OK, "How many people scuba dive?" is the million dollar question and one of those scuba diving facts that is hard to pindown. The long and short of it? No one really knows the exact answer.
If you looked for the answer to this question on the internet, you know what I mean.
All sorts of figures are out there but who knows what the source of that information is and how reliable it is?
By far the best discussion I found on the subject of how many people scuba dive in the US was in the May 2007 issue of Undercurrent magazine. Some highlights from that story:
So what is Undercurrent's best guess to how many people scuba dive in the US?
They state that "If you define active as taking five or more dives a year, which seems reasonable, we think 1.2 million, plus or minus 15 percent, might hit it pretty close." And then of course the tongue in cheek closer: "And we will be pleased to publish any data to the contrary."
You can read the full Undercurrent report for yourself here.
Another example of an estimate I've found - just one of the many other statistics I've read - comes from The University of South Carolina's scuba diving club. They report an estimated 2.5-3.5 million Americans participate in recreational SCUBA diving. They also state another 500,000 become certified each year in the United States. There was no source cited for these figures. So who knows?
So worldwide, what is the best guesstimate of many scuba divers are there out there? I've read 3-6 million. Take your pick!
Whatever the answer is to "How many people scuba dive?", I hope you are, or become, certified so you too can enjoy this great sport.
Here's to diving, no matter how many of us do it!
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