Diving in Israel

The term «diving» means “submerging under water or plunging into water”. But perhaps it is better to say that the unique hobby of diving, is more like a drug addiction. It is an addiction to which it is difficult to find a cure. You will only need one taste! Take a trial dive into the wonderful world of the Red Sea – that is enough! You will be addicted.

The best scuba diving in Israel is found on a small part of the coast of the Red Sea near Eilat. Visibility in this place is about forty meters. The water is astonishingly clear. In this article we are going to provide beginners with some useful tips for divers, as well as give an overview of the situation in recreational diving in the country.

So, a few general rules for diving in Israel near Eilat.

Firstly, we need to remember that the whole region is a nature conservation area. Accordingly, diving gloves and knives are strictly prohibited. In case you do decide to get something – take a look around yourself several times under the water and look back when going out to the beach. Even if nobody noticed you, you should not show off with your trophies on the beach as there are a lot of onlookers around the shore.

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Spearfishing with equipment “scuba” here is prohibited in law (as in all other normal countries). The penalty in this case may be confiscated equipment (for scuba diving and hunting), as well as representation to the court. The court, by the way, writes that while fines are ridiculous (a few hundred shekels).

Removal out of sea water of natural values (such as corals) protected by the law and entails a fine of 660 shekels (about 150 U.S. dollars), but with amphora and other “glass” – you just cannot shake. Here you have to deal with the department of maritime archeology. Meeting with the body does not promise anything good. It should be noted that the tourists in order to verify the payment of the fine, can even be hold up in a police station – until the moment the fine will be paid. They can put the stamp in the passport in this situation, after which Israeli visa in your life will not be seen.

But in the early 70s in Israel they began to open first, commercial diving centers and the state established its control over the industry. In 1979 was received the “Law of sport diving”, which operates till today, with various modifications and additions. All divers in Israel act according to this law exactly.

Nowadays Israel is one of the most “profiling” countries of the world. Each year, more than a thousand Israelis become the owners of diving certificates and the number of certified divers in Israel counts for the tens of thousands. In our country there are dozens of successful profile shopping centers and dive gear. Above all, in Israel there are regional offices of almost all the world’s leading associations of diving.

Due to the presence of warm seas, Israeli’s love to active forms of recreation, year-round season and a high standard of living, scuba diving in Israel is a massive passion. For tourists, Israel, as a “country of diving”, unfortunately, is almost unknown.

I would like you to pay your attention to another important point. If your level of certification – OWD or AOWD, then we would recommend you to have a completed log-book. The fact is that according to local laws, if OWD / AOWD diver has its own assets of less than 50 dives and more than six months without diving, or more than 50 dives, but more than one year had not dived, he is obliged to pass, so called “Restorative dive.” This is not a traditional check-dive, to which most divers are accustomed. This immersion is designed to restore a person who has little experience and have not dived, skills and knowledge gained in the course of OWD. Each lesson consists of two equal parts – for about forty minutes of theory and exercises in the water. Conducts a similar exercise is not just a regular guide, but at least an assistant instructor.

If you do not want to become a participant of the event, which, incidentally, is very expensive, we recommend you in advance take care of the last dive, noted in your “log”, had been done within six months by the date, or be able to produce any certificate of immersion, which was issued less than six months ago.

If you present a certificate, insurance or the log-book, any Israeli diving center will give you a balloon and all necessary dive equipment, without any check dives. Well, and what to do after that – you may decide on your own. If you like to dive with a guide – do order dive guide. If not – then dive on your own. It’s necessary to admit, that “without guide” immersion in Israel is not only not forbidden, in fact – it is almost the norm.

In Israel, you have the opportunity to dive almost anywhere in the coast, except for places where diving is prohibited in principle (e.g. military bases, specially protected nature reserves, etc.). We do not have the concept of “house reef” or a private beach. Everything is literally the coast belongs to the people, that is, divers!

And one more very interesting fact. Thanks to the strict enforcement of laws and regulations, the number of accidents related to diving, in Israel, is among the lowest in the world. Both in absolute value and in percentage terms.

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