Can a Scuba Tank Explode – Myth or Fact?

Last Updated: June 2, 2022

The question “do scuba tanks explode?” has been a very polarising subject to date. Anyone who has watched the movie “Jaws” knows that it can happen. Some believe it to be a myth, and some know it to be a reality.

So, what is it? Is it just another myth or something that divers should be careful about? Read on to debunk the myth and find the answer.

Scuba Tank Explosion: Myth Or Fact?

The short answer is yes; scuba tanks can explode. Anyone who is well versed in the subject of physics will know that when air is compressed and stored, there is a chance that it might explode.

The thought of going scuba diving when you know that your pressurized tank can become unstable and eventually explode is pretty terrifying. Some might even say that it’s like carrying a time bomb, and you don’t know when it might explode.

But, here’s the thing. While there is a chance that scuba tanks can explode, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will. We’ll tell you why.

Before scuba tanks come into stores for being sold, there is a process of testing. Every scuba tank has a pressure rating. Before they are made available to be purchased, these tanks go through the rigorous process of examination, where they are tested to 1.5 times the required pressure. Example: A 300 bar tank is checked till the 400 bar tank.

They are also regularly sent for a hydrostatic test. Here, the tanks are pressurized beyond their usual limits and parameters. This is done in a safe, closed space. If any of these tanks break under pressure, they will immediately be rejected and won’t be up on the market again.

Any dents, budges, or any type of corrosion or damage done during this test will also determine if a tank is safe to be sold.

What Are The Causes of Tank Explosion?

Other causes can lead to a tank explosion as well.

Punctured Tanks

A punctured tank can very quickly cause a lowering in the pressure level inside the tank, and this can cause an explosion.

Over Pressuring The Tanks

Every scuba tank has a limit to which it can hold oxygen safely. If this limit is ignored and filled beyond its capacity, it can lead to an explosion.

So, always keep the limit in mind while filling up your oxygen tanks.

Over Heating Of The Tanks

You should ideally store and transport scuba tanks in a cool place. When you leave it in the sun for too long, the tank might overheat and lead to a dangerous explosion.

So it’s important to read the instructions properly and follow them religiously.

Failure Of Valves

This is by far the most common cause of tank explosions. A valve allows the oxygen to move from the tank to the tube of the diver. Failure in valve function can prove to be fatal.

Its failure can be caused by dropping the tank or improper handling of the tank.

Final Thoughts

Scuba diving, like all other sports, comes with its own sets of risks and dangers. A tank explosion is by far the most dangerous hazard of them all.

The explosion of an oxygen tank is definitely possible, but it is also a very rare occurrence. However, this can all be easily avoided by just taking proper care of the tanks.

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