Ten years ago, Jerry Hall was a relatively new scuba diver. Still, he had logged a lot of time underwater. But he didn’t just want a lot of dives in his log book. He wanted the longest dive in his log book.
So, the dream started taking shape to set a new Guinness World Record for the longest freshwater dive on scuba. He beat the previous record by more than 12 hours.
Hall assembled a team of expert divers from around the Tri-Cities, presented the idea to a Laurel Marina and Yacht Club in Bristol, Tenn., and the set about planning the intricate feat.
After months of test dives, equipment checks and detail planning, the day – Aug. 6, 2002 – finally arrived. Friends and family surrounded Jerry as he donned his wetsuit, BC and tank and plunged into South Holston Lake.
They were there waiting for him 71 hours, 39 minutes and 40 seconds later when a hydraulic motor hoisted his dive platform out of the water.
In 2004, Hall got the urge to try the longest dive again. This time, he aimed at breaking his own record. And in true Jerry Hall fashion, that’s exactly what he did. That dive lasted 120 hours, one minute and nine seconds.
Hall, with a different dive team this time, undertook the feat in Watauga Lake at Fish Springs Marina. His first world record dive gave him and the team a lot of experience on what they would encounter.
“We learned many things from the last dive, and based on what we learned we have developed solutions to some of the obstacles I encountered,” Hall told a local reporter prior to the 2004 dive.
In 2011, diver Allen Sherrod, of Groveland, Fla., beat Hall’s 120 hour, nine minute and one second record by 13 minutes. Hall announced his plan in February to challenge that record and is currently training for the demanding dive.
Hall doesn’t view this as a competition between he and Sherrod, but rather as a route to promote safe scuba diving and raise money for Speedway Children’s Charities.
2013 Record Dive Announcement
2010 Article: Jerry Hall still owns Guiness freshwater scuba record