Scuba Diving in U.S.A.
Where do we start? With the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Oceans, The U.S.A. provide so much opportunities to all type of diving.
CLIMATE: Mostly temperate, but tropical in Hawaii and Florida, arctic in Alaska, semiarid in the great plains west of the Mississippi River, and arid in the Great Basin of the southwest; low winter temperatures in the northwest are ameliorated occasionally in January and February by warm chinook winds from the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains.
LANGUAGE: English 82.1%, Spanish 10.7%, other Indo-European 3.8%, Asian and Pacific island 2.7%, other 0.7% (2000 census) note: the US has no official national language, but English has acquired official status in 28 of the 50 states; Hawaiian is an official language in the state of Hawaii
ELECTRICITY: 110 Volts 50/60Hz with flat 2-pin plug or 3-pin (two flat pins and rounded ground pin).
CURRENCY & CREDIT CARDS: The U.S. Dollar is the official currency. Major Credit Cards are widely accepted at stores and visitor facilities. Automated Teller Machines (ATM’s) can be found around the city.
GRATUITIES: Tipping is but appreciated, Mostly will be around 10-20%
PHONE & INTERNET SERVICE: Country code – 1. Widely use of cellular phone and internet.
VISA & PASSPORT REQUIREMENTS: All travelers to the United States are required to hold a valid passport; the passport should be valid for six months beyond your departure from the U.S. The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows citizens of 37 participating countries to travel within the United States without a visa for 90 days; travelers must have valid Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) approval prior to travel, return travel tickets and a passport with a photo and an electronic chip. Visitors not eligible for VWP must apply for a non-immigrant visa. For more information, visit U.S. Department of State.
CUSTOMS: Please visit U.S. Customs and Border Control Protection website
DEPARTURE TAX: NO departure tax.
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Alabama – There are several quarries for diving in Alabama, however most dive centers make regular trips to the Gulf of Mexico, often to Orange Beach (Alabama) and to Panama City (Florida) as well as further south into Mexico.The state of Alabama enjoys a narrow strip of Gulf of Mexico coastline, and wherever there is access to the sea, there is always some scuba diving. In addition to its coastal sites, Alabama also has a deep interior where some old quarries have been converted into scuba diving sites.
Alaska – Diving in Alaska is done in various areas. Live-aboard is popular since they can travel to many dive sites, but divers also find local lakes and beach dives are loaded with adventure. Many of the live-aboard travel in the sheltered and calm passage of British Columbia and Alaska. With much of Alaska’s diving in the sheltered and calm Inside Passage of B.C. and Alaska. you find adventure above the water and below. Always add some surface excursions to your travel to Alaska. The scenery is stunning and spectacular. The diving is some of the best cold water diving in the world.
California – California diving ranges from Northern California free diving to the Southern California’s kelp diving. From North of San Francisco to Fort Bragg is a free divers dream. Diving off the beach for a variety of species of lobster and abalone, divers are in paradise. Due to state regulations all dives are to be done without scuba tanks. From Monterey to southern California, scuba tanks are allowed and this is where you will find most of the diving community. Southern California diving offers more of a contrast with beach diving, boat diving and diving off or near the Southern California Channel Islands.
Colorado – Looking for a little altitude diving, go to Colorado. Diving occurs in the many Lakes and reservoirs of Colorado all surrounded with breath-taking views of the Rocky Mountains. Dive sites in Colorado are not the best in the world but there is a surprising amount of beauty beneath the fresh lake waters and the stunning scenery around you more than makes up for the limited marine life. Because Colorado is land locked, many of its divers venture out to the more exotic locations around the world. Divers from Colorado do more out of state and country diving than any other state in the Union.
Florida – With more than a thousand miles of coastline, the most south-eastern state in the USA has just about everything for the scuba diver. From inland lakes and caves to magical reef and wrecks. The enormous variety in marine habitats and types of dive sites has made Florida one of the most popular dive destinations for divers around the world. The only natural living coral reef in North America is found offshore of South Florida and the Florida Keys. The state also offers opportunities for shore-entry dives, wreck dives, spear fishing, lobstering, treasure hunting, and snorkeling. Divers can even explore caves and caverns in freshwater springs and lakes.
