Waterhorse Charters San Diego Reviews, Photos & Special Rates - Bluewater Dive Travel

Waterhorse Charters San Diego



Destination: Southern California

Price Varies p.p.p.n

Book Now Button

Waterhorse Charters Quick Pitch 

San Diego diving on their custom dive boat, the Humboldt, has tons of space, cool crew, good food, and all the stuff that makes Scuba diving in San Diego fun.


Waterhorse Charters Features

  • The Humboldt, specially designed vessel for scuba diving: able to carry 22 passengers on board, has a top speed of 30 mph and a cruising speed of 26 mph.
  • Two compressors on board
  • Yoke and DIN friendly
  • Fresh hot water shower
  • Hot soup
  • Rental equipment
  • Divemasters for hire



Varies, depending on the type of package. Contact us for more information.



Located right on the Mission Bay Harbor near the Hyatt Islandia. The dive boat is located right behind the store.


Dive Overview

Waterhorse Charters offer scuba trips to Wreck Alley, Coronado Islands, Kelp Beds, and to various local points in between.


Back to Menu


Dive Information

Book Now Button

Dive Sites

  • Yukon
  • At 366' feet in length, the Yukon is one of California's largest wrecks accessible by divers and is the most intact wreck divers can visit.
  • She was intentionally sunk in July of 2000 by the San Diego Oceans Foundation as part of the artificial reef project, known as Wreck Alley. An abundance of entry and exit holes were cut into her to increase accessibility as well as diver safety. Penetration is readily available for those with the proper certifications. However, there is plenty to see on the exterior including both forward and aft gun turrets.
  • Unfortunately, the sinking of her was never executed. The night before her sinking, water entered the holes cut low to the waterline and shortly after midnight, her bow headed for the bottom. She lies on her port side in about 100' of water with an average minimum depth of about 75 feet along the starboard side.
  • The Yukon has something to offer for almost every diver from the novice to the "Techies".
  • Ruby E
  • The Ruby E, a 165-foot long Coast Guard Cutter, was sunk as part of the Artificial Reef Project in June of 1989 and sits in about 85 feet of water.
  • She has been down for over 20 years with the harsh environment taking its toll. There are areas where the sides of the superstructure and hull are getting quite thin, but the wreck remains intact. She sits upright on the bottom and is intact and penetrable. However, caution should be taken when penetrating, as sharp rusted metal is all around. Most of the wreck is covered with growth, such as strawberry anemones.
  • NOSC Tower
  • Built in 1959 and used through the late 1980’s, this research platform was used by the Naval Electronics Lab (NEL) and Naval Ocean Systems Center (NOSC), hence where it got its name. It once stood over 100 feet tall and was the naval 
  • research center for measuring internal waves, swell, wave propagation and numerous other oceanographic areas.
  • In 1988, during El Nino, huge waves battered the Tower and during the night, a rogue wave smashed into the tower toppling it forever onto the ocean floor. Today, it's a tangle of girders and beams. A previously good dive site, is now even more intriguing, as time and the inhabiting marine life have really developed the site in one of the most colorful and populated in San Diego.
  • Pt Loma Kelp Beds
  • Glide through the underwater forests of Point Loma. Large rocky reef bottoms covered by thick kelp canopies provide homes for a wide variety of creatures. Depths range from 35 to 80 feet.
  • Many different types of kelp are found in kelp forests, among them are giant kelp, bullwhip kelp, the palm kelp and the feather boa kelp.
  • Underwater kelp forests shelter snails, crabs, shrimp, starfish, sea anemones, sea cucumbers, brittle starfish, many species of nudibranch's, California spiny lobsters and many other marine creatures.
  • You'll be swimming among pinnacles and rocky terrain with lots of structures. Diving through giant kelp beds is a unique experience.
  • Coronado Islands, Mexico
  • The Coronado Islands is a great dive destination for all certification levels.... for those getting certified to experienced tech divers, there's something for everyone to enjoy. Visibility is usually much better than coastal San Diego dive sites.
  • Recently, we've seen 70'+ visibility at some of the sites. The islands also host harbor seals and sea lion pups who are just waiting for us to show up to have something new to play with. They may even nip your fins - but they're friendly, playful & very cute!



Back to Menu 


Packages & Rates

Waterhorse Charters Packages and Rates 

Book Now Button



SCUBA Dive Trips

Trip prices include: use of air tanks (LP Steel 85's), sse of hard lead weights and Food (hot soup, bread, chips, salad, fruit, water and punch).



