Dive Catalina Island

The true beauty of Catalina Island is arguable under the surface in the nearshore waters surrounding the island. There are all kinds of exciting scuba locations around the island including reefs, kelp forests, ship wrecks, underwater walls, and submerged caves. The amazing diversity of colorful sea life makes any Catalina dive a worthwhile one. Last time I was there (May 2011), a friendly black sea bass that probably weighed about 350 lbs stayed with me for more than 15 minutes. Magical.

On this page we’re going to just cover some basics for those of you planning to dive Catalina. More detail about dive packages, dive certification and lessons, dive equipment rentals, as well as more detailed info on Catalina Island dive locations can be found on other pages throughout the site.

Catalina’s nearshore waters are among the most popular for experienced scuba divers, and beginners, in southern California. Visibility is excellent throughout the year, and is especially clear during the colder winter months (up to 150 ft). Water temperatures vary, averaging in the mid-70′s in the summer months and dropping to a brisk 56 degrees in the winter months. Excellent visibility, as well as an abundance of sea life, make a Catalina dive trip exciting every time.

If you are planing to get certified, and try diving for the first time, Catalina is the perfect place to do it. If you’ve already been to Catalina and visited the Casino, then I’m sure you’ve noticed divers clambering into wetsuits and donning tanks all along the waters edge. This is where you will likely take your first dive. The area just in front of the Casino is closed to boats, making it safe for novice divers. It’s very easy to get in and out of the water, and there is a nice set of cement steps leading right down into the water.

Renting dive equipment on Catalina Island couldn’t be easier. When you disembark from the ferry, you will walk a few minutes to get into town. Just before you reach the main drag, there is a dive shop on your left. The owner is an experienced dive instructor who has been offering dive classes for over 15 years right there on the island. He also shoots underwater footage for Discovery, National Geographic, and others in the waters surrounding the island and all over the world. Of course, if you’re smart – you will call ahead, book in advance, and plan your day accordingly.

If you’re planning a dive trip to Catalina Island, we suggest you go for one of the dive packages. Many of the “dive-friendly” hotels and dive shop offer package deals to include accommodations, luggage service, transportation to the island, boat dives, and Catalina Casino dive park dives. More on Catalina Island Dive Packages →