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Rugged SCUBA Divers

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Rugged Scuba Divers

There are few better ways to get your Scuba Merit Badge and/or basic open-water dive certification than through Rugged Scuba Divers.  We don't have a pool for training—that would be a waste of the world-class diving that begins at the shores of the Emerald Bay base camp.  Divers from all over the world come to Catalina Island to experience what will be your underwater classroom.  You will learn the essential dive skills required for your PADI certification and complete all tasks for your Scuba merit badge as you explore the kelp forests that consistently rank Catalina as one of the top ten dive locations in North America.  You will have the opportunity to swim with sea lions, barracuda, bat rays, moray eels, leopard sharks, and the occasional octopus, just to name a few.  Get dive certified as a Rugged Scuba Diver on Catalina Island and dive the world over.

The Rugged Scuba Divers program assumes that you have no prior knowledge of scuba diving before registering for this program.  All scouts must complete the Swimming merit badge prior to participating in the Scuba merit badge program.  You will need to complete the assigned coursework before coming to Catalina.  Once on the island, you and the rest of the Rugged Scuba Divers will work with our professional dive staff and merit badge counselors to learn the finer points of scuba diving and will spend much of your week in the ocean practicing your skills and exploring the waters of Catalina Island's Emerald Bay.  You can leave camp with a lifetime Scuba certification and scouting's newest merit badge!

Given the immersive nature of Rugged Scuba Divers, it is important that you arrive in good health.  Prior to participating, you must answer the 34-question Divers Medical Questionnaire available as a download under "Camper Info."  the Medical form must be signed by a doctor regardless of how the questions on page one are answered.The Boy Scouts require that every person who will be scuba diving at Camp Emerald Bay have the form signed by a doctor.This form must be completed and brought with the scout on the day they come to camp.

Included in the cost of the Rugged Scuba Divers program are all necessary study materials, as well as a basic personal scuba equipment package that you get to keep which includes a mask, snorkel, gloves, booties, and fins.  A wetsuit, regulator, buoyancy control device, scuba tank, and weights will be 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.



Rugged Scuba Divers is a program designed for active Scouts who have already attained their swimming merit badge.  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.

Age Requirements

As per BSA National Policy, Rugged Scuba 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.

Forms and Packets