1 Tank Night


2 Tank Local


3 Tank Local


2 Tank Extended Local


3 Tank Extended Local


2 Tank Mexico


3 Tank Mexico


2 Tank Tech


Hogan/Coronado Islands


Back to Menu  Other Options


Private Dive Charters

Full boat charter prices for Coronado Islands does not include the $25 per person required Mexican VISA.



2 Tank Local Weekday


2 Tank Local Weekend


3 Tank Local Weekday


3 Tank Local Weekend


2 Tank Coronado Weekday


2 Tank Coronado Weekend


3 Tank Coronado Weekday


3 Tank Coronado Weekend


2 Tank Tech Weekday


2 Tank Tech Weekend


Back to Menu  Other Options


Shore Diving



Non-Certified (w/ gear)


1 Tank Certified


2 Tank Certified


Back to Menu  Other Options


Air & Nitrox



Nitrox Tanks


Nitrox Fills


Air Fills


Air Fills (10)


Air Fills (100)


 Back to Menu  Other Options


Rates & Availability 

For more information on rates, availability and to book, drop us an email at info@bluewaterdivetravel.com or call us today at 310-915-6677. We will gladly help you plan your dream vacation!

Back to Menu


Other Information

Book Now Button

Practical Information

  • Local Currency: USD (US Dollars)
  • International Airport: San Diego International Airport
  • Language: English
  • Time Zone: UTC-8
  • Electricity: 120V

Back to Menu


Got Questions? Ready to Book?

Call us today at 310-915-6677 or email us info@bluewaterdivetravel.com

And let us book your dream vacation!


Back to Menu



Underwater Gallery

Book Now Button

Coming Soon!


Back to Menu 


Reviews (2)


Like, whoa bro! Dude! ;)

I lived in Southern California for 17 years, but it wasn't till later on that I really appreciated all the diving that southern California has to offer. And some of my favorite sites are in San Diego - Wreck Alley and Scripps Canyon!

Waterhorse Charters let's you do your own thing. Wreck certified? Tec Certified? Go at it. Decompress. Penetrate. You're on your own, and I love it! As a dive professional - I love setting my own limits. And if you aren't - you can have a guided dive too! I absolutely love the Yukon. Huge, massive intricate wreck. Big dark hallways. The Bridge. Gun turrets. Man! And Scripps canyon is epic - I swam up to the point of the canyon (where is diverges) and sat there - just stared out, watching the canyon walls just disappear away from me… wow.

But I'm here to tell you about Waterhorse Charters. LEGIT. HOT SOUP between cold dives!!! Hot tea & chocolate! HOT SOUP!!! Salad, cookies, crackers, and HOT SOUP! Dude! THE *best* thing between cold wetsuit dives is a nice bowl (or four) of soup to warm ya up. Knowledgable staff, floor plans of the wrecks, and huge cabin space for plenty of mingling room.

Totally recommend!

Visited on 10/2012 - Submitted on 08/04/2014

Los Coronado Islands, Baja California Sur, with Waterhorse Charters Review
Trip Date: April 19, 2014

It had been a five and a half hour drive from Arizona to hook-up with my dive partner to dive San Diego’s Wreck Alley. Unfortunately, we found ourselves standing on the dock waiting for a dive boat that never showed-up. Despite the fact that the boat owner provided an explanation about what had happened, her failure to give an out-of-state diver a telephone call about the cancellation left me somewhat soured on San Diego area diving. This said, I had heard good things about Mexico’s Los Coronado Islands and I really wanted to dive there. Eventually, I decided to try a different San Diego dive boat operation and I am glad I did.

Los Coronado Islands

Los Coronado Islands are in the neighborhood of twenty miles south of San Diego and six miles off Baja California Sur’s Pacific Coast. There are four islands in the group. The islands sit on the edge of the Continental Shelf. Distance offshore and proximity to the deep waters of the Pacific tend to result in good visibility for diving.

Juan Cabrillo documented the presence of the islands in 1542. The translation of the islands name is ‘the crowns’ and comes from the original name Los Cuatro Coronados (the four crowns). History of the islands is rich: slave smuggling, piracy, rum running, and a prohibition-era casino. Personally, arriving by boat at a place with a history like the Coronados tends to stimulate my imagination. It is a cool place.

Waterhorse Charters

After visiting with several San Diego area divers, I decided to book a trip with Waterhorse Charters. At the time of my trip, Waterhorse was the only charter company offering day trips to Los Coronado Islands just south of the U.S./Mexico border.

Booking on-line was easy. Given my earlier negative experience with a different San Diego charter company, I also made a phone call and visited with a Waterhorse staff member about the importance of giving me a phone call if a cancellation became necessary.

Travel to Mexico via boat requires a passport and a tourist visa. Tourist visa paperwork was completed at their office before divers were allowed to get on the boat.

