Local man ready to reclaim scuba diving world record

Nick Shepherd • Jul 26, 2013 at 3:37 PM

Time is ticking away for all of us. In 24 hours, one man will think time has stopped completely.

That’s because Jerry Hall will be underwater for almost an entire week. While underwater, he’ll have no idea what time it is.

Hall is going to attempt to break the world record for longest freshwater scuba dive without surfacing. He set a previous record in 2004 by staying underwater for 120 hours and one minute. The record stood until 2011 when a Florida man broke it by staying underwater for 120 hours and 14 minutes.

Hall will dive around noon on Saturday in South Holston Lake.

Once he is in the water, he won’t come back out until Thursday at the earliest, barring something going wrong. He is already getting excited about the prospect of setting a new world record.

“I am so ready to go,” Hall said. “I can’t wait to get in the water.”

Preparations for the world record dive attempt were in full swing Thursday.

One member of the team was already in the water of South Holston checking the thermal temperature of the water where Hall will spend most of his time. Hypothermia is a big concern for Hall and his team.

A hot water heater was being installed because hypothermia is such a big concern. The heater will blow warm water around Hall in case the temperature drops.

If the thermal temperature was not correct, the platform would have to be moved. A winch would be used to move the platform and sit across the dock from where Hall would dive in case it was needed.

One of Hall’s captains, Tony Rutledge, came up from the murky depths and told Hall the temperature at the bottom of the lake was 81 degrees, which made Hall raise both his arms, fists clenched, in excitement. The outside temperature was 84 degrees. Warm temperatures mean the platform won’t have to be moved.

Hall will be calling a platform at the bottom of the lake home for the duration of his attempt. The platform was installed in March while the lake was low. As the waters rose, it covered the platform and now sits 15 feet below the surface.

Swim lines were also being installed. Hall and his team will use a rope to take occasional swims and also to keep him under the water the entire time.

Hall doesn’t have a set schedule. He said he will work out and try to keep busy, but won’t have certain times he does things. He also said if he feels sleepy, he won’t wait until the midnight hour to sleep.

He admits the first 24 hours will be the hardest. He said sitting there will make him question his motivation and why he is doing this.

Other preparations were also being taken care of, like raffle tickets. Hall is not only going for the world record, he is also raising money for Speedway Children’s Charities.

Hall and his team have collected all kinds of items to be raffled off after he comes out of the water. Some of the items include $50 off a tattoo, an oil change and a boat to name a few. Raffle tickets will be $1.

Adjustments were being made and will continue to be made until the final dive on Saturday. The toilet was being installed, preparations to install the television were being made, and adjustments were being made to the dock.

Around five divers were in the water helping get everything just right. Hall can’t say enough about his team.

“I can’t brag enough about this team that I have,” Hall said. “This is the largest team that we’ve ever assembled for this. They are so dedicated.”

To follow Hall on his world record dive attempt, you can visit his website at www.jerryhallworldrecorddive.com and on Facebook at facebook.com/jerryhallworldrecorddive.

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