The Ocean - Your Open Water Dive Experience

Southern California Rocky Reef

Where do you want to dive?

Southern California offers some of the top diving in the world.  The most popular and best dive spots for beginners and continuing education are based upon easy entry/exit points and more calm conditions.  While conditions can vary due to weather, the best spots are more protected from waves, current and surge which can reduce visibility and increase swimming effort.
Catalina Island and the other local Channel Islands diving are where we conduct most of our training for new divers and continuing education to complete their open water dives.  It is by far the best option and provides you with the highest quality of experience in the area.
The three key places we consistently take our Open Water and Continuing Education certification programs to dive are:

1. Avalon, Catalina Island - Casino Point, which offers protected shore diving and boat diving on the King Neptune outside Avalon; this is called our Deluxe Catalina Weekend.
2. Anacapa Island - we charter local dive boats to the closest of the local Channel Islands that offers some of the best beginner diving.
3. Santa Barbara Island - we charter local dive boats to this small Channel Island that is better suited to more advanced dives and continuing education.
Local boat diving off the mainland is also another option when conditions are stable.  The quality of diving is predictably not as good as it would be from the local islands and may not be suitable on many days throughout the year.  Some days can be very good, but again, it is not recommended as a first choice for a beginner.  For continuing education, local boat diving offers tremendous opportunities to dive locally and experience the diversity of nearby reefs.
Beach diving is highly not recommended for most beginning divers.  It is always a very last alternative when first learning.  It requires a good level of fitness and strength to walk while carrying over 40 pounds of gear and entering breaking surf. For continuing education, in particular rescue diver and professional level training, beach diving can further enhance training and experience.
As new divers grow and become more comfortable and experienced, we recommend including guided local boat dives and beach dives with a Malibu Diver Professional.