The instructors and professional staff at PADI five-star instructor center Beach Cities Scuba introduce students to the big blue with PADI-certified diving courses for divers of all levels. They certify newbies with basic open-water courses and teach advanced divers in specialty courses such as Deep Diver, Rescue Diver, and Shark Therapist. They operate out of five convenient locations and sling necessary gear in onsite stores, from wetsuits and facemasks to spear guns. Beach Cities Scuba also connects divers through its dive club and hosts exotic dive trips to locations such as Indonesia, Fiji, and Cozumel.
Eco Dive Center?s dedication to water conservation shines through in its educational programs?the dive team teaches its students not only about scuba diving, but how to properly care for and respect the underwater world. It?s much more than just a water-safety school and aquatics emporium, although it does house dive gear from renowned brands such as Bare and Oceanic in its 5,000 square-foot store. And it does, of course, certify students in both basic open-water PADI skills and more advanced specialties, such as rescue and first-response.
Eco Dive has led underwater cleanup expeditions off of Santa Monica Pier, removing hundreds of pounds of trash in the process, and has enlisted the help of school children to spruce up local beaches. It has also partnered with area non-profits such as Heal the Bay, an organization that educates the public about reducing water pollution and administering splints if waves sprain their ankles.
Scuba.com stocks its digital shelves with thousands of scuba and snorkeling products from reputable manufacturers and offers a full manufacturer's warranty on all products. A pair of blue or silver H2O Andros full-foot dive fins ($21.95) facilitates speedy propulsion across sparkling waterways, and a Genesis Quadra dive mask ($24.95) allows divers to garner panoramic views of oceanic life and Atlantis's fabled art-deco skyscrapers. Diving devotees can invest in a warm-water wetsuit package, which ropes in an entire wardrobe of scuba gear including a wetsuit, a hood, boots, and gloves ($172.80+). Wearers of Sherwood Edge snorkels ($19.95+) gaze upon stunning underwater vistas while hovering near enough to the surface to grab some fresh air or crawl back onto the boat in the event of delinquent dolphins. Or flaunt maritime hobbies on T-shirts ($7.95+), hats ($6.95+), and jackets ($19.95+). Scuba.com offers free shipping on select orders more than $25.
Though it's changed hands, equipment, and even names over its 50+ years history, Deep Blue Scuba & Swim Center is a little piece of diving history. The scuba shop started its life as one of the first in the country, quickly came into the public consciousness thanks to a cover story in the February 1956 issue of Skin Diver magazine, and was even owned at one point by a colleague of Jacques Cousteau, Sam Lecocq.
Though a lot has changed since the early days, when Sam patented his “WaterLung” apparatus—the first single-hose regulator—Deep Blue has lead the charge into new technologies. Their state-of-the-art facility houses a heated indoor pool complete with an Eco-Safe filtration center. There, PADI-certified instructors teach landlubbers to breathe underwater in as little as two hours in introductory classes or certify treasure hunters as search and recover divers by throwing gold doubloons in the pool.
Jacques Cousteau had barely slipped the first scuba tank off his back when Pacific Wilderness opened its doors in 1953. Since then, the shop’s staffers have used their collective expertise to outfit divers with high-quality equipment from brands including Aqualung, Oceanic, Scubapro, Seaquest, and Zeagle.
They also teach PADI scuba-certification courses that range from basic open-water training to advanced rescue diving. Lessons start at the on-land facility's heated pool but progress to weekend-long dives in the waters of Redondo Beach. The shop's scuba-philes also arrange journeys to exotic locales such as the Sipadan Water Village Resort in Malaysia and the secret depths of Camp David's presidential bathtub.
Just off the coast of Southern California in the waters surrounding Catalina Island resides an underwater civilization as awe-inspiring as the city above. To see it, the experienced divers of Diving Catalina outfit explorers of all skill levels to swim over the marine landscape, leading journeys into the protected Casino Point Underwater Dive Park and the kelp forest. In addition to guiding tours, Diving Catalina also rents snorkeling equipment and leads classes that range from introductory dives to advanced, postcertification scuba training to become the next Aquaman.