Scuba Diving in Honolulu: Top 10 Spots for an Exhilarating Dive Experience in Honolulu!

Great adventures await as the divers embark on a diving trip in Honolulu. Honolulu is a melting pot of recreational activities like scuba diving, snorkeling, surfing, and more, which opens its gates to thousands of visitors every year. Situated in the Pacific Ocean, Honolulu nestles varied dive sites with few shipwreck sites and a view of exquisite marine life creatures. Swim along with the famous Hawaiian green sea turtles, butterflyfishes and experience an exhilarating ride of your life as you dive deeper into the Pacific Ocean!

Best Time for Scuba Diving in Honolulu

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The best time for scuba diving in Honolulu is between May and October. During this time, the temperature varies between 78 degrees Fahrenheit to 86 degrees Fahrenheit, the wind currents vary from weak to strong, depending on the dive site that divers chose. Moreover, the dive centers offer accurate statistics of the weather conditions, especially if you are looking to dive deep. 

10 Popular Sites for Scuba Diving in Honolulu

1. Sea Tiger

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The seat tiger has a backstory that dates back to the 1990s. A Chinese trading vessel is originally known as the Yun Fong Seong No. 303 was confiscated for carrying over 50 immigrants to Hawaii. Purchased by Voyager Submarine later, it was cleaned and sank a quarter-mile from the Kewalo basin to enhance the diving experience. Eventually, this site became a popular dive site in Honolulu, with a Chinese merchant shipwreck- now a home of a plethora of marine creatures. 
Address: 670 Auahi St. A1 Honolulu, HI 96813
Depth: 130 feet
Marine Creatures: whitetip reef sharks, six-foot sea turtles, moray eels, eagle rays
Diving Skill: Advanced

2. Yo-257

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Yo-257 was a 175-foot United States Navy oiler that scuttled in the year 1989. Located 2 miles off Waikiki, this shipwreck diving site in Oahu is both advanced yet fun. Additionally, visitors can enjoy the sight of Diamond Head on their boat ride to this dive site.
Address: Oahu, Hawaii
Depth: 90 feet
Marine Creatures here: eagle rays, turtles, butterflyfish, enormous puffer fish, white tip reef sharks, nudibranchs, and octopus.
Diving Skill: Certified divers. 

3. Turtle Canyon

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Formed as a result of the volcanic activity, the Turtle Canyon is one of the great spots for scuba diving in Honolulu. It is ideal for both novice and first-time divers. This dive spot is specifically for divers who want to enjoy their dive amidst a view of the Hawaiian green sea turtles. 
Depth: 20 to 45 feet
Marine Creatures here: eel, green sea turtles, porcupine puffers, white tip reef shark, and more!

4. Horseshoe Reef

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Horseshoe Reef is an artificial reef named after an underwater steel pipeline that travels from shore to the 60-feet seabed. The horseshoe reef is an amalgamation of finger reefs and varied underwater creatures. 
Depth: 40 feet
Marine Creature here: octopus, leaf scorpionfish and the devil scorpionfish, barracuda, juvenile wrasses 

5. San Pedro

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Like the Yo-257, the San Pedro is another ship submerged by Atlantis Hawaii Submarine in 1996. It was a Japanese-built ship used for long-line fishing and as an inter-state cargo ship. 
Depth: 80 feet
Marine Creatures Here: gray reef sharks, tiger sharks, dolphins, Hawaiian green sea turtles

6. Nautilus Reef

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Located right outside the Kewalo basin, the Nautilus Reef is the second-best spot to scuba dive in Honolulu after the Sea Tiger. This dive site is popular amongst beginner-level divers for an afternoon dive. It is due to the shallow waters of the reef and exquisite marine life creatures. 
Depth: 40 feet
Marine Creatures Here: giant eels, butterflyfish, and turtles.

7. Fantasea Reef

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Formed by ancient volcanic rocks, the Fantasea reef houses several reef structures, corals with marine life creatures. Although a beautiful dive site, it is not recommended for diving during strong water currents. 
Depth: 40-60 feet
Marine Creatures Here: Sea Turtles

8. LCU (Landing Craft Utility) Wreck

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Encompassed by an artificial reef system, the Landing Craft Utility wreck is a saltwater dive site. The LCU wreck is encircled by Z-shaped cement blocks where many fish and whitetip reef sharks nestle. Divers can swim beneath the wreck and witness many fishes swimming upside down. 
Depth: 60-70 feet
Marine Creatures Here: hermit crabs, whitetip reef shark, black longnose butterflyfish

9. Baby Barge

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Baby Barge is the dive site where a sunken barge stands upright surrounded by a reef. The wreck is not that remarkable, but the surrounding reef is impeccable as it is the resting place of green sea turtles, white tip reef sharks, and giant eels.
Depth: 70-80 feet
Marine Creatures Here: turtles, octopus, lots of tropical fish, tiny Blue Devil nudibranch, needlefish.

