Everything you need to know about the Underwater Cleanup on Catalina
Avalon Harbor is full of boats, kayaks, paddleboards, kids, floaties, and lots of sea creatures—especially in the summertime. It is one of the best places to be in Southern California. The thing is, all of this fun on the water can lead to lost things, like sunglasses slipping off, beer bottles dropping, or toys tossing into the ocean. Who is going to clean all of that up? Here’s some good news: Every year in the late winter, the town of Avalon makes a huge event out of cleaning up all the trash and debris that made its way into the ocean over time. Enter: the Avalon Harbor Underwater Cleanup. Catalina’s underwater ecosystems are one of California’s most precious natural treasures, and the Cleanup aims to keep it that way. This is one of Southern California’s major dive events.
Here’s what you need to know about the Catalina Underwater Cleanup:
Help! Good work like this requires a lot of helping hands. From morning through afternoon, volunteers are needed to make a cleanup day like this a success. There are spots available to sign up and help here.
Who? More than 600 divers converge in the waters of Avalon Harbor. Dive clubs tend to come into Avalon from many other California towns or neighboring states. Dive clubs can sign up together. Catalina Divers Supply and the Avalon Rotary Club Foundation are the co-hosts of this year’s cleanup event.
When? Prepare for wintry waters. Set for Saturday, February 25, 2023, this is the one day of the year that recreational scuba diving is allowed in Avalon Harbor. Average ocean temperatures in Avalon during the month of February are around 59 degrees.
Got gear? You might need a thicker wetsuit for that cold February water. Dive equipment is available from Catalina Divers Supply. We can supply divers with tanks, weights, wetsuits, and more. Be sure to reserve your rental gear ahead of time and arrange to pick up your gear either at the Casino Point Dive Park or at the Green Pleasure Pier. Note that the Catalina Divers Supply has a new Dive Center that is located on the ground floor of the historic Casino Building.
Clean ocean: Avalon is an island community, and keeping the ocean clean and beautiful are of utmost importance. Unfortunately, trash and debris can cause all kinds of harm to ocean life. Year after year, divers haul out thousands of pounds of bottles, cans, sunglasses, cellphones, beach toys, boat parts, jewelry, tires, keys and many other items that don’t belong in the ocean.
Early birds: It pays to be early. Early registration is available for a discounted price of $45, and the early registration period ends on January 31, 2023. Non-diver registration is $30. You can register at the Catalina Divers Supply website.
Schedule of Events: On a typical Underwater Cleanup day, divers begin to check in at 7 a.m. Then, a dive orientation is held before the divers head into the water and the cleanup begins. After about one and a half hours of dive time, all divers must exit the water.
Winner, Winner: Celebrate after the dive. An awards ceremony on Wrigley Stage follows the cleanup. There are prizes and giveaways for participants. Every year, prizes are awarded for the most interesting items found in the harbor. You never know what kind of treasures you’ll find in Avalon Harbor.
A Local Tradition: Rumor has it that this dive event started in the 1970s when the local dive community decided to get together to clean up the harbor. This special day has gone through many changes and different organizers throughout the decades, but its honorable mission remains the same: keeping our ocean and the beaches of Avalon clean.
For a good cause: Proceeds from the dive are to benefit the USC Hyperbaric Chamber, the Avalon Rotary Club Foundation, and Avalon’s Casino Dive Park improvement project.