Recreational dive sites
Recreational dive sites include specific places that recreational scuba divers go to enjoy the underwater environment. This includes publicly accessible recreational diver training sites and technical diving sites beyond the range generally accepted for recreational diving. In this context all diving done for recreational purposes is included. Professional diving tends to be done where the job is, and with the exception of the recreational diving service industry, does not generally occur at specific sites chosen for their easy access, pleasant conditions or interesting features.
- 1 Bodies of water commonly used for recreational diving
- 2 Popular features of dive sites
- 3 Regions where recreational diving is a major tourist industry
- 4 Regions of notable biodiversity
- 5 Dive sites of unique or exceptional interest
- 6 Temporary list of Wikipedia dive site articles
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Bodies of water commonly used for recreational diving
- Sea and Ocean shorelines and shoals. These are salt water sites and may support high biodiversity of plant and animal life forms. Shipwrecks are also common on some coasts, and are very popular attractions for a large number of divers.
- Lakes, usually containing fresh water. Large lakes have many features of seas including wrecks and a variety of aquatic life. Artificial lakes, such as clay pits, gravel pits, and quarries often have lower visibility. Some lakes are at high altitude and may require special considerations for altitude diving. Abandoned and flooded quarries are popular in inland areas for diver training and sometimes also recreational diving. Rock quarries may have reasonable underwater visibility as there is not as much mud or silt cause low visibility. As they are not natural environments and usually privately owned, quarries often contain features intentionally placed for divers to explore, such as sunken boats, automobiles, aircraft, and abandoned machinery and structures.
- Rivers generally contain fresh water but are often shallow and murky and may have strong currents.
- Caves containing water provide exotic and interesting, though relatively hazardous, opportunities for exploration.
Popular features of dive sites
There are a wide range of underwater features which may contribute to the popularity of a dive site:
- Accessibility is important, but not critical. Some divers will travel long distances at considerable cost to get to a site with exceptional features.
- Biodiversity at the site: Popular examples are coral, sponges, fish, sting rays, molluscs, cetaceans, seals, sharks and crustaceans.
- The Topography of the site: Coral reefs, walls (underwater cliffs), rocky reefs, gullies, caves and swim-throughs (short tunnels or arches) can be spectacular.
- Historical or cultural items at the site: Ship wrecks, sunken aircraft and achaeological sites, apart from their historical value, form artificial habitats for marine life making them more attractive as dive sites.
- Underwater visibility: This can vary widely between sites and with time and other conditions. Poor visibility is caused by suspended particles in the water, such as mud, silt, suspended organic matter and plankton. Currents and surge can stir up the particles. Rainfall runoff can carry particulate matter from the shore. Diving close to the sediments on the bottom can result in the particles being kicked up by the divers fins. Sites which generally have good visibility are preferred, but poor visibility will often be tolerated if the site is sufficiently attractive for other reasons.
- Water temperature: Warm water diving is comfortable and convenient, and requires less equipment. Although cold water is uncomfortable and can cause hypothermia it can be interesting because different species of underwater life thrive in cold conditions.
- Currents and tidal flows can transport nutrients to underwater environments increasing the variety and density of life at a site. Currents can also be dangerous to divers as they can carry the diver being away from the surface support or the planned exit point. Currents that meet flow over or around large obstructions can cause strong local vertical currents and turbulence that are dangerous because they may cause the diver to lose buoyancy control risking barotrauma, or impact against the bottom terrain.
Regions where recreational diving is a major tourist industry
Regions of notable biodiversity
The Cape Peninsula (Cape Town, South Africa)
The Cape Peninsula marks the boundary between the cool temperate South-western Cape bioregion, which extends from Cape Columbine to Cape Point, and is dominated by the cold Benguela current, and the warm temperate Agulhas inshore marine bioregion to the east of Cape Point which extends eastwards to the Mbashe River. The break at Cape Point is very distinct in the inshore depth ranges, and the waters of the east and west sides of the peninsula support noticeably different ecologies, though there is a significant overlap of resident organisms. There are a large proportion of species endemic to South Africa along this coastline.
