SIXTY YEARS IS A LONG TIME when it comes to raising the bar. When Guinness World Records first published what would become its celebrated book on global record-breaking achievements back in 1955, for example, the Most Expensive Bottle of Wine record was what now seems a modest £4.93. Todays equivalent figure is a cheeky £74,521.89.
Sixty years on, some records have, however, stood the test of time. Robert Wadlow has not been overtaken as the Worlds Tallest Man (8ft 11.1in, 1940) and Rock Around the Clock (Bill Haley & the Comets, 1954) remains the Biggest-Selling Single by a Group.
Record bids can give rise to bitter argument, but as the stature of the Guinness World Records book has grown, inclusion within its pages has in many cases been enough to lay such controversy to rest.
And talking of controversy, naturally the book contains a number of underwater records. The under-ice freediving exploits of Denmark’s Stig Åvall Severinson (see also this month’s Beachcomber) are the most recent to be included in the 60th anniversary edition of what constitutes a record in itself – “the worlds best-selling copyright book”.
Severinsen in fact set his records in 2013. For the Longest Swim Under Ice – Breath Held (No Fins, No Diving Suit) category he swam no fewer than 76.2m under ice at Qorlortoq Lake in Ammasslik Island, east Greenland on 17 April.
The previous day he had enjoyed the luxury of a suit when he set a record for Longest Swim Under Ice – Breath Held (Fins & Diving Suit) of 152.4m at the same site.
Severinson’s are far from the only underwater endurance records recognised in the book. The Longest Scuba Dive (Enclosed Environment) record of 192hr, 19min 19sec was achieved by Cem Karabay (Turkey) in a pool at the Activity Plaza of Cadde Bostan in Istanbul, Turkey, from 21-29 October, 2011.
UK diver Sean McGahern set the Longest Open Saltwater Scuba Dive (Cold Water) record of 12hr 34min in St Georges Bay, Malta, on 4 March, 2012.
And McGahern was back and immersed at the same venue later the following year (3-5 October, 2013) to set a Longest Open Saltwater Scuba Dive record of 49hr 56min.
The Longest Open Fresh Water Scuba Dive record remains the preserve of Jerry Hall (USA), who remained at a depth of 3.6m on a submerged platform in Watauga Lake, Tennessee for 120hr 1min 9sec, from 29 August to 3 September, 2004. In accordance with the rules, he did not surface at any time.

THEN THERE IS DEPTH. The First Deep-Ocean Dive record was set long before Guinness World Records first appeared but was already enshrined in history – on 15 August, 1934, Americans William Beebe (1877-1962) and Otis Barton (1899-1992) descended to a then-record depth of 923m in a tethered bathysphere off the Atlantic island of Bermuda.
Both the Deepest Scuba Dive in Sea Water and outright Deepest Scuba Dive (Male) records in Guinness World Records are attributed to Nuno Gomes (South Africa) with a dive to 318.25m in the Red Sea off Dahab, Egypt, on 10 June, 2005.
Nine years earlier, Gomes had set the Deepest Scuba Dive in a Freshwater Cave record (23 August, 1996) by plumbing a depth of 282.6m at the Boesmansgat Cave in the Northern Cape province of South Africa.
Essentially a very deep sinkhole, the cave at the surface resembles a small lake with vertical sides.
The Deepest Scuba Dive (Female) record was also set in the Boesmansgat Cave by a South African, Verna van Schaik. She dived to a depth of 221m there on 25 October, 2004.
The dive lasted 5hr 34min, of which only 12 minutes were spent descending.
How deep can you take a pressurised watch The Deepest Watch Diving Limit was set by an instrument that can function at 6000m. Swiss manufacturer Montres Charmex SA reached this depth with the 20,000ft model of its mechanical Divers’ CX Swiss Military Watch on 5 January, 2009.
Finally in this round-up, the Oldest Diving Suit record belongs to “The Old Gentleman of Raahe”, which can be found at the Museum of Raahe in Finland.
Dating from some time in the 18th century, it was donated to the museum by Captain Johan Leufstadius (1795-1867), a Finnish ship-owner and mariner.
A replica of the suit, made from stitched calfskin, was successfully tested in 1988.
Other underwater records can be found in the annual Guinness World Records book, which has sold more than 132 million copies in more than 100 countries since it was first published in 1955.
Overall the special 2015 edition is said to feature thousands of new records and photographs, as well as Augmented Reality animation, which allows you to download a free app, point your mobile device to a page and watch the records come to life in 3D.
There is also a digital bonus chapter designed to take the reader on a behind-the-scenes tour, while the start of each chapter is a retrospective of what has happened in that particular category over the past 60 years.
The 2015 Anniversary edition is priced at £20. For more information, visit