (Always a Good Idea)
If your 100th dive is coming up, you have reached a very important milestone. You have completed a significant number of dives and chances are good that you are a fantastic diver. Why not celebrate this by going on an unforgettable liveaboard trip?
Liveaboards are always a great thing. For passionate divers, a liveaboard is the ultimate experience. There is no other way to dive so much and see so many different dive sites in such a time frame. Especially if you have never been on a liveaboard, booking one for your 100th dive is a great idea. It will be an unforgettable experience and you will meet so many other people who are absolutely passionate about diving. To me, liveaboards are the best way to dive and my favorite vacation activity.
During my various liveaboard trips around the world I have witnessed several divers celebrate their 100th dive. Often, the liveaboard crew will even prepare a cake or a special surprise for you.
You can check out Liveaboard.com to find a great liveaboard trip for your 100th dive.
Dive Somewhere New
Liveaboards do come with one disadvantage: they are usually on the pricier side. But liveaboards are not the only way to celebrate your 100th dive in a special way. Of course, you can also just go diving in a new dive destination near you and do a shore or boat dive. You could even stick to a familiar place but explore a dive site you have never done before. In that case, it may make sense to go with a dive guide who can show you around.
Take Additional Scuba Diving Courses
With 100 dives under your belt, you have accumulated quite a significant level of experience. But the best way to further develop your skills and knowledge is to never stop learning. So to celebrate your achievement, you could also take more scuba diving classes to further expand your diving knowledge and skills.
If you are still an Open Water Diver, now is the time to go to the next level and take your Advanced Open Water Course. This will allow you to explore more dive sites that are deeper and require some advanced skills. If you are already Advanced Open Water Certified, taking a Nitrox Course or other specialties like Deep Diver or Wreck Diver would be a great option.
Even better, why not take a Rescue Diver course to really advance your diving? And if you are already Rescue Diver certified, this may be the ideal time to become a Dive Professional and take your Divemaster course – a unique experience you will never forget.
Whatever course you go for, the additional knowledge and skills you gain will open up new adventures and opportunities for you. And certainly this will help you to reach your next scuba diving milestones!
Get Yourself Some New Dive Gear
You may have reached 100 dives using rental equipment, or maybe you already have some of your own equipment. Having 100 dives logged shows that you are an experienced diver, and if you don’t have your own equipment already, now would be a great time to get your own stuff.
While scuba gear is certainly not cheap, it is an investment into your future diving journey, the level of comfort and fun you have underwater, but also your safety. For instance, a new dive computer or underwater light would be a cool place to start. Or maybe an underwater camera so you can take pictures of your 100th dive?
Naked scuba diving is indeed a thing. It is a tradition to celebrate your 100th scuba dive, and it can be a lot of fun. Just make sure the water is warm enough and you are comfortable. And even if you don’t want to do it, there are many other ways to celebrate your 100th dive. The most important thing is: Be proud of yourself and continue diving!