Guam – is a territory of the United States and its official languages are English and Chamorro. Its has over 1000 species of reef fish and 375 species of corals. Located in the Marianas Archipelago, Guam is the largest island in Micronesia. Guam’s reefs are colorful, gorgeous and teeming with life, from the colorful coral heads to the multitudes of sea creatures that call them home. The Marianas Trench is the deepest ocean in the world, and is only a mile and a half off the coast of Guam.
Great diving can be found around the entire island, depending on wind and other weather conditions – some areas are seasonal. Guam played a role in both WWI and WWII, leaving behind wrecks from both wars, which are in recreational dive limits and great dives.
The best probably being the SMS Cormoran, sank in 1917 and the Tokai Maru, sank in 1944 the only dive site in the world where a WWI and WWII wreck touch underwater.
Hawaii – Home to one of the world’s most active volcanoes and the world’s tallest sea mountain. Birthplace of modern surfing, the hula, and Hawaii regional cuisine. Former seat of a royal kingdom and home to the only royal palace on US soil. Hawaii is one of the youngest geological formations in the world and the youngest state of the union. But perhaps Hawaii’s most unique feature is it’s aloha spirit: the warmth of Hawaii’s people that wonderfully complements the Islands’ perfect temperatures. There are four major islands to visit in Hawaii: Kauai, Oahu, Maui and the island of Hawaii.
Illinois – Much of Illinois diving is done in Lake Michigan for the multitude of wrecks in the region. Avid scuba divers traveling in Illinois need not give up their pastime, even if they are nowhere near Chicago and Lake Michigan. Illinois has a handful of flooded rock quarries that have
been converted into scuba diving destinations. One of them, Mermet Springs, a spring-fed rock quarry, 120 feet deep, and covering about 8.5 acres, is a first-class dive facility in southern Illinois.
Maryland – The diving in Maryland is both challenging and adventurous . There are numerous charter boats that operate out of Ocean City and visit sites such as the Blenny artificial reef sub and the Hall an 81 foot Coast Guard Cutter. Also, the Washington and African Queen are popular wreck dives just to name a few. Activity includes photography, speafishing and lobstering. There is diving in Chesapeake Bay, but the visibility can very. The best time of year to dive the bay starts in October with Oyster Dives. Residents are allowed one bushel per person. For inland diving, Hydes Quarry is very popular for both divers and snorkelers. Maryland diver also visit quarry in Pennsylvania and Virginia.
Michigan – In the early years of the United States, the Great Lakes were a natural highway to its interior. The vast inland waterway provided convenient but dangerous transportation. Sudden storms, fog, heavy traffic, and shipping companies demanding that schedules be kept regardless of weather, all resulted in the loss of thousands of schooners, steamers and barges. The bottom of the Great Lakes is littered with these lost ships that are time capsules from another era. They have been preserved by the cold, freshwater of the Great Lakes.
When you go diving, be ready for cool water temperatures. Although surface water temperatures may reach 65 degrees or more in midsummer, temperatures below 40 degrees are common at depth. Most Great Lakes divers use full wetsuits or drysuits. Diving in the Great Lakes may be colder, but it is worth the extra effort to see such perfectly preserved shipwrecks.
Missouri – National Geographic Adventure named the diving at Bonne Terre Mine in Missouri one of the top 10 adventures in America, and it’s easy to see why. Back in the day, the mine’s deepest reaches were not underwater. A massive pump system stemmed the flow of encroaching groundwater as the miners pushed ever deeper. But when this, the world’s largest lead mine, was all mined out, the pumps were turned off and water trickled in to fill the void. These days, mine owners Doug and Catherine Goergens maintain a constant water level, providing divers with access to their unique underwater vision.
Nevada – Lake Mead National Recreation Area, which includes Lake Mead and Lake Mohave, is a unique freshwater diving area. It offers a wide variety of diving environments for both novice and advanced divers. No, it’s not the Caribbean, but Lake Mead is a great dive destination for those of us who just want to blow bubbles or take a break from the Las Vegas Strip.