Dive sites of unique or exceptional interest
Wreck dive sites
|Adolphus Busch||Looe Key, Florida||United States|
|USS Arthur W. Radford||Cape May, New Jersey||United States|
|HMAS Adelaide||Avoca Beach, New South Wales||Australia|
|Antipolis||S33°59.06’ E018°21.37’||Oudekraal, Cape Town||South Africa|
|Aster||S34°03.891’ E018°20.955’||Hout Bay, Cape Town||South Africa|
|RMS Athens||S33°53.85’ E018°24.57’||Mouille Point, Cape Town||South Africa|
|HNLMS Bato||S34°10.998’ E018°25.560’||Simon's Town||South Africa|
|Bia||S34°16'12.7" E018°22'38.3"||Olifantsbospunt, Cape Peninsula||South Africa|
|USCGC Bibb||Florida||United States|
|SAS Bloemfontein||S34°14.655’ E018°39.952’||False Bay, Western Cape||South Africa|
|Barge Boss 400||S34°02.216’ E018°18.573’||Leeuwgat Bay, Cape Peninsula||South Africa|
|HMAS Brisbane||Mooloolaba, Queensland||Australia|
|East Indiaman Brunswick||S34°10.880’ E018°25.607’||Simon's Town, Cape Peninsula||South Africa|
|HMAS Canberra||Barwon Heads, Victoria||Australia|
|HMNZS Canterbury||Bay of Islands||New Zealand|
|HMCS Cape Breton||British Columbia||Canada|
|Cape Matapan||S34°53.233' E018°24.533'||Table Bay, Cape Town||South Africa|
|Captain Keith Tibbetts||Cayman Brac||Cayman Islands|
|CS Charles L Brown||Sint Eustatius||Leeward Islands|
|HMCS Chaudière||British Columbia||Canada|
|Clan Monroe||S34°08.817' E18°18.949'||Kommetjie, Cape Town||South Africa|
|Clan Stuart||S34°10.303’ E018°25.842’||Simon's Town, Cape Peninsula||South Africa|
|HMCS Columbia||British Columbia||Canada|
|USCGC Cuyahoga||Virginia Capes||United States|
|Australian Army ship Crusader||Flinders Reef off Cape Moreton, Queensland||Australia|
|Daeyang Family||Robben Island, Cape Town||South Africa|
|SAS Fleur||S34°10.832’ E018°33.895’||False Bay, Western Cape||South Africa|
|USCGC Duane||Florida||United States|
|G.B. Church||British Columbia||Canada|
|SAS Gelderland||S34°02.070’ E018°18.180’||Leeuwgat Bay, Cape Peninsula||South Africa|
|Gemsbok||Cape Town||South Africa|
|SATS General Botha||S34°13.679’ E018°38.290’||False Bay||South Africa|
|USNS General Hoyt S. Vandenberg (T-AGM-10)||Key West, Florida||United States|
|Glen Strathallan||Plymouth||United Kingdom|
|SAS Good Hope||S34°16.054’ E018°28.850’||Smitswinkel Bay, Cape Peninsula||South Africa|
|HMAS Hobart||Yankalilla Bay, South Australia||Australia|
|VOIC ship Het Huis te Kraaiestein||S33°58.85’ E018°21.65’||Oudekraal, Cape Peninsula||South Africa|
|Barque Highfields||S33°53’07.9” E18°25’49.8”||Table Bay, Cape Town||South Africa|
|Hypatia||S33°50.10’ E018°22.90’||Robben Island, Cape Town||South Africa|
|Inganess Bay||British Virgin Islands|
|Katsu Maru||S34°03.903’ E018°20.949’||Hout Bay, Cape Peninsula||South Africa|
|Keryavor and the Jo May||S34°02.037’ E018°18.636’||Leeuwgat Bay, Cape Peninsula||South Africa|
|USS Kittiwake||West Bay, Grand Cayman||Cayman Islands|
|Lusitania||S34°23.40’ E018°29.65’||Bellows Rock, Cape Point||South Africa|
|HMCS Mackenzie||British Columbia||Canada|
|Maori||S34°02.062’ E018°18.793’||Leeuwgat Bay, Cape Peninsula||South Africa|
|MS Zenobia||N 34°53.5’ E 33°39.1’||Larnaca, Cyprus||European Union|
|Oakburn||S34°02.216’ E018°18.573’||Leeuwgat Bay, Cape Peninsula||South Africa|
|USS Oriskany||Florida||United States|
|MFV Orotava||S34°15.998’ E018°28.774’||Smitswinkel Bay, Cape Peninsula||South Africa|
|Oro Verde||Cayman Islands|
