Frequently asked questions
What are some Open Water / Beginner level Dive Sites?
Some Great Open Water / Beginner lever dives sites include the following:
NOSC TOWER - Depth ~ 60ft
INGRAHAM STREET BRIDGE - Depth ~ 60ft
DONUT HOLE - DEPTH ~25-35ft
NEW HOPE ROCK - DEPTH ~20-30ft
HORSE HEAD REEF - Depth ~40-60ft
What are some Open Water / Intermediate level dive sites?
Some great Open Water / Intermediate level dive sites are:
CONNORS CANYON - DEPTH 45-75ft
HIGH SPOT - DEPTH 45-70ft
RUBY E - DEPTH 65-85ft (Deck of the Ruby E is at 65ft - Sand is at 85ft)
ROD'S RIDGE - DEPTH 65-95ft
CHRIS'S ROCK - DEPTH 65-75ft
CHELSEA LEE REEF - DEPTH 65-90ft
What are some Advanced Level Dives?
HMCS Yukon Depth - 65 - 105ft - 65ft to the deck, 105ft to the sand
*MUST have an Advanced Certification or Deep Certification
Train Wheels Depth 65-105ft
What gear do you supply?
We supply Aluminum 80 tanks, weights and air fills. We do have 2 steel 100’s DIN ONLY, on a first come first serve basis.
If you need rental gear, please select the rental gear option on our signup page.
Do you supply tanks?
Yes, we supply tanks. All of our AL80's have "pro-valves" which means they can accomodate DIN and Yoke regulators.
We do have 2 steel 100’s
DIN ONLY, on a first come first serve basis.
Do you supply weights?
Yes, we have mostly hard weights and a small amount of soft weights.
Do you supply food/drinks? If so, what kind?
Yes, we supply a snack bag and bottled water for each customer and sodas, hot tea and coffee are available on request.
AM Snack Bags include:
Aussie bites or Paleo Bar
PM Trips include:
Aussie bites or Paleo Bar
Cup of soups OR lunchables available on request
Vegan/Vegetarian/Gluten Free options available.
What is the water temperature?
At depth during the late winter through early summer is generally 50-52F. It is cold. You will need at least a 7mm wetsuit, hood and gloves.
Often in late summer, early fall through early winter the water warms up to 55-58F.
Do you rent gear? If so, how much does it cost?
We have a very limited amount of rental gear available. We have exactly 4 sets of rental gear.
If a customer requests rental gear, it will be dependent on availability.
Rental Gear/ Gear :
They will want dive with at least a 7mm wetsuit or a drysuit (We do not rent Drysuits).
$25 Regulator with computer
$25 Wetsuit / hood / gloves
$5 Mask and snorkel
We will need their:
What size wetsuit you usually wear.
Do you have Nitrox? If so, how much?
Yes, we have and fill Nitrox on board.
The cost is 12$ per fill for single tanks, $24 per fill on doubles.
We generally pump 32%, but can pump up to 40%.
What type of nitrox system do we have? Do the tanks need to be O2 Clean?
We have a continuous blending system, that can pump 22%-40%.
Tanks do not need to be O2 Clean.
Our system is NOT O2 Clean, so we do not recommend using your O2 Clean tanks.
How much does it cost to dive?
Our prices are reasonbly priced:)
2 Tank local trips cost $149 (all fees and taxes are included in that price)
What do you provide in the cost of the ticket? What is included in the cost of the ticket?
What we PROVIDE:
➢ AL 80 tanks with DIN/YOKE Valves
➢ Air Fills
➢ Hard Weights
➢ Food and Beverage
➢ Hot Tea, Coffee, or Coco
➢ Warm Packs
If you are on a special diet, we can do our best to make sure we have food for your specialness;) Please contact us to let us know, we are happy to make sure you have food on the boat!:)
Does a Dive Master go down with me? Is a Dive Master provided?
Dive Masters NOT Provided:
Our Dive Master DOES NOT enter the water with you. It is industry standard and USCG orders in San Diego that our Dive Master must remain on board the vessel, except in the event of an emergency/urgency on the surface.
We are happy to get them in touch with "Trusted Dive Masters". Dive Master guides are hired by the customer, we just get them in touch with them. I usually make sure the Dm is availalbe for the requested date before I make the contact information exchange.
What should I bring?
You will reap the benefits from our years of experience, IF you bring the following along with your dive gear, of course. Do not underestimate the importance of being able to get warm and dry. (NO, your "HOT" buddy’s (or boat crew’s) body-heat is not what we are talking about!). The water temperature is between 50-52 degrees; with multiple dives, getting warm between them will make your day that much more AWESOME!
