All around Catalina Island are designated zones called marine protected areas (MPAs). Typically, MPAs exist to protect natural resources and promote biodiversity. The Catalina MPAs are from Arrow Point to Lion Head Point, at Bird Rock and Blue Cavern, at Cat Harbor, Long Point, Farnsworth, and Casino Point. Of these, Casino Point Dive Park stands out. It’s a popular scuba diving and snorkeling spot right in the town of Avalon, with the iconic Catalina Casino as its backdrop. Read on to learn everything you need to know about the Casino Dive Park.
More about the Marine Protected Area: As an MPA, the Casino Point Dive Park is protected from fishing, spearfishing, and other intrusive activities that involve taking live animals or other living things from the marine environment. This special protection helps the park to remain a healthy, suitable habitat for all the local marine life.
So much to see: The Dive Park is home to so much amazing life. Bright orange garibaldi, big black sea bass, slinky eels, spiny lobsters, elusive octopus, and playful sea lions can all be seen in this special underwater world. And there’s nothing like swimming through the long fronds of the giant kelp forests; they’re especially gorgeous and golden when the sun shines down through the water.
Never the same place twice: Divers often visit the park more than once because the world underwater is constantly changing. Kelp can grow up to 2 feet in a day! The habitat is growing, and with it, all the marine life grows too.
Beginners welcome: Casino Dive Park has something to offer for all levels of divers, from beginner to expert. It’s easily accessible from the shore—via a set of stairs that lead into the water. Even snorkelers are able to join the underwater fun.
Go with a pro: Guided tours of the Dive Park are available here. A professional, informative Divemaster can help all levels of divers to explore and learn about the Pacific treasures throughout the dive park. These tours run daily at 12 pm and 2 pm.
Get wrecked: In addition to rocks, reefs and kelp forests, there are shipwrecks to see within the 2.5 acres of the Casino Dive Park. Look for the Suejac, the Kismet, or the Eleanor while you’re exploring.
A strong history: Back in 1962, Carl and Maggie Koehler, the original owners of Catalina Divers Supply, designed this unique park. It was formally established in 1965. It’s now such a great (and popular) spot to see all kinds of Southern California underwater flora and fauna. Catalina Divers Supply is the longest running, full-service diving facility on Catalina, and our efforts continue to ensure that the Casino Dive Park is preserved and enjoyed in the future.
You can preserve your memories, professionally: Tours with Catalina Divers Supply offer the option of an underwater photographer to help capture some scenes from your dive. Be sure to call 310-510-0330 to book.
Know the conditions: Around the island, the water temps range from about 70 to 74 degrees during the summer, 65-70 in the fall, 59 to 65 in the winter, and 65 to 70 in the spring. The clear waters around Catalina provide great diving conditions, with some days of visibility up to 100 feet.
Make it official: Catalina Divers Supply offers all of PADI’s Certifications and specialty dive courses. With some time and dedication, you could start as a snorkeler and work your way up to being a certified diver, all while experiencing Catalina waters.
Plan ahead: In Catalina—especially during busy summer months—it’s a good idea to make reservations in advance for diving adventures. Reach out to reserve spots for Guided Dives, SCUBA, SNUBA, or other gear rentals.
Stick to the plan: Things happen, and sometimes divers have to cancel. At Catalina Divers Supply, there’s no penalty for cancellations made at least one week before your dive activity. Rebooking fees may apply for rescheduled events, and no-shows are charged the full price. If activities are cancelled by the operator due to weather or other issues, customers will receive a full refund.
We got the gear: On the other hand, don’t let a glitch with your gear ruin your dive. We offer experienced gear repair for just about anything that might arise.
Great location: While it’s wise to make plans ahead by calling Catalina Divers Supply, the full-service dive center is conveniently located on the ground floor of the Catalina Casino Building, right by the dive park. The dive shop’s original location still exists on the green Pleasure Pier in Avalon as well. Stop by either spot to learn more.
Book it: Do you have more questions about diving in the Casino Dive Park? Call us at 310-510-0330.