|P29 Patrol Boat||Ċirkewwa||Malta|
|P87||Simon's Town||South Africa|
|HMAS Perth||Albany, Western Australia||Australia|
|SAS Pietermaritzburg||S34°13.300’ E018° 28.452’||Miller's Point, Western Cape near Simon’s Town||South Africa|
|MFV Princess Elizabeth||S34°16.068’ E018°28.839’||Smitswinkel Bay, Cape Peninsula||South Africa|
|Quarry Barge||S34°09.395’ E018°26.474’||Glencairn, Cape Peninsula||South Africa|
|USS Rankin||Stuart, Florida||United States|
|Rockeater||S34°16.127’ E018°28.890’||Smitswinkel Bay, Cape Peninsula||South Africa|
|Romelia||S34°00.700’ E018°19.860’||Llandudno, Cape Peninsula||South Africa|
|SA Seafarer||S33°53.80’ E018°23.80’||Mouille Point, Cape Town||South Africa|
|HMCS Saskatchewan||British Columbia||Canada|
|USS Scrimmage (MS Mahi)||Waianae, Hawaii||United States|
|HMS Scylla||Whitsand Bay, Cornwall||United Kingdom|
|USS Spiegel Grove||Florida||United States|
|Stanegarth||Stoney Cove||United Kingdom|
|Star of Africa||Albatross Rock, Cape Peninsula||South Africa|
|SS Thistlegorm||Ras Muhammad, Red Sea||Egypt|
|HMAS Swan||Dunsborough, Western Australia||Australia|
|HMNZS Tui||Tutukaka Heads||New Zealand|
|Um El Faroud||Qrendi||Malta|
|Thomas T. Tucker||Olifantsbospunt, Cape peninsula||South Africa|
|SAS Transvaal||S33°16.005’ E018°28.761’||Smitswinkel Bay||South Africa|
|MV Treasure||S 33°40.30’ E 18°19.90’||Koeberg||South Africa|
|Umhlali||S34°16.435' E18°22.487'||Olifantsbospunt, Cape Peninsula||South Africa|
|HMNZS Waikato||Tutukaka||New Zealand|
|HMNZS Wellington||Wellington||New Zealand|
|"Wreck Alley" – The Marie L, The Pat and The Beata||British Virgin Islands|
|Wreck Alley||San Diego, California||United States|
|Xihwu Boeing 737||British Columbia||Canada|
|HMCS Yukon||San Diego, California||United States|
|USAT Liberty||Tulamben, Bali||Indonesia|
Reef dive sites
Coral reef areas
|Region/reef system name||Location||Country/Territory|
|Belize Barrier Reef||Caribbean||Belize|
|Chuuk||South western Pacific Ocean||Federated States of Micronesia|
|Great Barrier Reef||Queensland||Australia|
|Hurghada||Red Sea, Indian Ocean||Egypt|
|John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park||Florida||United States|
|Marsa Alam||Red Sea, Indian Ocean||Egypt|
|Diving in the Maldives||Indian Ocean||Maldives|
|Ras Muhammad National Park||Red Sea||Egypt|
|Diving in Thailand||Indian Ocean, South east Asia||Thailand|
Cave dive sites
|Cave system name||Position||Location||Country/Territory|
|Sistema Dos Ojos||Yucatán||Mexico|
|Sistema Nohoch Nah Chich||Yucatán||Mexico|
|Sistema Ox Bel Ha||Yucatán||Mexico|
|Sistema Sac Actun||Yucatán||Mexico|
Quarry dive sites
Scuba diving quarries are depleted or abandoned rock quarries that have been allowed to fill with ground water, and rededicated to the purpose of scuba diving. They offer deep, clean, clear, still, fresh water with excellent visibility, and have no currents or undertow. They are often used as training sites for new divers, where classes and certification dives are carried out. Scuba diving quarries are often stocked with fish, for the divers to enjoy, and often feature contrived “wreck” sites, such as sunken boats, cars, and aircraft for divers to explore while diving. Many have some manner of dive shop on site to offer air fills, replacement diving equipment, and rentals. Oftentimes lodging or camping is available on site as well.
