Florida scuba diver Allen Sherrod will attempt to break the Guinness world diving record for the longest dive in saltwater next week in the Town of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea.
Sherrod will enter the ocean south of Anglin’s Pier (Commercial Boulevard and State Road A1A) in front of the Windjammer Resort at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 25. If all goes well, he doesn’t plan to resurface until 8 a.m. on Thursday, breaking the current record by 24 hours.
A resident of Groveland, Fla., Sherrod will set up his temporary underwater residence in about 15 feet of water near the Town’s new artificial reef, which stimulates faster coral growth by using a low-level electric current.
The artificial reef is about 200 offshore, just south of the Windjammer, 4244 El Mar Drive. A NAUI diving instructor for 11 years, Sherrod chose the Town’s coral reefs because they are vibrant and extremely close to the beach.
“This is the coolest shore dive place in all of Florida,” he said. A popular spot for beach divers, the Broward County Commission in September 1997 declared Lauderdale-By-The-Sea the "Shore Dive Capital of South Florida."
Sherrod recently set a world record for the longest freshwater dive in freshwater at a Central Florida lake (five days). During the attempt, he said he lost six pounds.
The Atlantic Ocean, however, presents a new challenge. Bad weather and strong currents could impact his world diving record attempt. “When you get in the ocean, it’s an uncontrolled environment,” Sherrod said. “It’s a roll of the dice.”
Except for staying well-hydrated, warm and keeping his hands insulated with lotion and gloves, he said the biggest challenge won’t actually be physical.
“It’s a real drain on you mentally,” he said.
The current record for the longest saltwater dive is held by William Gordon. Set in 2010 in Indonesia, it’s 48 hours, 8 minutes and 7 seconds.
Sherrod expects to need 35 to 40 tanks to stay underwater for 72 hours. He will limit his food intake during the dive to liquids (Gatorade and chocolate Ensure). He also expects to sleep: “You get tired enough, you’ll sleep anywhere.”
At least one safety diver will keep an eye on Sherrod overnight. During the day, he expects any number of local divers or snorkelers to drop by to say hello.
Sherrod, who will be using a full face mask, will be able to talk to other divers using an underwater speaker system housed inside a pony tank. He will make this available to any television, radio or print journalists who are certified divers and want to interview him underwater during his record breaking attempt.
Members of the Town’s business community are rallying behind Sherrod’s world record attempt, and are using the event to help raise funds for the Town’s new artificial reef; its solar-panel buoys were recently damaged during rough seas.
Local diving operator Gold Coast Scuba will donate $1 for each air tank it fills for divers who plan to visit Sherrod during his record attempt. Kilwin's Chocolates plans to launch a new candy, a sea salt caramel; a portion of its sales will go towards the new reef. The Windjammer Resort has been instrumental in helping Sherrod with preparations and will serve as headquarters for his dive support team next week.
As for Sherrod, the record attempt probably won’t be the most fun he has had diving; as a dive instructor, he helps certify the mermaids who perform underwater at the world famous Weeki Wachee Springs in Central Florida.
When asked why he wants to set a world record for the longest saltwater dive, he said, “We have a bad economy. I didn’t have anything else to do.”
To read about Sherrod's recent record breaking dive in freshwater, visit Diver Sets New Record for Longest Dive