Completing a dive site rating can be a tricky and very subject exercise. Depending upon who is providing the rating they may give a dive sit rating that is very high and someone else may rate the same site as average or even poor. Giving a dive site rating is highly influenced by the experience of the individual diver. If someone has only been diving in warm, tropical waters and then they go dive in Hawaii. They may say the reef is “dead” because there are not any colorful soft corals to be seen. This would be an inaccurate description as the coral reefs around Hawaii are vibrant, but they are hard corals, not soft corals. With the Dive Site Rating Matrix I have attempted to provide objective criteria to rate individual aspects of a dive. For instance a dive may be awesome but if it is difficult to access then the overall rating of the dive would be lower compared to an awesome dive that is relatively easy to access.
Please review the dive site rating matrix and rate your own favorite dive sites.
I would love your feedback and experience on how the rating matrix performs for the dive sites you are visiting.
You can go to the bottom of the table to scroll to the right and see additional rating categories.
|Rating||Visibility||Access||Current||Depth||Hard/Soft Coral||Marine Species Variety||Pelagics / Mammals / Turtles / Rays||Sponges / Plants||Wreck Dive|
|1||<10 feet||Extremely difficult; expert only; highly technical||Strong current, drift dive only and/or difficult entry / exit||120+ ft 36+ m (Technical Dive)||What Coral? Or Dead, bleached,||Limited variety; What Fish?||No sightings, rare sightings||What sponges? Dead, diseased||Scattered debris field / hard to distinquish|
|2||>10 to 30 hazy||Difficult; boat only; highly variable||Moderate to strong and/or strong surge; difficult entry and exit||90 - 120 ft, 27 -37 m||Minimal to moderate density fair health; noticeable damage||Sparse variety and density||1-3 sightings but may not be close||Minimal to higer density moderate health; noticeable damage||Scattered debris field but recognizable|
|3||> 30 to 60+ typically hazy||Difficult shore entry or boat only; and/or long distance||Moderate current and/or moderate surge||60 - 90 ft, 18-27 m||Sparse to moderate density; moderate to good health||Sparse to medium variety; medium number/density||3- 5 sightings; 2 to 3 sightings close up||Sparse to Medium density moderately healthy sponges||Somewhat scatter debris and large segments /limited navigation / highly technical|
|4||> 60 to 100 clear||Easy to moderately easy entry and exit; boat ride||Small or weak current only on portion of the dive||30 - 60 ft, 9 - 18 m||Medium to high density reasonably healthy||Medium to high variety and medium number/density||5 to 7 sightings; 1 to 3 groups, 3 to 5 individuals close||Medium to high concentration, reasonably healthy sponges||Explorable segments; good navigation; moderate to good condition|
|5||> to infinity and beyond||Easy entry and exit; boat or shore access||No current||0 - 30 ft, 0 - 9 m||High density; very healthy||High variety and high number/density||10+ pelagics; 3+ sharks or any whale :-), multiple close up||High concentrations and variety of sponges; very healthy||Highly navigatible recent or ancient; great condition|