10. Secret Wreck

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Secret Wreck or Nashua YTB 774 assisted other naval ships and also rendered assistance in disasters and emergencies. Divers can also swim to the interiors of the wreck and witness urchins and corals on the deck. 
Depth: 65 feet
Marine Creatures Here: sea turtles, small white tip sharks, and Trigger and Angelfish, urchins

7 Top Companies for Scuba Diving in Honolulu

Top Scuba Diving Companies in Honolulu that offer the best diving operation and best Scuba Diving Courses for novice/first-time and experienced divers!

1. Honolulu Scuba Company

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Join the scuba diving trip with the Hawaiian Scuba Company as they offer the best dive trips with the best dive spots in Hawaii. Whether you are a certified diver or a non-certified one, Oahu has dive sites for everyone, and Honolulu Scuba Company is an adjunct to this. Also witnessed here are varied marine life creatures like dolphins, whales, turtles, all encapsulated in some of the historic shipwrecks. 
Address: 670 Auahi St Ste A1, Honolulu, HI 96813
Pricing: USD 150
Dive Sites: Kewalo Pipe, Turtle Canyon, Secret Wreck, Sea Tiger, Rainbow Reef, Horseshoe Reef, and more!

2. Aloha Scuba Diving Company

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Located in Central Oahu in Wahiawa, the Aloha Scuba Diving company is a family-owned diving center and offers PADI certification diving courses. From night dives to shallow reef dives, you can rest assured that Aloha Scuba diving company aims to provide its guests the best diving experience. Additionally, it also offers charter trips for visitors who prefer staying on the boat. Visitors can enjoy varied boat activities like whale watching, snorkeling, or the Friday Fireworks. 
Address: 1640 Wilikina Dr, Wahiawa, HI 96786
Pricing: USD 140 - USD 200
Dive Sites: The Sea Tiger, The Yo-257, THE MAHI WRECK, THE NEW BARGE, BABY BARGE, CORSAIR PLANE WRECK, NASHUA NAVY TUG, LANDING CRAFT UNIT (LCU)

3. Waikiki Dive Center

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With over 30 years of experience, the Waikiki Dive Center is famous as a 5-star PADI instructor development center and Waikiki full dive center. Along with the scuba diving classes, diving trips, charter trips, the Waikiki Diving Center also provides repair, rentals, and equipment sales. Whether you are a beginner or an avid diver, this dive center provides the best scuba diving experience in Honolulu at the famous reef and shipwreck sites. 
Address: 424 Nahua Street, Honolulu, Hawaii 96815
Contact Information: 808-922-2121
Timings: 7 AM -5 PM
Pricing: USD 125 - USD 400
Dive Sites: Sea Tiger, YO-257, SAN PEDRO, NAUTILUS REEF, KEWALO PIPE | HORSESHOE REEF, TURTLE CANYONS, FANTASEA REEF, LCU (Landing Craft Utility), BABY BARGE

4. Living Ocean Scuba

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Living Ocean Scuba offers the best snorkeling and scuba diving in Honolulu. With two-tank boat dives for certified divers and introductory boat dives for beginners, Living Ocean Scuba is the best place to experience the amazing Hawaiian Green Sea turtles. Even if you are just starting diving, Living Ocean Scuba offers the best introductory courses and experience at the Hanauma Bay. Visitors can also book a private charter and enjoy activities like diving, snorkeling, or enjoy the sunset.
Address: 1125 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96814
Contact Information: 436-3483
Pricing: USD 219 - USD 600
Dive Sites: Sea Tiger, YO-257, and Turtle Canyons

5. Island Divers Hawaii

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From diving equipment to provide the best scuba diving courses in Honolulu, Island Divers Hawaii is the right spot for you if you are looking to scuba dive in Honolulu. Join into any of their certified courses, or book boat charter or dive travel trips, the Island Divers Hawaii is the best scuba diving company around Hawaii. 
Address: 377 Keahole St, Honolulu, HI 96825
Contact Information: +1 808-201-4710
Timings: Monday-Sunday: 7.00 AM to 7.00 PM

6. Oahu Diving

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Spread across Waikiki and other locations, the Oahu Diving company caters to first-time scuba divers. With harbor locations that are just minutes away from Honolulu, Oahu Diving provides access to several dive sites. These dive sites including some of the cardinal shipwreck dive sites, where divers can even enter some of the shipwrecks
Address: 1125 Ala Moana Blvd, Kewalo Basin Harbor, Honolulu, HI 96814-4901
Pricing: USD 200

7. Hawaiian Diving Adventures

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Hawaiian Diving Adventures is a premier dive shop and dive operation company in Honolulu. If you are looking for a thrilling, fun yet scuba diving experience in and around Honolulu, then Hawaiian Diving adventure is just the right place for you. The Hawaiian Diving Adventures offer daily dive trips, training, and dive shop services, making it the best spot to learn and experience scuba dive in Honolulu. 
Address: 1125 Ala Moana Blvd Ste B01, Honolulu, HI 96814
Contact Information: +1 808-232-3193
Timings: Monday to Sunday: 24 Hours
Pricing: USD 120 to USD 500

Things to Know for Scuba Diving in Honolulu

Listed below are safety pointers and modicum tips for divers to understand the nitty-gritty of scuba diving in Honolulu!

