Click on a question below to read the answer:
How cold is the water?
The water temperature varies from winter to summer by almost 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperature is also dependant on what area of BC you are diving in. Generally it ranges from 7 to10.5C (45-51F) during the winter months, to 9 to 15C (49-59F) during the summer.
How much diving experience do I need to dive in British Columbia?
There are so many different areas to dive in BC, it is possible to find a location to suit any skill level. Since BC has currents, cold water, and deep water, it is best to obtain a local orientation when you arrive.
Can I take advanced training or specialty courses?
Yes, many of the charter operators, dive stores and instructors offer continuing education and specialty training. Dry suit, wreck diving, underwater photography, underwater naturalist or marine life identification courses are amongst the most popular.
Are there any sharks or dangerous marine creatures in BC?
Six gill sharks are sometimes seen in Barkley Sound, Nootka Sound, around Hornby Island and at other locations during the early summer months, but they are not considered dangerous. Some charter operators organize special dives to search for these gentle giants. Smaller spiny dogfish can be seen anytime throughout the year and are generally harmless. As with any wild animal, caution should always be taken in any situation. Other dangerous marine creatures can include lions mane jellies and fried egg jellies. Both beautiful creatures, but could possible cause harm by way of stings.
How is BC for underwater photography or videography?
Many of the marine residents residing within our emerald paradise are unique to this area, creating the opportunity to document your experience for a lifetime of memories. Wide angle, close-up and macro types of photography all work well, but strobes are recommended for any depth.
Are guided dives available?
Guided shore dives are available through most dive stores or from independent scuba instructors or divemasters. With prior arrangements, guides can also be arranged for boat diving and at the dive resorts. Live-a-board operations usually offer guides with small groups as part of the experience (but not mandatory).
Does anyone offer dive tours involving several locations in BC?
Several of the dive stores, resorts, travel companies and dive charter operators work together to organize custom itineraries so a visiting diver can experience 2-4 different areas while in BC. Golfing, skiing, fishing and other outdoor activities can also be arranged with prior notice.
When is the best time of year to dive?
Good diving is possible almost anytime during the year in British Columbia, depending on where you go. Generally though the winter months are considered to have the best visibility, whilst the summer has the most sun and BBQ’s!
Wide angle photography is often best during the winter months, and close-up or macro can be nice just about anytime!
If you are trying to see a particular type of marine resident like the Pacific white-sided dolphin, six gill sharks or a lingcod on eggs, we’d recommend email or contacting a charter or dive store and chatting to them about the best time and place.
Does BC cater to disabled divers?
Yes! Wheelchair access is possible at Porteau Cove, just north of Horseshoe Bay, Britannia Beach and at Mermaid Cove in Powell River for shore diving.
We would recommend checking with charter operators and dive lodges before booking, but BC welcomes disabled divers, and will do its best to help.
Are there any other things for my family to do in BC?
- Our emerald paradise is also an outdoor playground of activities. Family members may wish to partake in hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, whale watching, golfing or take an educational marine-related course while you are diving or after you are finished. BC is also known for its many different day-activities like visiting museums, art galleries, beautiful gardens, or enjoying a cup of espresso on the beach.
Is Nitrox or Trimix gas available?
Yes, many of the charter operators and retail dive stores have Nitrox available onboard/in-house or can arrange a Nitrox filled tank with prior notice. Trimix is also possible with prior arrangements.
Does anyone offer certification completion for the ocean training dives?
Yes, many of the dive charter operators work with local instructors and handle dive certification referrals. There are also a number of dive stores and instructors throughout BC who offer dive training and would be able to finish a scuba course. It is best to contact one of our members in the location you wish to visit and attain what information is needed.
Besides my scuba gear, what else should I bring for diving?
A light would allow you to bring out natural colors and peer into cracks and under ledges when diving on one of our many colourful reefs. An underwater camera system is a good idea, with all types of photography possible! A dry suit with hood, gloves and boots for exposure protection is advisable, but a 7mm wetsuit can be suitable.
Does BC have any shore diving?
Vancouver Island offers excellent shore diving in almost every area, and the local dive stores are happy to give you directions. Lower mainland Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast also offer an array of great shore diving. There are several BC diving guide books and marine life identification books offered for sale to aid in your dive planning. Your nearest dive store will be able to recommend and advise on local shore diving sites, advise on routes, tides and maybe even show you the way!
Can I rent dive gear when I arrive?
Complete sets of scuba gear with drysuits or wetsuits can be arranged at most dive stores and on some charter boats/resorts. Get in touch with a charter or store in the area you’re visiting to enquire about availability and price.
Is spear-fishing or collecting allowed?
It is not a common site or practice amongst local divers in BC. However during the proper fishing season, with all of the proper permits, license and gear, spear fishing and collecting is allowed, however a large number of the dive operators will not allow it during their charters.
Is there any technical diving or training done in BC?
Tec diving is very popular in BC, with most shops offering courses, equipment and gas fills for your needs. Both shore diving and most charters offer enough sites to keep avid technical divers smiling! Contact a dive store or charter when you visit, for more information.
Will I need dive insurance or my certification card and log book?
It is always a good idea to carry dive insurance whenever you travel. A certification is often asked for, and a log book is one way you can show your diving experience, which may be important if you want to do a drift, deep or night dive. A dry suit certification card may be required if you want to rent a dry suit, and bring your Nitrox card for fills or to use during your charter trip. Technical divers wanting specialized trips, training or gas mixtures, will want to show appropriate certification and experience.
Can I bring my pet?
Of course, so long as they have their own scuba gear!
With a proper health certificate and current shot record, most dogs and cats can be brought into BC. For other types of pets it is best to check with border authorities for current regulations. As for bringing your pet onboard a boat or to a dive resort, it is best to check with the business first.
What kind of underwater visibility can I expect?
Visibility is usually better during the winter months, sometime reaching over 30 meters (100 feet) in some locations! Although BC usually experiences a spring plankton bloom, the exact time it will occur is impossible to predict. Once again, depending on the destination, you could have excellent visibility anytime throughout the year. Spring & summer ranges from 7.5 to 24 meters (25-80 feet) with fall being a bit better.