Overall, my experience with the Waterhorse office staff was a good experience. They were personable and very service oriented.

Humboldt Dive Boat

Humboldt is a big boat. It is 45’ in length and has a 16’ beam. Official boat specs are available on Waterhorse Charters website.

Humboldt was comfortable during my Coronados trip. Regulations did not permit divers to sit on the bow deck, but there was lots of room to spread out on the main and upper decks. The boat also had a large salon with lots of seating and tables. Hot water showers were available on the main deck.

Lunch was included with the Coronados trip and the food was excellent. Diving the Pacific side of Northern Baja is a cold-water experience; the hot soups prepared by the crew were a hit. There was no shortage of salad as well.

Diving Ops

Waterhorse Charters runs ‘limited load’ trips. Load limits typically allow more space on the main deck for gearing-up and dive operations. This works well unless one finds one’s self sandwiched in-between two very large divers as I did. I had to wait for them to gear-up and step clear of the area before I could slip into my BCD. It was not a major issue.

Humboldt is equipped with low-pressure steel 85 cf tanks. Using steel tanks typically requires some weight adjustment. Basically, steel tanks are heavier than the aluminum variety so shedding some weight is necessary. The skipper reminded divers of this multiple times prior to commencing with dive ops on our first dive site. The boat is equipped with air compressors. The crew had no problem accomplishing tank re-fills for everyone during surface intervals. It is kind of nice not to have to change-out tanks.

The skipper provided dive site and safety briefings personally. Briefings included a description of each site, tips on what to look for, and an assessment of potential hazards. Current was present at every dive site, but it was a major issue on our second dive.

Los Coronado Islands Diving

One of the major reasons I wanted to dive the Los Coronado Islands was to pursue photographing sea lions, seals and if I was lucky, maybe some members of the small elephant seal colony that reside on one of the islands. The trip was not a total bust for me, but opportunities to photograph pinnipeds were limited.

The reality of scuba diving is the variety of experiences divers can have at different locations on the same dive sites. One simply cannot predict what divers may encounter. While the ‘dive gods’ did not smile on me with an encounter with any elephant seals, a couple of other divers were privileged to have one make a close pass to check them out. Others enjoyed more interaction with sea lions than I did. The Coronados have an excellent reputation for large numbers of pinnipeds; the large numbers were probably just off doing something else other than looking for divers to interact with on the day I arrived there.

We undoubtedly hit three of the more heavily used Los Coronado Islands dive sites. These included: Lobster Shack, The Keyhole, and Three Fingers. The skipper commented that they usually do the first dive at Lobster Shack because it is reasonably well sheltered and a good place for the crew to do something of an assessment of the diver skills. Keep in mind, there can be a wide range of skill levels among the twenty-two divers who are on the boat.

A fisherman shack once sat on the sheltered cove that bears the name Lobster Shack. Bottom topography is a sloping boulder field that provides habitat for fish. Blacksmith and Garibaldi were numerous. Triggerfish were also present.

The Keyhole sits on the southern end of the North Island (Coronado del Norte). It is an arch and connects waters from the windward and leeward sides of the island. A tremendous amount of surge and current was present at the site on the day of my charter.

Despite the skipper’s very accurate description of the challenges presented by the current and his admonishments to dive a plan north of the arch and the surge, a number of divers surfaced down current from the boat. None of them were able to swim back to the boat against the current. Interestingly, the skipper had anticipated this situation and already had a safety line in position to haul them in.

As noted earlier in this review, my encounters with sea lions were limited; however, several engaged me at the Keyhole. These sea lions stuck around with me for a few minutes and gave me opportunities for some stills and experimentation with video mode on my Nikon D7100.

Three Fingers on the Middle Island (Coronado del Medio) was pretty tame after dealing with the surge and current at The Keyhole. Sea lions were present, but showed little interest in engaging me. The Middle Island has a small resident population of Northern Elephant Seals. Unfortunately, the ‘dive gods’ did not smile on me. While I prowled around hoping for an encounter, another small group of divers was treated to a close ‘fly-by’ they described as being buzzed by an elephant seal the size of a mini-submarine. Fun stuff!

Water temperatures ran from sixty-one to sixty-four degrees. Visibility varied from forty-five to seventy feet.


Overall, diving Los Coronado Islands with the Humboldt crew was an enjoyable experience. In addition to marine life, purple hydrocorals are present. Waterhorse Charters schedules trips to the islands on a regular basis.

Philip Bonds
Cortez Blue Photography

Visited on 04/2014 - Submitted on 11/15/2014


Sign up for the mailing list today