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Scuba Diving in Alaska

Alaska is not your typical diving destination, not if you’re used to warm water and colorful tropical fish. It is, however, one of the best cold-water diving destinations in the world. Contrary to popular belief, there are countless life forms in cold water. Invertebrates dominate the region, but you can also spot larger animals such as salmons, sea lions, orcas, and humpback whales.

When to Visit

You can dive in Alaska all year round. Unless you come when the water temperatures are at their highest, you’ll most likely need a drysuit and you will be required to show your drysuit diving certification.

Water Temperature

The water temperature is around 4° C/40° F in the winter and can reach 15° C/60° F in the summer. Thick wetsuits may work fine in the summer, but we’re talking two to three months.


Can be strong. The dives are usually planned during slack tide.


Underwater visibility ranges can be anywhere from 7 to 25 meters/25 to 80 feet. Due to the upwellings of nutrients, it can be poor at times. However, this is also a good thing because more nutrients means more fish life, especially when it comes to the big stuff.

Types of Diving

  • Wreck diving
  • Reef diving
  • Wall diving
  • Cavern diving

Diving Highlights

Anchorage is arguably the most popular dive destination in Alaska, and it’s easy to see why. It is well-known for the amazing diving at Resurrection Bay, Kenai Peninsula, and Prince William Sound. The underwater conditions are quite pristine, except for wreck sites and NOAA reef installations.

Orcas and humpback whales are frequently spotted at the Kenai Fjords National Park. At Smitty’s Cove, divers will find several WWII relics, cranes, and other artificial reefs. Boulder City is a must-see at Resurrection Bay; there are so many creatures hiding between the kelp beds.

The undersea topography is defined by walls, pinnacles, inlets, and small islands. Invertebrates dominate the region, with species such as jellyfish, sea stars, feather stars, tunicates, sea cucumbers, and plumose anemones.

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Dive sites in the area:

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Mountain Point

Wrangell, Alaska

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Middle Lobe

Valdez-Cordova, Alaska

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Nudibranch Nexus

Valdez-Cordova, Alaska

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Windy Bay Kelp Farm

Hawkins Island, Alaska

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