Water lovers crave scuba diving off Los Angeles’ shores, even with its chilly waters. With the Pacific right in its backyard, Los Angeles is just begging for divers to flock to its sunny shores and explore itd watery deeps. With that in mind, get your gear ready — whether that means buying a high-end kit or renting when you get there — and then drop off on a delicious dive, snagging a certifying lesson or two along the way.
Eco Dive Center
4027 Sepulveda Blvd.
Culver City, CA
Price: $488 open dive certification/$240 advanced dive certification
Instructor Jorge Valdez promises to help students sharpen their skills underwater while they earn a navigation certification at Eco. Join Valdez for a plunge to remember in Redondo beach, and be sure to bring a compass and lights for advanced lessons in the watery deeps. Study up for the standard open-water certification as well as advanced courses including learning to be an instructor and a rescue diver.
This outfit, which provides an abudance of top-of-the-line equipment, also offers online certification programs backed by its brick-and-mortar staffers who can assist in any kind of scuba experience you choose to pursue. This is also the place where the entertainment industry goes to get its kits, so be prepared to run into celebrity regulars when you stop by to peruse the stock or sign up for a class. Although these are dry dives, the expert service and top-notch education make it more than worthwhile.
Ocean Adventures Dive
1915 Lincoln Blvd.
Venice, CA 90291
Price: $395 open dive certification/$300 advanced dive certification
Certification is not the only thing on this enterprise’s mind as Ocean Adventures offers outstanding recreational dives all over California from its Venice Beach base as well. Sign up to explore the deep everywhere from Anacapa and Catalina islands to Santa Cruz. Other destinations include the oil rigs off Redondo Beach where three dives unearth some rare experiences not found anywhere else in the Southland. One big treat from this enterprise: Certain excursions are absolutely free, so be sure to check the calendar for this kind of rare opportunity.
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Aqua Adventures Unlimited
2120 W. Magnolia Blvd.
Price: $499 open dive certification/$249 advanced dive certification
Snag that open water certification from a Burbank outfit that takes scuba education seriously. Take the group package and study, get your rental gear, and then take off for Catalina via express boat. In this magical corner of the Pacific, ripe with all kinds of sea life, you’ll have plenty of time to practice while you earn your PIC certification card. Other programs available at Aqua Adventures allow divers to strut their stuff, earning titles ranging from rescue diver to dive master.
Ocean Safari Scuba
125 E. Las Tunas Dr.
San Gabriel, CA 91776
Price: $298 open dive certification/$198 advanced dive certification
Get wet with Ocean Safari Scuba, a company that takes enthusiastic divers through the paces of their chosen program, offering instructions in both English and Chinese. All sorts of trips are planned and posted on this outfit’s website for a whole year out, so takers may pick from summer dive excursions in Cortez Bank in Southern California, the Painted Cave in Northern California and the Midriff Islands in Baja.
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Los Angeles freelance travel writer Jane Lasky, contributes to publications such as Travel + Leisure, Vogue and Esquire. Her weekly sojourning column ran in 40 newspapers for 20 years. Jane is anything but an accidental tourist. Check out her articles on Examiner.com.