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Aquarium Diving

Discussion in 'General Travel and Vacation Discussions' started by Scuba Lawyer, Jul 25, 2019.

  1. Scuba Lawyer

    Scuba Lawyer Barracuda

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Laguna Beach, California
    Came across a few pics of me diving the big kelp tank at Scripps Aquarium in San Diego about 20 years ago. Forget what the occasion was - videoing something for someone I imagine. I recall we had to go through quite the vetting process and have every safety device imaginable (for a 35' confined water dive). Anyway, got to thinking if any aquariums currently permit diving by the public. I did the Epcot Aquarium in Orlando back in the 1990's and I think Long Beach Aquarium might have a program. Kinda fun waiving at all the little kiddies and their adult handlers. What say you? Mark

  2. Esprise Me

    Esprise Me Kelp forest dweller ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Los Angeles, CA
    I did the aquarium dive at Mandalay Bay in Vegas. They make you wear chain mail because of the sharks (none of which are among the more aggressive species anyway), and they have a surface tender monitoring your air (in 23 feet of water), but those are the only extra safety precautions I recall. It would've been pretty funny if they'd made me carry a DSMB and PLB. It was indeed a lot of fun waving at the kiddos. I might volunteer at the Long Beach Aquarium or California Science Center someday. I think they require at least Rescue plus 50 dives (I'm almost there) plus there's a pretty significant time commitment (something close to a shift every week for a year), but it does sound fun.
    Snoweman likes this.
  3. wnissen

    wnissen Barracuda

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Livermore, Calif.
    I had a really great time at Epcot this year, since my family could see me. Worth the $180 though I wouldn't go again soon. The Long Beach aquarium does have a program, but it's ~$300, and the Mandalay Bay in Vegas is something like $1000 for a couple. I was interested that Disney didn't equip us with alternate second stages. Even Discover Scuba had them, where I did it. It's only 25 feet / 8 meters to the hard bottom, and you have a buddy plus several DMs for a group of 16 people, so I guess they figure it's acceptable risk. Funny that Scripps wanted all the gear, though maybe they can afford to be choosy.

    I was shocked that Steinhard Aquarium (in San Francisco's Academy of Sciences) has a volunteer diver program that requires, among a two-page list of requirements:
    ● Rescue level dive certification from a recognized certification agency such as NAUI, PADI or SSI.
    ● Minimum of 50 logged dives with at least six dives completed within the last 12 months. Preferred cold water diving experience.
    ● Be able to commit to 2 dive shifts a month on a standing schedule for at least one year.
    ● Possess current healthcare provider-level CPR/AED, First Aid, and Oxygen provider certifications.
    ● Possess and maintain current DAN insurance.

    And with all that, they aren't even taking applicants! Obviously a popular volunteer activity.
  4. Redfoot

    Redfoot Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Detroit, Michigan
    Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta has a whale shark dive, I signed up for it this October, I am going to ATL for work.

    They advertise as the "only guaranteed whale shark and manta ray sighting dive in the world!"

    It is pricey, but I went ahead and booked it as it is something I think I will really enjoy. Plus you get a T-Shirt, and I am a sucker for a "free" T-shirt.

    Dive with Gentle Giants Encounter & Experience | Georgia Aquarium

    They even have a rebreather option, for more money, but you get a longer dive time.
    wnissen likes this.
  5. loosenit2

    loosenit2 Solo Diver

  6. kelemvor

    kelemvor Big Fleshy Monster ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Largo, FL USA
    Florida Aquarium (Tampa, Florida) also has a dive program. I've never done it. Swim & Dive Experiences

    Similar to the requirements to volunteer on the dive team at Clearwater Marine Aquarium. The only difference I see is that CMA didn't require rescue. They had lots of instructors on staff, and provided the DAN certifications free of charge. They also provided rescue classes free of charge, but I was never able to take one due to schedule problems.

    I know CMA was trying to get some kind of scientific certification (AAUS or something like that) and that drove most of the requirements. Rescue is probably a requirement, but requiring it would have decimated the team as most of us didn't have rescue. There were lots of dive pros (instructors etc) and then lots of OW divers... not a lot of in between. I don't dive for them anymore but someone told me they gave up on that certification.

    I never really saw the point in that certification. It doesn't take a scientist to scrub algae off the side of a tank.
    Dark Wolf and wnissen like this.
  7. Sam Miller III

    Sam Miller III Scuba Legend Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: CALIFORNIA: Where recreational diving began!
    I dove Marineland of the Pacific in Palo Verdes California a number of times when it was operational

    The LA County UW instructor program way back before PADI, SSI etc dove Marineland of the Pacific ha as a component of the UW instructors program at Day at MAP.
    Dive teams accompanied by their Dive masters would make a 45 minute dive.

    I always brought along my daughters on those days-- Not surprisingly they were chosen out of the large crowd to feed Shamu as he (she?) jumped high out of the water to grasp a piece of fish from their small hands.

    I recall well the comment of my daughters after feeding Shamu
    Roni oldest daughter who as probably 5 " Daddy that Fish has BAD breath"
    Rani who was 4 "Daddy that is a BIG fish"
    Neither daughter was overly impressed- just another ho hum dive day with daddy

    Tha Dazzz of our dives--- Gone but not forgotten !

    @Scuba Lawyer . as always Thanks for the memories

    jonhall and Dark Wolf like this.
  8. pauldw

    pauldw Solo Diver

    Oregon coast aquarium. You don’t need chain mail to dive with the sharks, and sturgeon sucking on your hand in pretty interesting.
    wnissen and Esprise Me like this.
  9. AustinV

    AustinV Barracuda

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: NoVA
    Roanoke Island Aquarium (Outer Banks, NC) lets you dive in their shark exhibit. Lots of sand tigers and reef sharks. It's not huge but it is definitely a cool experience.
    wnissen likes this.
  10. Scuba Lawyer

    Scuba Lawyer Barracuda

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Laguna Beach, California
    Sam, don't know if you recall my High School dive buddy Bart or not. He and I would go down to Marineland of the Pacific as soon as we got our learner's permits to drive. We would first go for an ab dive in PV, put the abs on ice, then spend the rest of the day at Marineland. Every few hours they led a snorkeling group through the big kelp tank. Being snarky teenagers we would, of course, free-dive to the bottom, pulling eels from their holes and generally bothering the sea creatures, much to to horror of the snorkling guide. After we got kicked out a few times they added the "No diving below the surface" line to the snorkeling instructions posted. One time snorkeling in the tank I looked over and saw a 72 tank and regulator (no back pack) sitting on the edge of the aquarium. Couldn't resist, the spg said there was air so I grabbed the tank, tucked it under my arm, and swam to the bottom waiving to all the tourists. That really displeased the powers that be. Gawd, it was fun to be young and not give a s**t what anyone thought. :)
    Dark Wolf, pauldw, wnissen and 2 others like this.

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