➢ Exposure Suit: 7mm wetsuit or drysuit
➢ Dive gear (unless you are renting)
➢ Dry Towels
➢ Dry Clothes
➢ Sweatshirt or jacket to keep warm
➢ Seasickness Medication
➢ Government Issued ID
➢ Certification Card
➢ Tip for the Crew
Trust me; if you have ANY thoughts of seasickness, you may want to try some seasickness medication (JUST DO IT!), such as Dramamine, Bonine or even Ginger. Seasickness can ruin your dive trip (and everybody else’s) so please do your body a favor and come prepared. Dramamine comes in a "less drowsy" formula, and Bonine is a less drowsy formula, (in my humble opinion) regular strength Dramamine sometimes makes a lot of people too sleepy to think right the day of, better to take this one the night before. We (as in the UNIVERSE) have found the most effective way to ward off seasickness is by taking the recommended dose the night before, then again 2 hours before the trip. But of course….it’s your call.;)
What is the Boarding time? Boarding time vs Departure Time.
All of the dive times listed on our website and your confirmation email are BOARDING times. Meaning the time you need to be at the boat. We depart after everyone has signed in and safety briefings completed.
We give Boarding times not Departure times.
Do Instructors get a discount? Do instructors with staff get a discount? If so, what is it?
If you are an instructor, you can ride free with 4 or more full fare students. If you are an instructor with 3 or less students, your fare is ½ of a full fare ticket price.
What are your trip minimums?
Trips must meet a minimum number of passengers to run, pre-purchased Tickets count towards this minimum.
➢ 2 Dive Trip -- 5 Passengers
What is your cancellation policy?
Cancellation by the Customer:
All Customers are responsible for giving the required notification of cancellation via email as per our policies listed below. To receive a full credit or refund the following must be observed:
Individual Ticket holders - 72 hours before the boarding time of the trip
Groups of 4-8 - 7 days (168 hours) before the boarding time of the trip
Groups of 8+ - 15 days before the boarding time of the trip
➢ Cancellations received from individuals or groups with less than the above-stated notice, from the beginning of the scheduled trip, the Ticket holder or group will be charged the list price for the trip and will not be eligible for a credit, refund, or rain-check, and forfeit all charges for the full list price of the trip.
➢ If a Voucher is used the voucher holder will be charged the full list price for the trip for "No-Shows."
➢ A valid Credit Card must be held on file for any reservation, in the case of such an event, if no credit card is on file the reservation is considered invalid.
➢ Requests for refunds will be considered on a case by case basis. Requests for refunds must be submitted in writing (or email) within 7 days of the trip.
➢ Marissa Credits will automatically be added to your Marissa account when a credit-eligible cancellation occurs. If a request for a refund is not received within 7 days, NO refund will be issued.
➢ Credits on your Marissa Account will not be converted to a refund after the 7 day period. (Only Credit Card processed payments are eligible for a refund, once the ticket has been converted into a Credit, no refunds will be issued.)
What if the boat cancels? What if the weather is bad?
We are firmly committed to running ALL trips possible and will do everything in our power to do so.
➢ Marissa Charters Owners / Captains reserve the right to cancel any trip for any reason, at any time, and within any time frame.
ALL CANCELLATIONS WILL BE VIA EMAIL - Please make sure you check your emails up to the night before the trip.
➢ In the case of cancellation due to inclement or hazardous weather and/or sea conditions, a refund will issued. We are more than happy to reschedule your trip for you, just let us know :)
Do I need a Buddy? Can I dive solo?
You do not need to sign up with a buddy. If you want a buddy, we will do our best the day of the trip to pair you up with another diver or group of divers. :)
You are welcome to dive solo, as long as you are honestly comfortable diving alone. We do prefer you have a redundant system.
What is the site description of the NOSC Tower?
NOSC TOWER - Depth ~ 60ft The NOSC Tower was a weather and lab station that was built in 1959 and lasted until a storm in January 1988 knocked her over. Her labs that once stuck some 50 feet above the water were simply gone. She twisted as she fell and broke into pieces, scattering debris. The pilings that supported the structure have been under water since 1959 and are covered in life. The fallen structure is littered with invertebrates and some of the largest Cowries we have ever seen. It is a great place to practice penetration skills. While there is no actual enclosed environment, the maze-like structure allows you to weave in and out of it.
What is the site description of the Connors Canyon?
CONNORS CANYON - DEPTH 45-75ft
Connors Canyon a beautiful pinnacle dive in our rebounding kelp forests covered in fish life, eels, and quite often a Giant Black Seabass:
A large 45' pinnacle nestled in about 75' of water in the Point Loma kelp forests. The south end has a sheer cliff that begins at the seafloor running all the way to the top of the pinnacle. We often see a 5' giant black seabass hanging around the top of the pinnacle. The pinnacle itself is a table-top of rocks and boulders teaming with schooling fish and surrounded by canyons that channel out in numerous directions. With overhands, endless nooks and crannies, and abundant sea life this is a fantastic dive location. (Description by Dive Master Chris)
What is the site description of the Ingraham Street Bridge?
INGRAHAM STREET BRIDGE - Depth ~ 60ft The former Ingraham Street Bridge was demolished and sunk in wreck alley as an artificial reef. The cement pillars house fields of all four types of Gorgonians (sea fans) found in Southern California waters. These are a rare find in our local waters and well worth the dive. We have seen many eels, octopus, and of course, reef fishes hanging around this beautiful artificial reef.
What is the site description of the HMCS Yukon?