New Jersey – While New Jersey is not up to the standards of the waters of the Caribbean or the Red Sea, and even in summer divers need a thick wetsuit to endure the cold waters, the state’s offshore waters are littered with shipwrecks. It has thousands of exciting wrecks within recreational limits and artificial reefs that let you dive with an abundance of sea life. New Jersey is a superb place for wreck diving. Best to contact a local dive shop if you are not familiar with the dive sites in New Jersey. Most of the wrecks are off the Long Island sound.
New York – Like the other states along the Atlantic, the dive season is April to November; wet-suite clad divers will fare best in late summer and early fall. A dry suit is recommended, but wear at least a 7 mil. suit, gloves and hood. Most of the diving is for wreck divers and hunters. With the limited visibility, most divers stay with their buddy. New York has many dive shops and clubs to visit and join if you are not familiar with the local diving. It is highly recommended.
North Carolina – Scuba divers are drawn to North Carolina to dive the variety of spots both offshore and in close to shore. The North Carolina waters are bathed by the clear, warm waters of Mexico’s Gulf Stream. The coast of North Carolina offers some of the best scuba and wreck diving in the United States. The Outer Banks of North Carolina have claimed hundreds of seagoing vessels. Today, wreck-loving scuba divers can reap the benefits on dozens of sites that are well preserved, accessible and packed with marine life, from thick schools of fish to scores of sand tiger sharks. North Carolina is also known for the finding of Megalodon Shark teeth off the near-by coast.
Oregon – Scuba diving in Oregon is an interesting choice from Pacific coast to volcanic crater at high altitude! So make sure you understand how to set your dive computer for altitude diving. There are two craters that offer great opportunities. Firstly and not surprisingly by name, Crater Lake and then followed by Waldo Lake. Crater Lake has an approximate depth of nearly 600 meters/1950 feet and an approximate height of 1885 meters/6180 feet above sea level. The most distinctive features about Crater Lake are the colors and visibility (100+ feet). In it’s own right, it is a tourist attraction just because of the amazing indigo blue water. Definitely one to have in your dive log. Waldo Lake is a similar lake with good clarity, but not quite matching that of Crater Lake. Coastal diving is a challenge as the weather can be rather temperamental. Visibility ranges from 6 to 30 feet and the water temperature during the summer period, from May through to September ranges from 10c (50f) to 18c (65f).
Pennsylvania – There are a wealth of locations to dive locally in Central PA. There are numerous scuba diving lakes that are specifically designed and maintained for use by divers. These scuba diving lakes feature underwater platforms for classes and skill building. The lakes also contain underwater attractions such as submerged boats, planes, construction vehicles, and buoyancy practice courses. There are many local dive clubs that dive throughout the state.
South Carolina – South Carolina has all the right ingredients for creating a coast strewn with shipwrecks. The state has a major port in the form of Charleston, plus a coast regularly lashed by hurricanes, and has seen a few wars knock on its doorstep. The result is that the coast of South Carolina is so dotted with wrecks within recreational diving limits that no matter where you are on that coast, whether it be Myrtle Beach, Charleston or Beaufort, underwater ruins off the coast are waiting for you.
Texas – There are over 30 different diving locations throughout Texas. Everything from rivers to quarries, lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. In the Gulf, Texas has major shipwrecks, marine sanctuaries, and big pelagic sea life. One of the most visited and famous is the Flower Garden Banks – between 70 and 100 miles from Galveston. The Banks rise from the sea floor like a mountain ridge to a depth of 60ft. The Flower Banks represent the northernmost coral reef ecosystem in American waters.
Washington – If you love outdoor activities, Washington has an abundance of spaces and places where you can enjoy them. The cold, emerald waters of the Pacific Northwest are a real treat for Scuba diving. Puget Sound, Hood Canal, the San Juans, and the Oregon and Washington coasts. Divers in the Pacific Northwest are presented a large variety of life, ample dive locations, and dynamic diving opportunities such as walls, bull kelp forests, drift dives and dive parks.
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