Deepest female scuba diver just added 10m

Karen van den Oever prepares to break her own world record
Karen van den Oever prepares to break her own world record
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The woman acclaimed by Guinness World Records as the world’s deepest female scuba diver has just dived deeper still – claiming a new record 10.6m beyond the one she set in March last year.

South African technical diver Karen van den Oever descended to 246.65m on open-circuit in the renowned Boesmansgat cave in Northern Cape province. The dive-site, the world’s third-deepest known sinkhole, lies at an altitude 1.55km above sea-level, making it particularly challenging in terms of decompression times.

The dive, which took place on 27 October, lasted 8 hours 11 minutes and the record now awaits official verification by GWR.

van den Oever is an instructor with technical-diving school Somewhere Out There Diving (SWOT), members of which supported her dive. “A massive thank-you to the most amazing dive-team,” she said later. “Without you none of this is possible.”

Deepest female diver: Karen van den Oever
Deepest female scuba diver: Karen van den Oever

Last year Divernet reported on how SWOT had supported van den Oever as she set the previous 236.04m record in Boesmansgat.  

A science graduate from the University of Witwatersrand in her home town of Johannesburg, van den Oever took up scuba diving in 2001. 

Breaking the cave depth record became her personal goal from 2004, which was when fellow South African diver Verna van Schaik set a record that would last 17 years. van den Oever took up technical diving in 2006 “to gradually build up the skills and confidence to attempt this record”, according to GWR.

She trained with Nuno Gomes, who in 1996 had set the men’s deepest cave-dive record at 282.6m, again in Boesmansgat – and he has acclaimed his former student’s latest achievement.


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10 months ago


Leo Britton
Leo Britton
10 months ago

Rest on you laurels, there are old divers and crazy divers but never old crazy divers.

Jamie Forrest
Jamie Forrest
10 months ago


8 months ago

In a word, pointless. Blow off all that helium for 1 minute at the bottom to grab the tag. Nothing else achieved except a long deco. Why open circuit and not CCR?

245m is the depth that divers descended to to push the Pierce Resergence a couple of years ago. Some YouTube videos of it. Some research was done in that dive. They used dual rebreathers for that dive to avoid all the stage bottles Karen used.

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