Casino Point Underwater Park, Santa Catalina Island
Casino Point Underwater Park is described at www.divingcatalina: Casino Point is located next to the world-famous Casino Building. First established in 1962, this park is the first nonprofit underwater park in the country (and maybe the world), and offers the best shore diving in California! To make entry and exit in and out of the water as easy as possible, there are cement stairs with handrails. The Park is about 2.5 acres in size, which means it is large enough to do several dives without traversing over the same areas. The Park’s boundaries are clearly marked with a line of buoys to keep boats and divers away from one another. The diverse under-sea world at the Underwater Park offers both beginner and expert divers a dive experience like no other area
Scuba diving and snorkeling enthusiasts who come to enjoy clear waters and abundant sea life find it free of mainland pollution and surf. The depth ranges from the rocky shoreline to 95 feet deep. Primarily the park consists of the fastest growing plant in the world, Giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera).
The park's bottom contour reveals rock walls and outcroppings, boulders, pinnacles and a sandy seafloor on its outer edges, which is truly representative of Catalina Island's different characteristics.
Water temperature ranges from 70-74 degrees in the summer to 55-59 degrees in winter, with September to mid-October being the warmest. It’s not uncommon to enjoy 100’ visibility in the late summer to early fall.
Because of strict local laws prohibiting taking of game or salvaging artifacts, the park has become a home for a large variety of marine life. Plant life of all colors abounds, from the Giant kelp to the smallest algae. Living within the rocky reef are lobsters, abalone, octopus, small fish and moray eels, including our friendly "Fang". Numerous mollusks and nudibranchs also make their homes on the reef.
Swimming freely in the kelp forest are Kelp bass, Senorita fish, Sheephead, Opaleye, Blacksmith and our state marine fish, the Garibaldi. Where the rocky reef ends, the sandy bottom begins. Scuba divers may find angel sharks, bat rays, banded guitar fish and halibut. Numerous wrecks are also found in the sandy areas, which have become home to many types of marine life.
Casino Point has become a mecca to scuba divers and snorkelers worldwide.
DEATHS AT CASINO POINT UNDERWATER PARK INCLUDE:
- 2005 Raffi Huverserian drowned after SCUBA diving at Casino Point on March 30.
- 2006 [fatality] drowned while SCUBA diving at Casino Point in March.
- 2008 David Pike (50) SCUBA diver drowned at Casino Point on June 29.
- 2009 Anthony Tsing-hwa Liaw (28), freediver drowned at Casino Point on June 20.
- 2009 Mona Towle (56), drowned while SCUBA diving at Casino Point August 13.
- 2010 Steve Eggleston (55), drowned while SCUBA diving near Valiant and Casino Point on Nov. 6.
- 2011 Michel Mendo Meva drowned while SCUBA diving at Casino Point on March 5.
- 2011 [fatality] drowned while SCUBA diving at Casino Point on September 5.
- 2017 Derek Wrobel (53), a resident of Huntington Beach, died shortly after SCUBA diving at Casino Point on November 9.