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Scuba Diving on Catalina Island

Catalina Island’s naturally clean and clear waters, abundant marine life, giant kelp forests, and diver-friendly services have made the island one of the top dive destinations in the world. In fact, a recent issue of Rodale’s Scuba Diving magazine ranked Catalina Island the #1 Dive Destination in North America in the annual Reader’s Choice Awards of the top 100 dive destinations in the world!

Several dive shops on the island offer everything from introductory dives and refresher courses to certification. Introductory dives are led by certified instructors and are designed to make your first diving experience a safe one. Offshore diving and charter boat excursions are also available, as well as equipment rentals and sales.

Annual Special Event for Divers

Each year in February, as many as 500 divers attend the Annual Avalon Harbor Underwater Clean-up. This is the only day of the year scuba diving is permitted in Catalina Island’s beautiful Avalon Bay!

The exception is made for a good cause, to clean up the bay. In the past, divers from all over California, the western states and as far as Europe have traveled to Catalina Island to participate.

The refuse found in the bay will be collected over a two-hour period, sorted, and recycled by volunteers. An awards ceremony follows with awards given out for exemplary trash, most unusual trash, biggest piece of trash, and the annual “B.S.” Award, where contestants are invited to display their “booty” and tell their “story” about the origin of a particular item.

The Underwater Clean-up is a fund-raiser benefiting the Santa Catalina Island Conservancy Divers and the USC Hyperberic Chamber on Catalina Island. The USC Hyperberic Chamber is the closest life support recompression chamber to thousands of divers who scuba dive in the nearby waters.

For more information, call the Catalina Conservancy Divers at (310) 348-4750.

Casino Point Marine Park

Located at the edge of the Casino Building, Casino Point Marine Park is Southern California’s first city-designated underwater park. Established in 1965 by the City of Avalon as a reserve, Casino Point is the only spot within Avalon’s city limits where diving is permitted and has recently undergone improvements.

Because it is protected, an abundance of marine life dwells there and several wrecks and artificial reefs have been established to provide additional habitats. Giant kelp forests also flourish in the park.