San Diego Diving

SCUBA Dive Sites

The following table will help assist you in finding a dive site that fits your experience level.

Skill Rating Guide for Dive Sites


Dive Site
Depths
Min. Cert Recomended
NOSC
35'-60'
Beginner
El Ray
70'-80'
Novice
Ruby E
55'-85'
Novice
Yukon
65'-105'
Novice/Advanced
Pt. Loma
40'-100'
Novice/Advanced
Coronado
15'-90'
Beginner
P-38
130'
Experienced
Hogan
125'
Experienced
Level Guide
Based on Cold Water Dives
Beginner
5+ *
Novice
20+ *
Advanced
30+ *
Experienced
90+
* And have been diving in the last 6 months. Otherwise please inquire on a private divemaster hire.




Wreck Alley

Wreck Alley consists of a group of artificial reefs 1.8 miles off the coastline of Pacific Beach. This recreational dive area has been an ongoing project by the San Diego Diving Council and the California Department of Fish and Game since 1986. Depths range from 65' to 105'.

Dive sites visited are:


Yukon

At 366' feet in length, the Yukon is one of California's largest wrecks accessible by divers and is the most intact wreck divers can visit.

She was intentionally sunk in July of 2000 by the San Diego Oceans Foundation as part of the artificial reef project, known as Wreck Alley. An abundance of entry and exit holes were cut into her to increase accessibility as well as diver safety. Penetration is readily available for those with the proper certifications. However, there is plenty to see on the exterior including both forward and aft gun turrets.

Unfortunately, the sinking of her was never executed. The night before her sinking, water entered the holes cut low to the waterline and shortly after midnight, her bow headed for the bottom. She lies on her port side in about 100' of water with an average minimum depth of about 75 feet along the starboard side. 

The Yukon has something to offer for almost every diver from the novice to the "Techies".

Online Schedule / Reservations

Skill Level: Novice/Advanced

Date of Sinking: July 14th, 2000

Type: Canadian Mackenzie Class Destroyer

Cause of Sinking: Intentional: Artificial Reef

Length: 366' Breadth: 42' Tons: 2,380

Depth: ~105'
Visibility: 15-40'

Built: 27 July 1961

Yukon Yukon Aft

Yukon Forward Guns
Above Photos © Copyright Andrew Sallmon



Ruby E

The Ruby E, a 165-foot long Coast Guard Cutter, was sunk as part of the Artificial Reef Project in June of 1989 and sits in about 85 feet of water.

She has been down for over 20 years with the harsh environment taking its toll.  There are areas where the sides of the superstructure and hull are getting quite thin, but the wreck remains intact. She sits upright on the bottom and is intact and penetrable. However, caution should be taken when penetrating, as sharp rusted metal is all around. Most of the wreck is covered with growth, such as strawberry anemones.


Online Schedule / Reservations

Skill Level: Novice

Date of Sinking: June 18, 1989

Type: Former Coast Guard Cutter, Fishing Boat, and Salvage vessel

Cause of Sinking: Intentional: Artificial Reef

Length: 165' Breadth: 38' Tons: 150

Depth: ~85'
Visibility: 15-30'

Built: 1934, Seattle, Washington

RubyE Bow RubyE Penetration

RubyE Railing
Above Photos © Copyright Andrew Sallmon



NOSC Tower

Built in 1959 and used through the late1980’s, this research platform was used by the Naval Electronics Lab (NEL) and Naval Ocean Systems Center (NOSC), hence where it got its name.  It once stood over 100 feet tall and was the naval research center for measuring internal waves, swell, wave propagation and numerous other oceanographic areas.

In 1988, during El Nino, huge waves battered the Tower and during the night, a rouge wave smashed into the tower toppling it forever onto the ocean floor. Today, it's a tangle of girders and beams. A previously good dive site, is now even more intriguing, as time and the inhabiting marine life have really developed the site in one of the most colorful and populated in San Diego.

Skill Level: Beginner

Cause of Sinking: Toppled over during El Nino

Depth: Top of structure: 35' Bottom: 65''
Visibility: 15-30'

Online Schedule / Reservations

NOSC Tower



Pt Loma Kelp Beds

Glide through the underwater forests of Point Loma. Large rocky reef bottoms covered by thick kelp canopies provide homes for a wide variety of creatures. Depths range from 35 to 80 feet.

Many different types of kelp are found in kelp forests, among them are giant kelp, bullwhip kelp, the palm kelp and the feather boa kelp.

Underwater kelp forests shelter snails, crabs, shrimp, starfish, sea anenomes, sea cucumbers, brittle starfish, many species of nudibranch's, California spiny lobsters and many other marine creatures.

You'll be swimming among pinnacles and rocky terrain with lots of structures. Diving through giant kelp beds is a unique experience.

Online Schedule / Reservations

Aggregating anemone Kelp blue ring topsnail

aeolid Polycera tricolor

Yellowfin Kelp Forest
Above Photos © Copyright Allison Vitsky



Coronado Islands, Mexico

The Coronado Islands is a great dive destination for all certification levels.... for those getting certified to experienced tech divers, there's something for everyone to enjoy. Visibility is usually much better than coastal San Diego dive sites.

Recently, we've seen 70'+ visibility at some of the sites. The islands also hosts harbor seals and sealion pups who are just waiting for us to show up to have something new to play with. They'll may even nip your fins - but they're friendly, playful & very cute!

As of April 19th, 2012, we are now able to issue the required Mexican Tourist VISA during check in. Please note that a valid form of photo ID is required during check. Valid forms of ID are: a Passport, Drivers License, or any other Government issued photo ID. If in the event you do not have a valid form of identification during check in, we can not issue a VISA. No VISA, No boarding the vessel.

If you have specific questions with forms of ID, please email us at info@waterhorsecharters.com.

Online Schedule / Reservations

Harbor Seals Sea Lions
Above Photos © Copyright Mathew Meier

Eel Ship Wreck Lobster Shack

Coronado Islands, Little Rock



Technical Diving

San Diego also offers dives sites that are catered to tecnical divers. Feel free to bring your doubles, or rebreathers on board for some extended dive times to dive sites that include the P-38 and the Hogan.

Online Schedule / Reservations

P-38

Despite the number of SCUBA divers that have visited the wreck, it remains remarkably intact and undisturbed. The aircraft went down May 28, 1943 and sits in 130' of water off Torrey Pines.



The Hogan received six battle stars for World War II service. The veteran ship was assigned as a target ship for bombing tests and was sunk off San Diego November 8th, 1945. She is 314' 6" long and lies in 125' waters at the Mexican Border.



Photo courtesy of Seamus Callaghan




Last but not least.... Our SKY DIVING CLUB!