Quarries lined with stone, instead of earth or clay, may have remarkably clear water, with greater visibility than in many inland lakes. Clean, clear ground water is the primary source of the water that fills these quarries once they are no longer pumped out for mining operations. Many quarry mining operations are located in areas where filling from other, less clean sources, such as rivers and surface runoff of rainwater is not as likely.
Over time, however, most quarries tend to be contaminated with erosion products and nutrients from surface runoff, causing many to acquire a green tint due to algae growth, and silty bottoms, with silt accumulations of several inches.
Fresh water scuba diving does not require much different equipment then oceanic diving, although some cold water diving gear is very important, depending on the geographic location and time of year that is being dived. With water temperatures decreasing as depth increases, water temperatures at depth have been known to be as low as 35 degrees Fahrenheit. In those types of temperatures dry suit diving is recommended, but in slightly warmer temps, heavy wetsuit diving is possible, and with the use of hoods, gloves and core warming wetsuits, a diver can dive in relative comfort for long periods of time in water temps down to 40-45 degrees Fahrenheit. Diving in fresh water is less harmful to most scuba gear then salt water, and requires less post dive maintenance.
Operators of many scuba diving quarries often add objects or debris fields to the bottom of the quarry for divers to explore while scuba diving. Mostly these are man made objects such as boats, cars, and trucks. Some quarries have such large objects as school buses, small buildings, and even commercial airliners on the bottom. Often these sites are mapped out and marked with guide lines under the water.
Types of Fish
Often, operators of scuba diving quarries make efforts to stock the quarry with fish, to provide enjoyment for divers using their facilities. Most common are the same types of fish that thrive naturally in local lakes and rivers. Some quarries are known for the size and quantity of these fish, and some quarries have schools of rare, not often seen species of fish living in their waters, which are not native to the area.
- Dutch Springs, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
- Wazee Lake, Black River Falls, Wisconsin
- Quarry Park, St. Cloud, Minnesota
- Portsmouth Mine Pit Lake and Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area, near Crosby, Minnesota
- Stoney Cove, between Stoney Stanton and Sapcote in Leicestershire
- Dosthill quarry, near Tamworth, Staffordshire
- National Diving and Activity Centre, at Tidenham, Gloucestershire
Temporary list of Wikipedia dive site articles
Temperate rocky reefs
- Williams, Chris; Bowen, Linda (2008). "Wrecks of the Duane and Bibb" (PDF). Advanced Diver Magazine Ezine (1, reprinted from ADM issue 4): 62–72. Retrieved 2009-06-04.
- "ARSBC". Artificial Reef Society of British Columbia. Retrieved 2010-08-20.
- "Charlie Brown Artificial Reef". Golden Rock Dive Center. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- "5 Star PADI IDC Centre, Kenya, Zanzibar". Buccaneer Diving. Retrieved 2010-08-20.
- "Vandenberg sinking this morning". MSNBC. Associated Press. 2009-05-27. Retrieved 2009-05-28.
- "BVI Dive Site: Wreck of the Inganess Bay". Bvidiving.com. Retrieved 2010-08-20.
- Barnette, Michael C. (2008). Florida's Shipwrecks. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7385-5413-6.
- "The Cayman Islands Shipwreck Expo Directory Capt. Dan Berg's Guide to Shipwrecks information". Aquaexplorers.com. Retrieved 2010-08-20.
- "HMAS Perth (II) - Royal Australian Navy". Navy.gov.au. Retrieved 2010-08-20.
- "The ''Spiegel Grove'' is believed to be the largest ever wreck deliberately sunk as a diving site". Fla-keys.com. Retrieved 2010-08-20.
- "HMAS Swan (III) - Royal Australian Navy". Navy.gov.au. Retrieved 2010-08-20.
- "Cooper Island". Dive BVI. Retrieved 2010-08-20.
- "DailyDive.com - Scuba Diving Community". DailyDive. Retrieved 2015-11-19.
- p.a.d.i. diving manual
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Scuba diving.|
Media related to Underwater diving sites at Wikimedia Commons