1. Best Scuba Diving Certifications for Beginners and Experienced Diver

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Step one to scuba diving in Honolulu or elsewhere is to get started with a scuba dive course. Below are some of the best and important courses for every diver. 
1. PADI Scuba Diver Or Junior PADI Scuba Diver 
2. Open Water Diver (OWD) Or Junior Open Water Diver
3. Advanced Open Water Diver (AOWD) 
4. Rescue Diver Certification Course
5. Divemaster Certification Course

2. Ascend Your Dive Slowly

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The faster you ascend, the more lung issues it can cause. Therefore it is advised by instructors to ascend at a slower pace.

3. Dive Plan

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It is necessary to form a dive plan. The dive plan includes ways of communicating underwater, the depth to which you'll be diving, exit points, etc. 

4. Check Whether Your Diving Equipment Works Correctly

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Check your scuba diving equipment properly before your dive, especially if it is a rented one. Check for the scuba regulators as they are a bit tricky and pose a threat if they don't work underwater. 

5.Avoid Scuba Diving If You Feel Ill

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Divers must be physically fit before the dive. If you feel stressed out by the thought of diving, then it is best to wait for another day. Take a medical exam before the dive or talk to your instructor. Nearly one-third of scuba diving deaths are due to heart problems. Hence it is paramount to take into account uneasiness or any other sensations before your dive!

6. Proper Training and Certification Is a Must

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As Honolulu nestles many scuba diving schools and dive centers that offer scuba courses for novice/ first-time scuba divers, therefore, it is advised to enroll in any of these dive schools before scuba diving as getting into the open waters without proper training is not safe!

7. Never Dive Alone

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It is recommended to scuba dive with a friend or a dive guide for safety purposes. Divers can witness unprecedented emergencies underwater hence, it is best to have an accomplice during your dive. 

8 FAQs About Scuba Diving in Honolulu

1.What to Pack?

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Your diving gear( buy or rent), swimwear, t-shirts, shorts, and a light jacket are some of the essentials that you must pack if you are planning for scuba diving in Honolulu.

2. When to Make the Scuba Diving Trip Reservation?

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 It is necessary to make the scuba dive reservations three days in advance, but some scuba diving companies also offer a 12-hour prior window. 

3. Do You Have to Be Certified to Scuba Dive?

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No, there are no certifications required for scuba diving in Honolulu or any other corner of the world. However, divers can enroll in a beginner program at the dive center. After a short lesson, beginners will dive along with an instructor. Additionally, all divers need to pass a medical questionnaire provided by the dive center.

4.What Is the Age Limit for Scuba Diving?

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There is no maximum age requirement, but the minimum age of a person needs to be at least 10 years old to scuba dive in Honolulu. He/she should also be able to carry 6-8 percent of their body weight on their backs. 

5. How Many Divers Are Allowed on the Boat?

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On average, anywhere between ten 10-16 divers are allowed on board. Everyone is divided into small groups of 4-6 and is accompanied by a certified diver instructor for diving operations. 

6.How to Communicate Underwater?

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Hand Signals and a dive plan work well underwater. If you are diving with a friend, agree beforehand on the hand signals. However, if you plan to dive with a dive guide, listen carefully to the briefing before the dive.

7. Do I Need to Be Certified to Dive in Shipwreck Sites?

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Yes, as shipwrecks are too deep inside the Pacific Ocean, diving companies only allow certified divers to dive in shipwreck dive sites. Novice/first-time divers can still enjoy the beautiful coral reefs and marine creatures with the introductory dive.

8. Can I Spend More than 30 Minutes Underwater?

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The time you spend underwater depends on two cardinal factors: air consumption and nitrogen absorption. It also depends on factors like time set by the boat operator, weather conditions, and water temperature.

The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest water body, and what adorns it is the capital city of Hawaii. Honolulu might be a remote city but attracts many tourists because of its spectacular beaches, great waves, and beautiful dive sites. So, next time you are in Honolulu, put your diving suit on to traverse through an adventurous ride of a lifetime underwater!

This post was published by Akshita Dhiman

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