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Catalina Island has far too much incredible diving for just one underwater program. In Rugged Oceanographers, you will learn about and explore all of Catalina's unique underwater environments as you earn your PADI Advanced Open Water Certification. Our dive boats speed Rugged "O" participants to the best dive locations on Catalina Island. You will learn and practice advanced dive techniques, including precision underwater navigation, deep dives to a strange world where light seems to have no source, search and recovery dives, night dives lit only by your dive light and the glowing algae that swirls around you, and much, much more.
Rugged Oceanographers are more than just advanced divers, they are also experts in Catalina Island's unique marine ecology. In Rugged "O" you will use the multi-million dollar Pennington Marine Science Center as your base of operations for the week. Here you will study the various underwater ecosystems that you will be exploring in Rugged "O" through the Pennington Center's various habitat exhibition tanks. The recreated ecosystems feature over 150 different species of animals collected in our local waters. Pennington Center exhibits include a kelp forest tank, rocky reef exhibit, surge tank, shark tank, moray eel tank, octopus habitat, invertebrate touch tank, and a plankton lab. All of Rugged Oceanographers marine science curricula is supported by the full-time resident marine biologist.
Given the advanced and immersive nature of Rugged Oceanographers, it is important that you arrive with your basic open water scuba certification already completed and be in good health. Participants must answer the 34-question Divers Medical Questionnaire available as a download under "Camper Info." If you answer any question "yes," it means that you have a pre-existing condition that could affect your ability to dive safely. An exam by a physician is then necessary to ascertain the risks of these conditions. The physician must then sign the PADI Medical Release Form, which the camper must bring with him to camp.
Included in the cost of the Rugged Oceanographers program are all necessary study materials. You are expected to bring your personal scuba equipment including mask, snorkel, gloves, booties, and fins. A wetsuit, regulator, buoyancy control device, scuba tank, weights, are provided as a part of the program. While most of the gear will be provided for your experience, there are many important personal items you must bring. Please be sure to pay attention to the required and recommended items in the "What to Bring" section of this website. The course will only run once a minimum of 4 participants has been met for each week. If this minimum has not been met for the week in which you registered, we will work with you to find an alternative or refund the cost of the program.
Rugged Oceanographers is a program designed for older Scouts. Participants must be willing to complete multiple hours of coursework prior to coming to Catalina. Those who do not complete their studying will not be able to earn their certification. Participants must be able to walk 100 yards in full dive equipment weighing between 50 and 100 lbs and pull themselves up onto a ledge at water level from water that is over their head in depth.
As per BSA National Policy Rugged Oceanographer participants must be 12 years old by the start of their week of programming.
Required Forms: You can begin your program at Camp Emerald Bay much more smoothly if you arrive at camp with all the necessary forms already filled out. Please follow the link below to our "Forms and Packets" page, please fill out and sign your documents before arriving on the first day.