Amateur diving started with breath-hold diving, mainly by enthusiasts in Italy and the south coast of France who were keen spearfishers. This was also the area where compressed air scuba diving developed as a result of the work of Hass, Cousteau and others. As a sport, diving rapidly spread to Britain and the United States and the rest of the world.
From this beginning, diving has become a recreational activity that is often combined with tourism and photography. Others explore caves and wrecks and seek the excitement that deeper and further penetrations provide. Special interest groups such as cave and technical divers have developed and in some areas are the modern pathfinders. These groups and their problems are discussed in greater detail in later chapters.