The Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques (CMAS) or the World Underwater Federation is the highest recognised authority for several aquatic sports. The federation was founded in 1959 in Monaco after delegates from 11 nations met a year earlier in Brussels with the intention to establish an independent international confederation for underwater disciplines. With the headquarters in Rome, the federation now has over 130 federations from 5 continents as part of its membership. As a governing body, CMAS manages international competitions and is a leader in scientific research and development, especially with regards to environmental matters. It is also responsible for promoting underwater activities worldwide at all age levels, and to bring awareness of the preservation of the underwater world. The federation is associated with development of one of the oldest and most extensive dive training systems in the world. CMAS also complies with the Olympic Charter.
There are 10 different disciplines that fall under the management of CMAS.
Aquathlon – is also known as underwater wrestling. Two competitors wearing masks and fins attempt to remove a ribbon from each other’s ankle band in order to win the bout.
Finswimming – is made up of four techniques. An athlete can either swim on the water’s surface or underwater. On the surface can include the use of a snorkel and fins. The fins can be monofins or bifins. Underwater swimming is with the use of a monofin, and either holding your breath or using open circuit scuba diving equipment.
Free Diving – is also known as skin diving. This involves underwater diving without the use of any breathing apparatus such as scuba gear but relying only on breath-holding. The equipment includes a diving suit and a monofin.
Underwater Hockey – is played by a team of 10 players with only 6 submerged at any time. The objective is to hit the puck into the opponent’s goal using a short stick.
Orienteering – takes place in deep, open water. Competitors must complete a course over large distances remaining completely submerged. Tasks are completed with the aid of a compass and distance meter.
Underwater Rugby – is a team sport and has little in common with rugby football. Teams aim to place a negatively buoyant ball into the opponents’ goal located at the bottom of the swimming pool.
Spearfishing – is entirely dependent on the physical strength of a competitor as no artificial breathing devices are used. The task is to hunt and capture fish underwater.
Sport Diving – features in a swimming pool for individual competitors or teams. The set events test on technical, tactical and psycho-physical abilities, diving abilities and skills with various types of equipment.
Target Shooting – can take place in open water, but the preferred choice is a swimming pool for better visibility. Competitors require very little equipment. Target shooting is done with a mass-produced speargun on a target. Precision, Biathlon and Relay are the three disciplines.
Visual – involves underwater photography and videography.