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Scuba Diving in Oregon – Guide to Explore Diving in Oregon

by Max
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Scuba Diving in Oregon - Guide to Explore Diving in Oregon

The list of dives is endless. The coast of Oregon offers so many diverse and interesting destinations – from offshore reefs teeming with life, to kelp forests in the rocky intertidal zone, to kelp beds in the deep, and clear waters offshore.
This article will give you all the information you need to explore scuba diving in Oregon!

Why It Is Great for Scuba Diving in Oregon

  • Oregon is a great place for scuba diving, with plenty of dive sites to choose from.
  • The water temperature in Oregon is usually around 50 degrees Fahrenheit, so a wetsuit is required. However, the water is clean and clear, allowing great visibility while diving.
  • Oregon has many different types of dive sites, including shipwrecks, reefs, and kelp forests. There is something for every type of diver to enjoy.
  • For those who love history, there are several shipwrecks off the coast of Oregon that can be explored.
  • For those who prefer to see more marine life, there are reefs and kelp forests to explore.

No matter your preference, you will surely find some great scuba diving in Oregon.

Scuba Diving Permits in Oregon

The most common type of scuba diving permit in Oregon is the Open Water Diver Permit, which allows you to dive anywhere in Oregon. For some of the dives below, especially if you want to explore the many shipwrecks in Oregon, we would recommend to have at least the Advanced Open Water Diver Permit, which allows you to dive deeper than 60 feet. Of course, you can never go wrong with the Rescue Diver Permit, which enables you to rescue other divers; and the Divemaster Permit, which allows you to lead other divers.

Please take our advice seriously and do not dive without certification.

The Best Diving Sites in Oregon

Here are a few of our favorite dive sites in Oregon.

#1 Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake is one of the deepest lakes in the world and has some of the clearest water. The visibility can reach up to 100 feet, making it a perfect place for scuba diving. There are also many interesting features to explore underwater, including an old cinder cone.

#2 Shipwrecks off the Oregon Coast

Oregon’s coast is dotted with shipwrecks that are perfect for exploring. One of our favorites is the Peter Iredale, which ran aground in 1906. The shipwreck is now covered in marine life and is a popular spot for divers.

#3 The Springs at Waldo Lake

Waldo Lake is a pristine lake located in the Cascade Mountains. The lake is fed by springs, which keep the water crystal clear. Divers can explore these springs and see a variety of fish and other aquatic creatures.

#4 The Columbia River Gorge

The Columbia River Gorge is one of Oregon’s most popular diving spots. The river is home to various fish, including rainbow trout, chinook salmon, and steelhead. The gorge is also a great place to see bald eagles and ospreys.

#5 The Oregon Coast

The Oregon Coast is home to some of the best diving in the state. The coastline is full of beautiful reefs and kelp forests. There is a variety of fish you find can along the coast, including halibut, cod, flounder, and rockfish.

Best Dive Shops in Oregon

There are many great dive shops in Oregon. Here are three great ones:

#1 Adventure Sports Scuba

With locations in both Portland and Vancouver, Scuba Adventures is a great option for those looking to explore the state’s diverse underwater landscape. They offer both group and private lessons, equipment rental, and trips to local dive sites.

#2 Deep Blue Dive Center

Located in Eugene, Deep Blue Dive Center is a full-service facility offering everything from swim lessons to scuba certification. They also have an extensive retail store for all of your diving needs.

#3 Cascade Diving

Based in Salem, Cascade Diving offers a wide range of services, including classes, equipment sales and rentals, and trips to popular dive destinations around Oregon. They also have a free weekly social hour where divers can meet and mingle.

What You Can Expect to See

The state is home to some of the country’s most beautiful and diverse underwater scenery. From the rugged coastline to the crystal-clear waters of Crater Lake, there is something for everyone when scuba diving in Oregon.

Crater Lake is one of the deepest lakes in the United States and features crystal-clear water that is perfect for diving. The lake is also home to various wildlife, including eagles and osprey.

When diving at the Columbia River Gorge, you will find dramatic cliffs and stunning views. The Columbia River Gorge is also home to various fish and other aquatic life.

Furthermore, the Oregon coast offers a wide variety of marine life and beautiful underwater scenery. Divers can explore kelp forests and shipwrecks and even see whales offshore.

Some Interesting Facts About Oregon for Scuba Divers


Oregon is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. Oregon was admitted to the Union as the 33rd state on February 14, 1859. The state’s capital is Salem, and its largest city is Portland.

