Scuba Diving: Frequently Asked Questions
All divers regardless of discipline must download and complete the following Watersports Waiver
Detailed boat specifications can be found in the Boat Specs section of this website but here are few details that will be useful to divers.
What is included in my scuba trip?
All onboard facilities are at your disposal. This includes first class food, drinks, twin share cabins, bedding, air fills, weights and a friendly crew. Liquor, Mexican fishing permits and rental equipment are not included.
What do I need to bring on a scuba trip?
Pack light but remember to bring the essentials. This includes bathing suits, sunscreen, sunglasses, towel(s), certification cards, any medication you need, warm clothes, and all your dive gear including tanks. You do not need to bring dive weights.
Do I need to make a reservation?
Yes. Advance reservations are required for all trips but there may be room available for last minute bookings due to cancellations.
What is Islanders diving season?
While Islander is offshore on multi-day trips in search of Tuna and other pelagics during the peak of the summer, our dive season runs from September the beginning of July each year. September and October are spent at Guadalupe Island cage diving with Great White Sharks. Lobster trips in California waters begin in October while Long-range dive trips down the Baja peninsula begin in November. Check out the Schedule page for details.
Do you supply rental gear?
While we do not supply rental gear onboard, we will gladly arrange for any rental gear you may need including tanks, wetsuits and complete dive packages with advance notice. Just Contact us with your details such as height, weight and sex so that we can secure this gear for you.
How far in advance do I need to book?
We recommend that you and your group book at least 2 weeks in advance for open trips. For large groups or private full boat charters we recommend booking as early as possible to ensure your dates. Much of islanders schedule is booked up to 1 year in advance.
Do I need to bring my own tanks?
Yes, we will provide tanks for only for divers who contact us and request them in advance. Due to personal preferences, many divers prefer to use their own tanks.
What support do you have for Tec divers?
Many of our dive trips will cater to both the recreational/sport diver as well as the Technical or mixed gas divers. There are many pinnacles down the coast that offer exceptional deep diving. Islander welcomes experienced technical divers although at this time, we cannot refill NITROX, Trimix or O2 tanks while at sea.
How much do your trips cost?
Trip cost is largely based on length and destination.
As San Diego's premier long range dive vessel we can go anywhere from the Channel Islands to the southernmost point of the Baja Peninsula. Check out our Dive trips page or our full Schedule for specific prices. Contact us if you wish to book a full boat charter.
Does a Divemaster dive with us?
The Islander has a qualified Dive Master onboard to ensure the safety of all divers. For this reason they are usually on the surface. If you wish to book a guided dive or to have a divemaster/ instructor accompany you on your dives please Contact us before your trip.
Can I dive with Nitrox?
We cater for all levels of certified divers on Islander. If you are trained in the use of Nitrox and would like to bring your tanks onboard just show us your cert card and go for it! At this time however we cannot offer NITROX refills while at sea.
Do you cater for non-scuba divers?
Yes! Non-divers are welcome but are counted as a passenger and we cannot carry more than our coast guard regulated passenger limit. We often cater to both scuba and freedivers on our trips, but if you want to stay completely dry you are still more than welcome onboard!
Do you allow hunting on scuba?
Yes, hunting is allowed on Scuba in California waters only. Divers collecting game in California must be in possession of a current fishing license and possess appropriate measuring devices.
In Mexican waters, spearfishing is only permitted while freediving. Mexican regulations also prohibit the taking of any and all shellfish. Look but don't touch. All freedivers spearfishing in Mexico waters must possess a Mexican fishing permit.
What is the diving like at each site?
Detailed descriptions of our dive sites can be viewed by clicking on the dive sites button. Our full range is on the diving coast map.
What is the usual water temperature?
Southern California/Northern Baja surface temperatures range from the low sixties during spring months to a high near 70 degrees through summer and fall. Although surface temperatures are relatively warm during the summer months, divers will experience a sharp thermocline towards the bottom which is very standard in California diving so don't forget your gloves! The coldest water temperatures but best visibility occur in the winter months where it can drop into the mid 50's then warming up again towards June. Some offshore destination can boast visibility up to 100' or more while visibility at island destinations usually range from 30'-80'. As with any offshore/island destination, strong currents and choppy sea states are possibility. Captains will asses conditions and work hard to choose ideal dive sites suiting experience levels of those aboard.
Traveling south into Baja, divers will be treated to an extremely unique experience as they dive their way south through the latitudes into progressively warmer water. The full scope of Baja's pacific underwater flora and fauna can be experienced as it transitions from cold productive into warm tropical waters. In a ten day trip, divers may begin their trip in 60 degree water and finish the trip in 80 degree water with no thermocline. Visibility rarely goes below 30 feet and can be as high as 150 feet in many places. Experienced divers will enjoy our open ocean pinnacle diving as well as pristine islands but should be aware that strong currents and choppy surface conditions are frequent challenges and part of diving in untamed and pristine environments.
Do I need dive insurance?
Islander Charters strongly recommends that all divers, regardless of experience, carry valid dive insurance. Islander Charters does not provide insurance of any kind. Divers can buy dive insurance through Divers Alert Network. This is especially encouraged for traveling divers.