Things to Do on Catalina Island

Boats: Island Boat Charters

Boat Charters for Diving, Sportfishing, or Sailing Off Catalina Island

Some of Catalina Island's most beguiling and fabled pleasures are not found on the island at all, but in the waters that surround it. The simple geological fact that the island is the top of an undersea mountain peak means that, very close to shore, deep waters abound, making for a wealth of opportunities to go diving, sportfishing, or sailing from the island paradise.

Catalina Island is conveniently located just 22 miles off the coast of Southern California's mainland. And one of the best ways for devotees of these sports to take advantage of everything the island has to offer is to charter a private boat. Great scuba diving sites abound in Catalina Island's waters. While island dive shops organize guided trips to these sites, if you're an experienced diver you'll find that a privately chartered boat allows you maximum flexibility to explore at your own pace and to go wherever and whenever water conditions, visibility, and undersea life are at their optimum.

For more than a century, sportfishing has been a fabled pastime in the waters off of Catalina. Indeed, the Tuna Club, the first sportfishing club in the United States, was founded in Avalon in 1898, and its headquarters still grace the northern shore of the harbor not far from the Avalon Casino. Famed anglers who sought tuna, marlin, and swordfish under its banner have included Western novelist Zane Grey, who also wrote acclaimed books on fishing; Sir Winston Churchill; General George S. Patton; and such Hollywood luminaries as Stan Laurel, Charlie Chaplin, and Bing Crosby. The Tuna Club was instrumental in establishing strict rules of conduct for the sport, living up to its motto: "Fair play for game fishes." Today, private sportfishing charter boats–as well as organized sportfishing boat excursions–will take you in search of big fish, and the best-equipped private charters will come complete with fish-finder sonar, global positioning satellite (GPS), and rods and reels–not to mention modern comforts to make your excursion an absolute pleasure.

Sailboat charters offer a very particular pleasure for those seafarers who like to skim across the water under the power of the ocean breeze. A private charter allows you absolute freedom to explore the island's shoreline in absolute comfort aboard a craft that suits you style and skills–tacking back and forth as you like and as the winds allow, or dropping anchor in any secluded cove that might beckon. Enjoy the sights and the sunshine, go diving or snorkeling, or just laze about on deck. If you wish, you can also have the added ease of an experienced captain and crew.

Whatever ocean-going adventure you seek, you'll find a boat charter to fulfill your needs. Some captains are even ordained ministers, making it possible for you to tie the knot on your life's journey together while journeying through Santa Catalina's waters!

Chartering a Boat for Diving, Sportfishing, or Sailing Catalina
A wide variety of private boats for diving, sportfishing, or sailing off of Santa Catalina may be chartered from the towns of Avalon or Two Harbors on the island, or from mainland-based charter companies that can start your island-going adventure from a Southern California coastal port.

Before chartering, make absolutely certain what your goals are for the charter–whether serious scuba diving, snorkeling, fishing, sailing, or just relaxed exploration of Catalina's coastline. To help you choose the right boat for you, be as realistic as possible–and absolutely open with the representative of the charter company–about the goals, abilities, skill and fitness levels, and interests of both you and the people with whom you'll be boating. Also find out from the representative what equipment and amenities the charter boat comes with, and ask for a complete list of what you and the members of your party should bring along. (If anyone in your party hasn't done much boating before, be sure to check with a doctor beforehand for recommendations on the best ways to deal with possible seasickness. Effective preventatives and remedies do exist!).

If you plan a multi-day charter and your boat doesn't including sleeping accommodations, you might want to make plans as well for boat-in camping.

Book your charter as far in advance as possible, especially for high summertime tourist months. In general, charter companies require advance payment by cash or credit card.

Time to Allow: One or more days.
Reservations are not required.
Prices and availability are subject to change.