It is one of the most geographically diverse states in the United States. It is home to the Cascade Mountains in the west, the high desert in central Oregon, and the Coast Range and rainforest in the northwest.


The average temperature in Oregon varies depending on the region. In general, the coast is cooler than the inland areas. The mountains are also cooler than the valleys. The highest temperatures are usually found in the eastern part of the state, while the western part is cooler overall.

Oregon experiences a wide range of precipitation, from very little in the east to quite a lot in the west. The Cascade Range receives the most precipitation, while the eastern part of the state is much drier. This means there are often different conditions in different parts of Oregon at any given time.

Scuba diving is possible all year round in Oregon, though some areas may be too cold for comfortable diving during certain months. However, there are some great winter dives to be had as well! In general, the best time to dive in Oregon is during the summer months when the water is warmest, and visibility is good.

If you are looking for warmer climates, you might rather consider to dive elsewhere, for instance in the tropics.
Check out our other travel guides!

Scuba Diving Related Facts

  • The state of Oregon has a lot to offer scuba divers. There are many interesting facts about Oregon that make it a great place to go diving. For example, did you know that Oregon has over 350 miles of coastline? That’s a lot of coastline for scuba diving!
  • There are over 60 species of marine mammals that can be found off the coast of Oregon.
  • Oregon has five National Marine Sanctuaries, which protect over 1,000 species of marine life.
  • The ocean’s average depth off the coast of Oregon is 3,200 feet.
  • Oregon has two major rivers, the Columbia River and Snake River, which provide opportunities for freshwater diving.

Other Interesting Facts

  • The geographical center of Oregon is near Albany. It lies in the Willamette Valley at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers. With an elevation of 420 feet (128 m) above sea level, Albany is the highest city in Oregon.
  • Oregon is the ninth largest state in the United States, with an area of 98,381 square miles (255,026 km2), and is the 27th most populous state, with 4,028,977 residents as of 2019. The southern part of Oregon is largely populated and urbanized, home to 75% of Oregon’s population. The north features much more rural areas and forests home to 25% of Oregon’s population.
  • Oregon is home to some of the country’s largest companies, including Nike, Intel, and Adidas. Other major industries include agriculture, forestry, fishing, tourism, and manufacturing.

Prices You Can Expect Per Dive with Dive Shops in Oregon

For a basic scuba diving experience, you can expect to pay around $50-$100 per person. This price includes the cost of renting equipment, as well as the cost of the instructor’s time. If you’re interested in more advanced diving, such as night diving or shipwreck diving, you can expect to pay a bit more – typically around $75-$150 per person.

Of course, these prices may vary depending on the specific dive shop and location. But, in general, these are the prices you can expect to pay for a safe and enjoyable scuba diving experience in Oregon.

How to Pack for a Scuba Vacation in Oregon

Assuming you’re flying into Oregon for your scuba vacation, you’ll want to pack light. Bring only what you need for diving and leave the rest behind. Here’s a packing list for a scuba vacation in Oregon:

  • Scuba gear: BC, fins, mask, snorkel, wetsuit or dry suit (depending on water temperature), weights, and belt
  • Sun protection: sunscreen, rash guard or wetsuit top, wide-brimmed hat
  • Footwear: sandals or water shoes for beach/boat dives, sneakers or hiking boots for shore dives
  • Clothing: swimsuits, cover-ups, shorts/pants, shirts/tops, light jacket
  • Extras: dive log and pencil, dive watch, dive knife/dive tool, first aid kit

Things to Consider Before Going on a Scuba Diving Vacation in Oregon

Before scuba diving in Oregon, there are a few things to consider.

  • The first is the weather. Oregon can be cold and wet, so it’s important to check the forecast before you go.
  • Second, because of the state’s diverse geography, there are many different types of scuba diving sites. Some sites may be more challenging than others, so it’s important to do your research and choose a site appropriate for your skill level.
  • Finally, make sure you have all the necessary gear and supplies. There is nothing you can’t buy in Oregon, but it would be a pity if you just forgot it at home.

Diving Tips in Oregon

Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your diving adventure in Oregon:

Choose the right dive site

There are many different dive sites to choose from in Oregon, so it’s important to research and pick one that’s right for your skill level and experience. Ask a local dive shop or instructor for recommendations if you need help figuring out where to start.

Get familiar with the local conditions

Before diving into any new body of water, you must understand the conditions you’ll be facing. In Oregon, water temperatures can range from cold (in some mountain lakes) to quite warm (in the southern part of the state). Make sure you have the proper gear to stay comfortable during your dive.

