Florida Man Breaks Record for Longest Spent Time Living Underwater – 74 Days and Counting!

Photo Credit: Frazier Nivens / Florida Keys News Bureau / HO
Photo Credit: Frazier Nivens / Florida Keys News Bureau / HO

A professor from the University of South Florida (USF) is making headlines after breaking the world record for the longest time spent living underwater without depressurization. Joseph Dituri descended beneath the surface of a lagoon in the Florida Keys over two months ago, with aim being to remain submerged until he hits 100 days.

Joseph Dituri waving at a diver swimming by his window
Joseph Dituri has remained underwater for over 74 days, setting a new record for the longest time living beneath the water’s surface without depressurization. (Photo Credit: Frazier Nivens / Florida Keys News Bureau / HO)

Dituri, better known online as “Dr. Deep Sea,” submerged himself at Jules’ Undersea Lodge on March 1, 2023. The scuba diving stop is named for Jules Verne, the author of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Over the weekend, he hit day 74, affording him the distinction of being the individual who’s spent the longest time beneath the water.

The previous record was set by two Tennessee professors – Jessica Fain and Bruce Cantrell – in 2014. The pair, who also stayed at the lodge, remained underwater for 73 days, two hours and 34 minutes.

“The record is a small bump and I really appreciate it,” Dituri said in a statement released by the Florida Keys News Bureau. “I’m honored to have it, but we still have more science to do.”

Bruce Cantrell and Jessica Fain sitting in Jules' Undersea Lodge
Bruce Cantrell and Jessica Fain were the previous record holders, having lived below the water’s surface for just over 73 days. (Photo Credit: Johannes Schmitt-Tegge / Picture Alliance / Getty Images)

The USF professor opted to reside in the lagoon as part of Project Neptune 100, which was organized by the Marine Resources Development Foundation with the aim of combining ocean and medical research with educational outreach. Along with teaching his regular Biomedical Engineering courses at the university, Dituri has also spoken to 2,5000 students via YouTube.

The 100-square-foot lodge is rather cramped, consisting of just a work area, two bedrooms, a bathroom and a kitchen, as well as a small “swimming pool,” which serves as an exit and entrance.

The aim of Dituri’s research is to see how the human body responds to long-term exposure to extreme pressure. Unlike a typical submarine, the underwater lodge doesn’t adjust to the pressure of being that deep beneath the surface. The same physical and psychological tests he’s been partaking in throughout the experiment will also be conducted once he’s back above ground.

The reason, the 55-year-old explained in the media release, is to gain a better understanding of the ocean. “The idea here is to populate the world’s oceans, to take care of them by living in them and really treating them well.”

He also added in a separate interview that the results could be used to better prepare astronauts for space travel to Mars, as they experience the same effects. “This research could better prepare our astronauts to ensure they arrive health and strong enough to explore the planet,” he shared.

The former US Navy saturation diving officer has kept a stable routine since moving into the lodge. He wakes up at 5:00 AM to exercise each day, doing daily push-ups and exercising with resistance bands. He also spends an hour diving in the area around the site, and eats a protein-rich diet of salmon and eggs, which he heats up in the microwave.

Joseph Dituri holding up bags while sitting in Jules' Undersea Lodge
Joseph Dituri plans to remain at Jules’ Undersea Lodge for 100 days, in the name of science. (Photo Credit: Joseph Dituri / University of South Florida)

When asked what he misses most about being aboveground, Dituri explained, “The thing that I miss the most about being on the surface is literally the sun. The sun has been a major factor in my life – I usually go to the gym at five and then I come back out and watch the sunrise.”

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He also added that he misses his friends and family, saying it isn’t the same communicating via a screen:

“I am definitely missing being physically with my family and friends. The effects of being available only through technology are complicated because even though I can communicate regularly, the lack of ability to reach out or see them with my eyes in person has an effect.”


Clare Fitzgerald is a Writer and Editor with eight years of experience in the online content sphere. Graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from King’s University College at Western University, her portfolio includes coverage of digital media, current affairs, history and true crime.

Among her accomplishments are being the Founder of the true crime blog, Stories of the Unsolved, which garners between 400,000 and 500,000 views annually, and a contributor for John Lordan’s Seriously Mysterious podcast. Prior to its hiatus, she also served as the Head of Content for UK YouTube publication, TenEighty Magazine.

In her spare time, Clare likes to play Pokemon GO and re-watch Heartland over and over (and over) again. She’ll also rave about her three Maltese dogs whenever she gets the chance.

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