The HMCS Yukon is a 366' Canadian Mackenzie class Destroyer. She was sunk in Wreck Alley off of Mission Beach, San Diego CA. Divers from all over the world come to dive the Yukon. Sunk as an artificial reef in June of 2000, the HMCS Yukon rests in about 100’ of water with her deck between 65'-75’. She sank without warning, just before the planned sinking was to occur. Her unplanned descent to the sea floor landed her on the port side. Large cutouts initially, set up for divers to penetrate safely, have created some interesting and challenging penetration. The HMCS Yukon is an advanced dive, therefore, penetration is not recommended unless you are trained and certified to do so. The HMCS Yukon takes many dives to become well acquainted with her layout and structure. Sea life is abundant on this wreck, blanketed with large white plume sea anemones called Metridiums (pictured right). On the wreck, you may encounter sea lions, harbor seals, rockfish, and several species of perch, and bass. She also has rockfish, ling cod, large sheep crabs, thorny sea cucumbers, and much more hidden among her structure. As you descend you will see the characteristic black smith and señorita fish. One thing is for sure...you will not be disappointed scuba diving the HCMS Yukon.
What is the site description of the Ruby E?
The morning of July 18th, 1989 marked the day when the Ruby E, a 166' United States Coast Guard Cutter, would begin her new life as an artificial reef. Built during the prohibition, she served the U.S. Coast Guard for many years. Once decommissioned, she was sold and used as a commercial fishing vessel, and eventually as a drug runner. Ironically, she was confiscated by the U.S. Coast Guard, only to sell her again at auction. She sat derelict for several years until the owner allowed her to be sunk as the second artificial reef in Wreck Alley. The Ruby E sank without explosives, and remarkably landed upright in the sand. She is intact and is completely covered with anemones and marine life. Although fragile, she offers some amazing opportunities for beginning penetration and wonderful sea life.
What is the site description of the Horse Head Reef?
HORSE HEAD REEF - Depth ~40-60ft
Horse Head Reef is another shallow favorite. This rocky reef is shaped like a horses head, hence the name. The long structure is full of lobster, Garibaldi, Opaleye, and a lot of awesome invertebrates.
What is the site description of the New Hope Rock?
NEW HOPE ROCK - DEPTH: ~20-30ft
One of the shallowest dives in the Point Loma kelp forests, this is a great spot for beginners, open water classes, and people new to California diving. New Hope Rock exhibits large boulders, abundant sea life, and waters that lack a thermocline;). Garibaldi, Opal-Eye, giant kelpfish, calico bass, sheep head, are some of the fish life you will see. You will also see several invertebrates such as lobster, urchins, sea stars, nudibranchs, and octopi.
What is the site description of the Donut Hole?
DONUT HOLE - DEPTH: ~25-35ft
The reef structure on this site is varied, so much so, that it is easy to find your way back without help! The site is named "Donut hole" because the reef has a large round rock with a hole straight through the middle of it and shaped like a donut. Situated within the Point Loma kelp beds, this shallow site houses several animals you could expect to see in the intertidal zone. The rocky reef provides protection and shelter for lobster, urchins, sea stars, nudibranchs, and octopi. Make sure to peek into the crevices and look carefully to find the hidden life. The kelp forest is also home to the giant kelpfish, calico bass, mollusks, sea stars.
What is the site description of the El Rey?
EL REY - KELP CUTTER
After 35 years of service as kelp harvester for Kelco, this 100’ by 32’ vessel was donated to San Diego’s newly developed artificial reefs program. Once she was made safe for divers she was sunk as an artificial reef in April of 1987. After nearly three decades on the ocean floor, her wooden hull and parts of her superstructure have collapsed but she has gained a large population of strawberry anemones along with metridiums, gorgonians, sea star, nudibranchs, and of course fish populations.
El Rey Max Depth: ~85'
What is the typical Visibility in San Diego?
Visibility can range greatly from day to day. During the late winter, spring and early summer months, we experience visibility from 5-30ft. During the late summer, fall, and early winter the visibility clears up and is often 40-100ft!
Do you take divers to the Coronado Islands in Mexico?
Unfortunately, we no longer make runs to the Coronado Islands. It is a long trip, and in recent years the Mexican Government has turned many boats around and sent them home as soon as they cross the border. Several years ago, they closed the border entirely since they have opened it up, it has remained unstable. They also have implemented a tourist permit that costs $30 per person in addition to the cost of the trip. Although it seems to be getting more stable as time goes on, the risk of driving there only to be turned around is still too much.
Will I see Kelp on all of the dives listed as "Kelp Forest" Dives?
After the El Niño year hit in 2016, the beautiful and thick Giant Kelp Forests have diminished significantely. Many of our sites that were once thick with Giant Kelp, are now rocky reefs with some kelp stalks. They still house beautiful sea life and are wonderful sites, but may not have the amount of Kelp they once had. We are hopeful that the water will cool down and the Kelp will grow back :)
Do I need an Advanced Certificate?
We ask that divers only plan dives where they can maintain a depth/difficulty level to which they are certified.