Be aware of ocean currents

The Pacific Ocean has some of the strongest currents in the world, so it’s important to be aware of them before diving in. Check with a local dive shop or instructor for current conditions, and always heed warning signs posted at popular dive sites.

Watch out for wildlife

Oregon is home to various wildlife on land and in the water. While most animals pose no threat to humans, it is always a good idea to be aware of wildlife to avoid doing any harm to nature.

Where Should You NOT Dive in Oregon?

There are a few places where scuba diving is not recommended in Oregon. These areas are generally near river mouths or where there is a strong current. Diving in these areas can be very dangerous and should be avoided.

Some of the places where diving is not recommended in Oregon include:

  • The mouth of the Columbia River
  • Astoria Canyon
  • Cape Arago
  • Coos Bay
  • Depoe Bay

What To Do When Not Scuba Diving in Oregon?

Visit Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park is one of Oregon’s most popular tourist destinations. Visitors can enjoy hiking, camping, fishing, and picnicking in the park. In southern Oregon, Crater Lake National Park is home to the deepest lake in the United States. The park is also home to elk, bighorn sheep, and bald eagles.

Take a scenic drive along the Oregon Coast

If you’re looking for a way to take in all the natural beauty that Oregon offers, a scenic drive along the Oregon Coast must be a must. This route will take you past some of the state’s most iconic landmarks, including Mount Hood, Crater Lake National Park, and the Columbia River Gorge. Plus, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to stop and snap some photos along the way.

Enjoy the nightlife in Portland

Portland is known for its vibrant and diverse nightlife. There is something for everyone, whether you’re looking for a casual bar to relax in or a club to dance the night away.

Some of Portland’s most popular nightlife spots include the Pearl District, Downtown, and Old Town. The Pearl District is home to many upscale bars and restaurants and some of the city’s best shopping. Downtown is where you’ll find most of the city’s clubs and live music venues, while Old Town is perfect for a more laid-back evening out.

No matter your preference, you’re sure to find a nightlife spot in Portland that suits your taste. So go out and enjoy everything this city has to offer after dark!


Is scuba diving good in Oregon?

Yes, scuba diving is good in Oregon! The state has a diverse range of dive sites, from the coast’s temperate waters to the high desert’s cold waters. There are also some wrecks and reefs to explore.

Can you go snorkeling in Oregon?

Yes, you can go snorkeling in Oregon! There are many beautiful spots along the coast where you can see a variety of fish and other marine life. The best time to go snorkeling is during the summer when the water is warmest.

Can you scuba dive into the Columbia river?

Yes, you can scuba dive into the Columbia River! The river is home to various fish, including salmon, sturgeon, and trout. There are also some shipwrecks in the river that you can explore. Diving in the Columbia River is a great way to experience the beauty of Oregon.

When is the best time to scuba dive in Oregon?

The best time to scuba dive in Oregon is during the summer months. The water is warm, and the visibility is good. There are also a variety of dive sites to choose from.

How long does it take to learn scuba diving in Oregon?

It may take longer if you’re learning in Oregon, where the weather isn’t always ideal. But don’t let that discourage you! Scuba diving is a great activity in Oregon, and there are plenty of places to learn.

If you want to get certified, you’ll need to take a class from a certified instructor. Many scuba diving schools in Oregon offer these classes. The cost of the class in Oregon will depend on the length of the course and the school you choose. Most classes range from $200 to $400.

Once you’re certified, you can dive anywhere in the world (check out all our travel guides)! And there are plenty of great places to dive in Oregon.

Which one is better? Shallow scuba diving or deep diving in Oregon?

If you’re looking for an Oregon scuba diving adventure, you may be wondering whether to go for a deep dive or a shallower one. Here’s a look at some things to consider when making your decision:

  • The depth of the water: Deep diving in Oregon can range from 100 feet (30 meters) to over 1,000 feet (305 meters). Shallow diving, on the other hand, is usually done in waters less than 100 feet (30 meters) deep (with Open Water Certification only up to 18 meters).
  • The type of dive: Wrecks and reefs are the two main types of dive. Wrecks are usually found at greater depths, while reefs tend to be found in shallower waters.
  • Your experience level: If you’re a beginner diver, it’s generally recommended that you stick to shallower dives. More experienced divers may feel comfortable tackling deeper dives – of course only with the required training!

Final Thoughts

After reading this guide, we hope you feel more confident about scuba diving in Oregon! There are many great dive sites to explore, and with a little planning, you can have a safe and enjoyable experience. Remember to check the weather and water conditions before you go, and have all the necessary gear. Most importantly, relax and enjoy your dive!

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