Charleston Scuba Diving
Welcome aboard! We’re happy you’ve decided to join us on one of our exciting expeditions offshore! Charleston diving is like nothing else you’ll experience on the East Coast. Our sites are close enough to the warm, clear waters of the Gulf Stream to draw colorful tropical species up from the south, but also deep enough to draw large pelagic animals such as sharks, turtles, dolphins and big rays from the open ocean. Our wrecks and reefs are the only structures that populate an otherwise featureless sandy bottom, which means that these sites are always teeming with fish. And not just little fish. At any given time, you’re almost guaranteed to be surrounded by massive schools of amberjack, spadefish, pinfish, snapper, or even barracuda. Visit our dive shop before heading out, and stock up on all of the best gear!
What to Expect When Diving With Us
Diving in Charleston is a very special experience, but it also presents some unique challenges that may be new to divers who typically dive in tropical, shallow-water environments. So here are a few important things to keep in mind:
- 1. The boat ride is long.
Even our “shallow” Open Water sites are about an hour and 15 minutes away, in calm seas. Our deepwater sites are around and hour and 45 minutes to two hours offshore. We therefore strongly advise sea sickness medication the night before and the morning of your dive. Avoid alcohol the night before your charter.
- 2. You will be gone all day.
Diving in Charleston is more of an expedition than an excursion. You need to report to the store no later than 7 a.m., and be fed, caffeinated, and ready to go. Bring food, plenty of water, and snacks. Some snacks and water is also available on the boat.
- 3. Make sure your gear works.
There is nothing worse than being two hours offshore and having to miss a dive because of a gear issue. Have your gear serviced or evaluated before you dive. We will not service gear on the morning of the charter. If you discover you have defective gear on the day of your charter, you may rent gear from the store for a fee.
- 4. Rental gear is not included in the price of the charter.
This includes tanks and weights.
- 5. We require that all divers have a snorkel, a safety sausage, a computer or timing device, and a dive knife.
A snorkel will save your life if you have to make a long surface swim in two to three-foot seas. It also helps you conserve your air as you wait on the trail line for your buddy to enter the water. If you surface away from the boat in choppy seas, a safety sausage makes you much easier to see. We recommend a dive knife because many of our sites are also frequented by fishermen, and it is not uncommon to find fishing line that presents a risk of entanglement.
- 6. We do not provide guides except upon special request.
Space is at a premium on our boat, and our crew is limited to one Captain, one Divemaster, and a third crew. On our boat, the role of the Divemaster is to safely secure the boat to the wreck by physically tying the anchor to the site, and to untie when we move locations. He or she also assists divers at the surface when we are anchored in. If you would like for us to carry a second Divemaster to help supervise your party, the rate is $200 for Open Water sites, and $250 for Advanced Open Water sites.
- 7. Use the lines!
Because we are often dealing with surface current, we set up an easy system of lines to help you pull yourself from the back of the boat directly to the site. If you attempt to make a free descent to the site without using the lines, you risk exhausting yourself, running out of air, or getting lost on the bottom.
- 8. We require a refresher course for divers who have been out of the water for more than a year.
To keep yourself safe on our boat, your skills should be sharp. We offer resher courses every other Sunday morning. If you are coming in from out of town to dive, we can often set up a class on a weeknight before your charter.
The takeaway is this: Our crew will do everything we can to make your trip comfortable, safe, and enjoyable. But as a diver, you are responsible for diving within the limits of your training and experience. Please take the above points to heart, and you will have a great time. Look forward to diving off of Charleston with you!