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SAN DIEGO DIVE SITES

A SAN DIEGO DIVE SITE FOR EVERY DIVER


From shallow sandy bottoms to deep submarine canyons,
you’re guaranteed to find a San Diego dive site that is just the right fit for you:.

INTERESTED ON A DIVE SITE BEYOND YOUR SKILL LEVEL?

Add a tour guide to your booking and rest assured that someone will take special care of your needs.

DIVING CONDITIONS San Diego diving conditions change daily, if not hourly

Locals will guarantee you that the fall is the best time of year to dive around here, mostly because of the warm(ish) waters and the epic visibility. Here’s an average of our conditions, by season:

 

🌡 🥽WINTERSPRINGSUMMERFALL
SURFACE TEMP58° - 60° F58° - 64° F62° - 73° F61° - 68° F
DEPTH TEMP52° - 56° F46° - 50° F50° - 55° F55° - 60° F
SAN DIEGO VIZ15 -30 ft10 - 15 ft15 - 30 ft20 - 60 ft
CORONADO ISLANDS VIZ30 - 70 ft30 - 50 ft30 - 60 ft50 - 100 ft

ALL DIVE SITES

All
  • All
  • Advanced & Up
  • All Levels
  • Tech
coronado-islands-scuba-diving-san-diego

Coronado Islands

The Mexican Coronado Islands are located about 20 nautical miles from Mission Bay and offer great diving for all experience levels. Home to an abundance of marine life including sea lions, harbor seals, horn sharks, and eels, the islands also serve as a migratory bird sanctuary.

Some say it’s one of the best places to swim and photograph California sea lions. Other notable species include fine-scaled triggerfish, sea hares, and a variety of SoCal inshore reef fish.

Dive conditions are usually much better than local San Diego, with visibility reaching between 60 ft to 80 ft in the stellar fall months. Join us for a day trip to Mexico and be back home in time for dinner!

Find a trip to the Coronado Islands

HMSC-yukon-san-diego-scuba-diving-california

HMCS Yukon

On a quiet summer night in 2000, the HMCS Yukon prematurely sunk off San Diego’s coast to later become a major attraction of the famous Wreck Alley.

The 366 ft Canadian destroyer now sits hard on its port side, between 65 ft and 105 ft underwater. The massive wreck is blanketed in multi-colored strawberry anemones, schooling reef fish, and surging kelp.

The Yukon is a popular wreck training site with a variety of swim-throughs and wreck penetration opportunities. It’s the most accessible and intact wreck found on the California coast and it's located only 15 minutes away from our shop!

Find a trip to the HMCS Yukon

NW-La-Jolla-waterhorse-charters-san-diego

La Jolla Cove (Kelp Beds)

La Jolla Kelp Beds, widely known as ‘La Jolla Cove’, is the most popular diving area of San Diego. Its appeal resides on the fact that most of its best dive sites are within swimming distance from the beach. Usually reached by an effortful swim from the shore, you'll feel lucky diving this site from a boat.

The accessibility, combined with the protected marine population and the California staple kelp forests, explains La Jolla’s popularity. It’s not rare to encounter sea lions and even small sharks while diving there.

Being the most accessible dive site in town, you’ll likely notice more human presence here than in any other dive site.

Find a trip to La Jolla Cove (Kelp Beds)

NOSC-tower-scuba-diving-san-diego

NOSC Tower

Before being toppled by a large storm in 1988, the NOSC Tower, or Naval Ocean Systems Center, served as a research installation right off Mission Bay.

Now it sits in about 55 ft underwater, with some of its beams coming up to about 30 ft. Because of its twisted steel structure, divers compare this site to a “Jungle Gym” or a small oil rig.

Marine life is clustered all over the support beams, which attract a large quantity of California inshore reef fish species. It is not uncommon to see giant sea stars or even a black sea bass or two on this site.

Find a trip to the NOSC Tower

p28-scuba-diving-san-diego-waterhorse-charters

P38

During an attack practice with two other planes, the P-38 aircraft damaged its props after hitting one of its wings on the water. The captain made the hard choice of ditching into the ocean, leaving the aircraft behind. He saved himself with a few minor injuries.

The wreck now sits in about 130ft of sand and it’s often visited by very experienced and tech divers. Located right off Torrey Pines, the P-38 is mostly intact. 70+ years underwater has corroded away some of its components, but the aluminum shell and plexiglass cockpit remain intact. 

