Kelp Diving Tips And Where To Go

Diving kelp forests is an amazing experience, but it presents additional challenges for divers.

Kelp diving is an awesome diving experience. It is easily accessible all along most of California’s coast. California has a number of nearshore and offshore kelp forests to explore which we will list later in this post.

Diving kelp forests presents additional challenges for divers to consider. Calling these considerations challenges might be an overstatement, but nonetheless, diving kelp forests does require a few tweaks to our usual diving techniques.

Kelp Diving Tips

The main challenges for divers in kelp forests hinge on the possibility of getting tangled, snagged, disoriented or lost. There are also the need for special thought and consideration as to how to enter, exit and navigate through kelp forests. The following video clip demonstrates kelp diving tips and techniques that allow for safer diving of these underwater forests.

Watch this short video presentation/demonstration of kelp diving techniques for more insights about safe practices for diving kelp forests.

“Kelp Diving”- YouTube video by Dive Training Magazine

Where To Go To Dive Kelp Forests

California’s Channel islands is known for its kelp forests, its a beautiful oasis in the sea.  Two distinct currents meet up at these islands producing and abundance of life both above and below the surface with three distinct marine zones.  There are lush kelp forests that provide shelter  and protection for vast amounts of marine life as well as sand flats, rocky reefs and sea caves.

Five of the Channel islands are within the channel islands Natural Park and Marine Sanctuary.  Year round whale migrations and sea lions abound throughout the islands.

The southern Channel islands are home to very large black sea bass.

The kelp forests of of California’s coast in the Channel Islands is like an underwater rain forest.

There is an amazing array of wild life including black sea bass that can grow as long as 7 ft weighing over 700 pounds.

Watch the following video produced by  Dive into Your Imagination  for a glimpse of what diving the Channel Islands is like.

“Scuba Dive California’s Channel Islands – Kelp Forest”- YouTube video by Annie Crawley

If you would like to delve more into kelp diving off California’s coast consider the following 5 amazing kelp diving sites presented by

Torqua Springs, Catalina
The southeastern waters of Santa Catalina Island first earned its diving fame as the location for the TV show Sea Hunt and was once the posh, exclusive weekend playground of Hollywood’s rich and famous. Recreational divers now know it for its magnificent kelp forests, creating a magical Jack and the Beanstalk atmosphere with plentiful populations of lobster and garibaldi, the bright orange state fish, which enjoys protected status.

The Northern Channel Islands are comprised of a group of four small islands —Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa and San Miguel — within the portion of the Santa Barbara Channel designated as the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, which also includes Santa Barbara.

With its plentiful kelp beds, seal and sea lion rookeries, nutrient-rich waters, colorful anemones and quality deep dives, Monterey is considered California’s best cold-water diving, courtesy of the 10,663-foot-deep Monterey Bay Submarine Canyon.

Point Lobos
What’s so great about Point Lobos? Everything. There’s a variety of diving: shallow reefs, deep kelp beds, walls, pinnacles, caves and sandy coves with the state’s largest variety of sea stars. The swimming marine life ranges from seals, sea lions and otters to torpedo rays, rockfish and lingcod. The shore diving couldn’t be easier; there’s no surf zone to contend with or uneven sand to stumble across. And there are acres of gorgeous scenery.

Big Sur
Central California’s Big Sur region is a place of rugged beauty, a coastline dominated by the tree-covered peaks of the Santa Lucia Mountains. So it’s no surprise that underwater, Big Sur is a wild paradise of steep marine terraces and hidden coves. Only a short drive south from Monterey, Big Sur is just remote enough to remain unspoiled.


Watch the following Wild Kingdom video clip to explore the kelp forest ecosystem and get an idea of what’s being done to maintain it.
“Wild Kingdom | Kelp Forest Ecosystem | Sanctuaries at Sea”- YouTuve video by Mutuak if Omaha’s Wile Kingdom

Images Source: YouTube Clips 1, 2 , 3

Read for more details about diving California’s kelp forests here on

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