How long can you stay down on a tank of air?

Egyptian scuba diver Walaa Hafez set a new Guinness World Record on Saturday for the longest open saltwater scuba dive, staying down for a total of 51 hours and 20 minutes. The dive took place at the Red Sea Resort off Hurghada, Egypt at a depth of around 10 meters (33 feet) with a water temperature of 22˚C (about 72 degrees F).

Even with the shallow depth of 10 meters, the dive time of more than 55 hours required extensive and complex decompression planning. Hafez also battled potential hypothermia, using both a dry suit as well as a battery-powered heating system to stay warm. A very carefully planned and timed diet of liquid food and drinks maintained his energy levels as well as kept his blood chemistry stable.

By completing the dive, Walaa beat the previous world record which was set by the American Allen Sherrod in 2014, standing at 51 hours and 4 minutes.

A screenshot showing preparations for the Longest Open Saltwater Scuba Dive Project.

A screenshot showing preparations for the Longest Open Saltwater Scuba Dive Project.

Walaa Hafez is a Marine Pilot at Suez Canal Authority. He is also a former naval special forces SEAL team leader, an IDEA Master Instructor, and a self-defense instructor. He is 36 years old.

In addition to entering yet another Egyptian into the Guinness World Records, Hafez also wanted to promote tourism to Egypt and “send a message of security to the world”. Haze said he aimed to “motivate Egyptian youth to use their skills, imagination and abilities to flourish in their own country.”

On Thursday, Egyptian diver Ahmed Gabr led the “World’s Biggest Dive”, diving with 400 other divers to clean up garbage from the Red Sea’s seabed. That event was sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism and the Red Sea Governorate.

In September 2014, the same diver, Ahmed Gabr, broke the world scuba diving depth record, submerging to 332.35 meters off the Red Sea resort of Dahab.