On a clear day, expect great photo opportunities with big fish and fellow divers patrolling the historic plane wreck.

Find a trip to the P38

point-loma-kelp-deep-scuba-charters-advanced-dives-waterhorse-san-diego

Point Loma Kelp Beds

Point Loma is known for having one of the largest and healthiest kelp forest extensions of the whole Southern California coastline.

The luscious kelp canopies tower over big boulders, overhangs, ledges, and cracks, creating the perfect environment for a diversity of marine life to call home. Giant sea basses, sevengill sharks, and guitarfish are common sightings in the area.

Spot specific trips are hard to pin down due to dive conditions and other boat traffic - that’s why we keep it restricted to a general area. Notable spots include New Hope Rock, 6 Fathoms, Horsehead Reef, Goal Posts, Broomtail Reef, NRAD, and North/South Pipe.

Find a trip to Point Loma Kelp Beds

point-loma-sea-cliffs-Canyon-Waterhorse-charters-san-diego

Point Loma Sea Cliffs

During the last ice age, when the sea level was 100 ft lower, the “Ancient Sea Cliffs” were battered and carved by the relentless waves and tides of the ocean.

Nowadays, these cliffs lie between 65 ft and 110 ft underwater, and create slot canyons, large overhangs, and other dramatic features that awe even the most seasoned divers. At some of the sites, the kelp line is within a short swim of the walls, which makes this area even more special.

Spot specific trips are hard to pin down due to dive conditions and other boat traffic - that’s why we keep it restricted to a general area. Notable spots include Three Fingers, Main Wall, Dyno Head, and Ancient Sea Cliffs.

Find a trip to Point Loma Sea Cliffs

ruby-e-scuba-diving-san-diego-waterhorse

Ruby E.

The Ruby E., a 166 ft Coast Guard cutter originally designed to enforce the Prohibition, was intentionally sunk off San Diego’s coast in 1988.

Inhabited by a variety of easily-spotted nudibranchs, it has become a popular local macro diving site amongst underwater photographers. Its strawberry anemone-covered structures provide the perfect shelter for schooling half-moons and blacksmiths.

Lying upright in about 80 ft of water, the weathered wreck shows signs of substantial collapse in its structure and, for that reason, swim-throughs and penetration are not advised.

Find a trip to the Ruby E.

Scripps-Canyon-Waterhorse-charters-san-diego

Scripps Canyon

Scripps Canyon is a submarine canyon located north of the Scripps Pier in La Jolla, right offshore the famous surf break Blacks Beach.

The canyon starts around 75 ft and goes deeper from there, well beyond recreational scuba diving limits. This site offers great wall diving, so good buoyancy control is a must. Some highlighted marine life in this area include swell sharks, nudibranchs, and vermillion rockfish.

Although accessible by shore, very few attempt the strenuous task of getting to and from this dive site. Diving it off a boat is definitely a treat.

Find a trip to the Scripps Canyon

train-wheels-scuba-diving-san-diego-waterhorse-charters

Train Wheels

This dive site, located about 1.3 nautical miles from the Point Loma lighthouse, is named after a random set of train wheels lying around the vicinity of the site.

With its sandy bottom lying at 100 ft deep and its reefy top at about 60 ft, this site’s rocky walls are carved into three main canyons. Encrusted with a large variety of invertebrates and algae, one of the caverns houses a swim-through wide enough for divers to penetrate one at a time.

We base most of our trips to this site on the tides, as this site is vastly affected by the tidal flow from San Diego Bay.

Find a trip to Train Wheels

uss-hogan-scuba-diving-san-diego

USS Hogan

The USS Hogan lies in about 135 ft of water right on the US-Mexico border.

At 314 ft long, the ship was a destroyer decommissioned after WWII and used as a bombing target, which led to her sinking and new life as a dive site.

Due to depth, current, and unpredictable visibility, this site is for very experienced and tech divers only.

Find a trip to the USS Hogan

LOCAL HIGHLIGHTS:

 

INTERESTDIVE SITE
SEA LIONSCoronado Islands
SHIPWRECKHMCS Yukon
KELP FORESTPoint Loma Kelp Beds
MACRO-PHOTOGRAPHYNOSC Tower
TECH DIVINGScripps Canyon