A scuba diver going naked diving for his 100th scuba dive on Koh Tao.
Celebrating his 100th scuba dive by naked diving in the warm waters of Koh Tao in tropical Thailand. Image: Joshua Cameron

Have you stumbled upon this article after going for a scuba dive and accidentally coming face-to-butt underwater? Perhaps you turned your head from a triggerfish only to find yourself facing another trigger? You won’t be the first person to see someone naked diving underwater, and you won’t be the last! But why are people dropping their shorts, rashguards, and wetsuits to dive naked? In this article I’ll explain this 100th scuba dive tradition, and answer whether I too, have joined this dive naked club!

Why Go Naked Diving?

It is traditional to go naked diving on your 100th scuba dive, sans clothes, and as naked as the day you were born. This tradition probably came about when someone decided to celebrate their 100th scuba dive. After all, it is quite a cool achievement. I’m also guessing that the first person to start this tradition was scuba diving in warm, tropical temperatures.

So, why do we dive naked for our 100th dive? Why not? It’s a bit of fun and it feels very freeing underwater without being encased in a tight wetsuit.

It’s also a bit of a club where you can knowingly wink at other naked divers to say, ‘yep, been there, done that.’

Getting to a hundred scuba dives is something to be proud of, and not many divers have the opportunity or chance to get to that many dives. It means you’ve been lucky enough to be able to see and experience the amazing underwater world at least 99 times prior, and that is something everyone should celebrate.

Nude Diving Tips

The best place to dive naked will be in warm water. Fact.

You do not want to be taking the plunge in your birthday suit while surrounding yourself in sub 77°F (25°C) temperatures. This is because you will lose body heat much faster in water than in air of the same temperature.

If your core body temperature is below 96.8° F (36° C), the defense mechanisms of your body will be activated. You will begin shivering, which will reduce blood flow to the periphery which is all the nerves that lie outside of the central nervous system, controlling sensory and motor fibers. You will then be at a risk of hypothermia which in severe cases, may lead to death.

So no, you do not want to go for a long scuba dive naked in cold water!

Best Places to Go Scuba Diving Naked

The best dive locations to go for a spot of naked diving will be in tropical waters and countries that are found along the Earth’s Equator, where the water is nice and warm all year round. These include Tropical America, such as Costa Rica and Jamaica, and Tropical Asia, such as Indonesia, Thailand, North Australia and more.

It’s also no surprise that the most per capita of naked scuba divers will be found on Koh Tao, a little island in tropical Thailand. This is due to a numbers game. Koh Tao certifies a massive amount of Open Water scuba divers due to being a popular backpacker tourist destination and being a relatively cheap place to get your diving certification.

It is also where I dived naked, but more on that later.

Woman going topless on a naked scuba dive.
My dive buddy, Yada, celebrating her 100th scuba dive with a naked dive. You can choose to go topless, bottomless, or both!

How Do I Scuba Dive Naked?

To go for a naked dive, you have two options. You can start off being naked, or you can subtly peel off your clothing underwater during the dive.

Some highly confident people will strip down before gearing up, whether it’s for a shore dive or on the boat. You’ll find BCDs squished up against chests, and weight-belts pushing down on dangly bits.

How many times have I seen a naked man open their legs to giant-stride and jump into the water?

Too many times, that’s how many.

Jumping Off the Boat Naked

You will need to do your BWRAF Buddy Check first. Your buddy may avert their gaze, but they should be helping you check all of your diving gear is working and in-check.

When you jump into the water, you may want to hold and push down on anything that may swing (or bounce).

For example, your left hand should be holding your regulator in your mouth, so use that left arm to hold your chest in place.

Your right hand should be touching your weight-belt buckle for safety (in case you need to release in an emergency) when jumping into the water. You can also use that hand to hold things down there in place.

Getting Naked Underwater

If, like many people, you prefer to slowly take off your clothes underwater, then the easiest way to do this is to begin with less clothing. You should swap your wetsuit for just your swimming suit.

For men, it’s easier to just wear some loose board shorts or swimming shorts that you can pull off during the dive and stuff into your BCD pocket.

For women, you should opt for a two-piece bikini, rather than a one-piece bathing suit. Bikinis with easy clasps, hooks or straps work. A string bikini that you can untie is super easy to pull off during a dive. This also makes it easy to tie back on underwater before you ascend from your dive.

Do Fish Bite Nude Divers?

Everything looks bigger underwater, take that as you will, due to the refraction of light.

Fish will appear bigger and closer, which can be a worry when you’re on an underwater naked expedition with all of your bits hanging out.

So do they bite?

No, fish won’t bite your bits. The only thing that may possibly go for you will be the cleaner wrasse fish, tiny blue-silver fish, that love to eats parasites and dead tissue off larger fishes’ skin in a symbiotic relationship. You may occasionally find them nibbling on your ear or on an old scab, so just make sure you’re all exfoliated before your naked dive!

Read More: Colors to Avoid when Diving with Sharks!

My Own Experience Going Naked Scuba Diving

To celebrate my 100th dive, no easy feat considering I was terrified of deep water prior to learning how to scuba dive, I wanted to go for a naked scuba dive.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, it happened that I was offered my first paid job as a Professional Dive Master on what was to be my 100th dive. This meant I had to take a paying customer on a scuba dive, and I don’t think they were paying enough for that!

So I did not go diving naked on my 100th dive.

But I did go diving naked on my 101th dive.

On this dive, my boyfriend and I decided to go for a shore dive and enter the water with our swimsuits. A good idea considering how busy the beach was.

We descended into the water, took off our clothes, and went for a naked scuba dive. It’s also when my boyfriend proposed to me and we got engaged.

But that’s a story for another time!

Have you been naked diving before and where did you do it? Let me know in the comments below on how your own experience went!

Emma was initially terrified of the deep ocean but dived right into scuba diving years ago and hasn't looked back since! She worked as an underwater videographer for several years and is now a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer. She currently runs a dive shop on the island of Koh Tao in Thailand and her favourite fish is the barracuda!