Stretching from the warm Gulf of Mexico up to the Arctic, North America has something for every diver preference. Dive in to discover dramatic wrecks and stunning reefs, or head north for famous kelp forests, abundant whale watching opportunities and adventurous Greenland diving.
The U.S.A’ s impressive array of dive destinations caters for every diver preference, whether you like world-class Bahamas shark diving or Hawaiian manta night dives, giant Californian kelp forests or Florida’s manatees. You can even go wreck diving from the metropolis of New York.
Offering abundant marine megafauna off the Pacific coast and Caribbean diving with stunning coral reefs, there is nowhere quite like Mexico. Dive in to experience crystal-clear cenotes plus the remote and wild Socorro Islands or meet Guadalupe’s world-famous great white sharks.
Diving in North America
Stretching more than a thousand miles from the balmy tropical waters of the Florida Keys and Bermuda to the ice diving territories of Greenland, scuba diving in North America has an immense variety to offer divers. The marine life is incredibly varied and abundant as you might expect from a region that includes not only the balmy Gulf of Mexico but reaches the heights of the arctic circle. Whatever your diving passion, this region has something to get you in the water through its range dive centers, resorts and liveaboards.
The southern half of North America offers divers warm water, with great visibility and calm conditions. This makes areas such as the Florida Keys perfect for dive courses in one of the many dive centers that are dotted along the coast of the islets. For more experienced divers there is an abundance of wrecks including the dramatic remains of a missile tracking ship sunk as an artificial reef. In the south-eastern parts such as Bermuda, there are also a number of stunning tropical reefs with turtles, rays and dolphins as well as a number of very well-preserved shipwrecks. The visibility is on average 15-30 meters and the water temperature reaches an enjoyable 25-26 degrees in the summer months.
Those who don’t mind the cooler climes, however, will find the northern parts of North America rewarding. With the stunning kelp forests and pristine wrecks of British Columbia and its Vancouver Island where dives with friendly sea lions and whale watching are on offer. These famous kelp forests of the northern regions are a photographer’s dream with dramatic backdrops and photogenic wildlife. There are clusters of dive centres and resorts in most of the larger cities and diving liveaboards to some of the highlights, especially the more remote areas around British Columbia and Greenland.
Best places to dive
In the USA the beautiful islets of The Florida Keys have been attracting flocks of tourists for many years for their excellent beaches and balmy blue waters. However, the underwater world of the Keys is as spectacular as the shoreline. The south-eastern coast is home to several wrecks with great drift dive opportunities on the shipwreck and coral reefs. One of the most unmissable experiences in the Keys must be Crystal River where the underwater springs attract the beautiful and graceful manatee. These amazing creatures can grow to up to 10 ft long and weigh over 1000 pounds and can be found here in substantial numbers making the most of the warm waters.
The Bahamas is world renowned as one of the best places to dive with sharks and an ideal spot for wildlife photographers. The Ray of Hope shipwreck, only recently sunk as an artificial reef, has been the scene of the famous freediving photos of Pia Oyarzun who captured dramatically dressed female freedivers surrounded by grey reef sharks to highlight the relationship between humans and the marine world. For even bigger encounters nearby Tiger Beach is home to huge numbers of its namesake tiger sharks and divers can get up close with colossal lemon sharks as well.
Canada's Strait of Georgia, Vancouver Island is famous in the diving world for its huge kelp forests which are teeming with marine life including pacific giant octopus, prehistoric looking wolf-eels and the ever-friendly sealions. The Artificial Reef Society of British Columbia has also sunk seven ships for divers to explore all along the coast of Vancouver including a Boeing 747.
For adventurous divers Greenland holds the unique opportunity to try ice diving amongst glaciers and caves. With visibility often exceeding 40 meters and the opportunity to spot narwhals, humpbacks and orca from the boat it is well worth braving the minus temperatures.