Snorkeling is a wonderful activity which allows you to enjoy the coastal waters of California and the rich, ocean life in it. The water is the right temperature to allow kelp to grow in forests off of the coast providing a rich and protective habitat for native fish and other animals to live in and thrive. With very little equipment and getting some instruction on what to look for in the water such as currents or hazards, you can easily be in the water enjoying the natural beauty of ocean life around you.

Tours –

Snorkeling is fairly easy to learn, so most places offer tours with some minimal instruction on how to clear your snorkel of water and defog your mask and how to kick using your fins. Several places offer guided tours with rental equipment such as mask, fins, snorkel, and 3 mm wetsuit (a thin wetsuit for comfort – the ocean temperature in the Pacific off of California is about 65 – 70 degrees in summer months). As long as you can swim, with a few tips you can master snorkeling and enjoy the peaceful beauty of life under the ocean's surface. Some tips include how to clear your snorkel - as it can become filled with water, how to defog your mask, and how to "kick" your legs properly in the water to get maximum forward motion without wasting energy that you will need to use to return to shore.

Here are a few places that offer Snorkel Tours:

Catalina Snorkel Scuba – 310-510-8558
Catalina Scuba Luv – 310-510-2350
Snorkeling Catalina – 877-218-9156
San Diego Excellent Adventures – 619-962-9306
Pacific Beach Sports – 619-206-9425

Scuba Diving

Scuba Diving requires classes that teach you how to use all of the equipment and safety when diving. You need complete a few phases: one is to pass a physical test in the water, two is to complete your knowledge development about dive communication and safety in the water, and 3 is to complete several dives in confined water and open water to get certified. The physical portion is related to swimming. You don't need to have been a member of the swim team in school, just comfortable in the water. The 2 tests are usually administered in a pool: 1 is to tread water for 10 minutes straight and the other is to swim 200 meters without stopping. The swimming test for 200 meters is not timed, so you do not need to rush through it and become exhausted prematurely. Just take your time and complete the 200 meters and you will have passed the Open Water Swimming Tests! The knowledge development portion requires that you learn some basic hand signals that are universally used among divers such as giving the OK hand signal to indicate that you are fine and nothing is wrong or to give a thumbs up while under water to indicate that you are going to the surface. You will also need to understand the limits of how long you can stay under water when using a tank of air as it is a mix of surface air which contains both nitrogen and enriched oxygen which allows you to breathe underwater but can cause complications if you do not understand why you can only stay under as long as you Dive Computer tells you.

There is also some additional pieces of equipment that you will need to dive farther underneath the surface such as a weight system (or weight belt) and buoyancy control device (BCD) which are used together to control your diving depth by making you sink and float accordingly. The time under water uses a component of depth of the dive to compute how long you can stay under. Also needed are the tank and a regulator, which is a piece of equipment that goes from the tank to your mouth while under the surface and allows you to breathe. The Dive Computer and Dive Watch are needed to measure the length of time you are under and the depth that you at so you stay within the established limits set for the dive before you went into the water.

Here are some places that provide Diving Instruction Classes and Training on Open Water and Beach Dives

Eco Dive Center 310-398-5759
LA Scuba Diving 818-749-3483
Cali Coast Divers 310-775-1883
Catalina Snokel Scuba 310-510-8558
Catalina Scuba Luv 310-510-2350
Aqua Industrial Scuba 310-480-3413
San Diego Excellent Adventures 619-962-9306
Pacific Beach Sports 619-206-9425

Places to Snorkel \Scuba Dive –

Leo Carrillo State Beach – Malibu
Paradise Cove - Malibu
Malaga Cove – Palos Verdes
Long Point – Palos Verdes
Crystal Cove State Beach – Laguna Beach
Little Corona del Mar Beach – Corona Del Mar
La Jolla Cove Eco Reserve – La Jolla
Casa Cove / Childrens Pool – La Jolla
Marine Room – La Jolla
Mission Bay – San Diego
Casino Point Dive Park – Catalina
Lovers Cove - Catalina