New Deep-Diving Women’s Record: 247 Metres!

Karen van den Oever has spent a lot of time scuba diving at record depth recently. So much that she’s set two world records in the past two years. reported that van den Oever broke her own Guinness World Record for the deepest scuba dive by a woman this October. To do it, the South African dove into the renowned Boesmansgat cave in the North Cape province of her home country to a depth of 245.6 metres.


That measurement is unofficial for now. But if it holds, van den Oever stands to smash the verified record she set on March 26, 2021 — at 236.04 metres, also in the Boesmansgat cave.

An eight-hour dive

Van den Oever’s October open-circuit dive lasted 8 hours, and 11 minutes, according to The outlet explained that the cave’s position makes dives like van den Oever’s even more complicated than they might seem. Boesmansgat is the world’s third-deepest known sinkhole, but it lies at altitude: 1,550m above sea level. That complicates decompression times and calculations and means that van den Oever’s dive was actually “equivalent” to a 288m dive at sea level.

Somewhere Out There Diving (SWOT), where van den Oever works as an instructor, helped her with the dive.

Van den Oever started scuba diving in 2001, and set a personal goal of breaking the cave depth record soon after that, according to She held off on technical diving until 2006 “to gradually build up the skills and confidence to attempt this record,” she said.


She also trained with Nuno Gomes, who set the record for the deepest men’s cave dive by descending 282.85m to the bottom of Boesmansgat in 1996.

Before van den Oever started plying the depths, the record she sought had long remained untouched. Fellow South African Verna van Schaik held the women’s deepest dive record at 220.98 metres for 17 years before van den Oever’s 2021 dive.

Sam Anderson

Sam Anderson spent his 20s as an adventure rock climber, scampering throughout the western U.S., Mexico, and Thailand to scope out prime stone and great stories. Life on the road gradually transformed into a seat behind the keyboard, where he acted as a founding writer of the AllGear Digital Newsroom and earned 1,500+ bylines in four years on topics from pro rock climbing to slingshots and scientific breakthroughs.