More About Shore Dive Options on Grand Cayman

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As Stingray Watersports and Coconut Bay was mentioned: It is fine to bring rental tanks from other locations when you shore dive there. The dive facility isn't owned by Stingray Watersports, but by the condo association (STRATA). Tanks and weights there are provided by Stingray Watersports but you aren't obliged to use them.

We have shore dived at Coconut Bay and we always use tanks provided by Stingray and they do a nice job and it is cheap (and the Hepp's sites are great dives!)

The difference between shore diving Bonaire and GC may be the way dive packages are structured. In GC, when you book boat and shore diving with the op at your resort or condo; it usually says that the shore diving is free on the house reef while you are boat diving with them.

On Bonaire you can buy unlimited shore diving packages and you may (or may not) add on some boat dives, or vice versa. The practice is that you get all your tanks from one place and travel around to different sites to shore dive. The shore dive packages are cheap but you do have the extra expense of car/truck rental and fuel that could be avoided at a resort with house reef shore diving on GC, although there are house reefs on Bonaire too - so you don't have to drive around if you really don't want to.

But I can understand how a person that is used to Bonaire and has bought a boat and shore dive package from a resort on GC could be confused by the limitation to the house reef - especially if they get winded out on the house reef - say at Cobalt Coast - but when shore diving is still available elsewhere on the island.

They might think "Well, I've already paid for shore diving with my dive package and I can't shore dive here, so why can't I take the tanks that I've already paid for to another site that hasn't been winded out?"

Instead of citing mysterious laws and vague regulations and making obscure references to things that are "not allowed", the GC resort dive op should just clearly state "that's not how the dive packages are structured here - the package price only includes shore diving for the house reef."

And when the house reef is unavailable perhaps they could enter a small credit on the diver's account ($50 maybe, or perhaps a discount on a future dive trip?) so that if he/she wants to go shore diving elsewhere, they won't feel like they are paying twice for the same option; and there won't be any private property issues if they are diving with the onsite op.

Once on Bonaire, we had windy rough weather and weren't able to fully use our shore and boat diving packages and the dive op gave each of us a 1-week credit that was good for a year. We didn't get back there within the year so we didn't use the credit; but we felt better knowing that it had been given. Just an idea.
We have shore dived at Coconut Bay and we always use tanks provided by Sttingray and they do a nice job (and the Hepp's sites are great dives!)

Oh yes, I agree - having the convenience there so you don't have to go to Diver's Supply for tanks is very good. Just saying that you don't HAVE to use their tanks and are free to use whatever you have.
I don’t understand the comment about mysterious laws, vague regulations and making obscure references. I just quickly googled Sunset House and Cobalt Coast because if those statements were true I would tell my colleagues. Both websites proudly refer to shore diving at their house reef. I didn’t look up everyone but in any event it would seem to me that when you buy a package if you don’t clearly see what it includes, you would ask. Just didn’t think it was fair to the ops (at least the 2 I checked). to infer they are misleading guests. I think the bottom line is everyone wants happy content guests. If the type of diving you prefer is not offered, then this is not the place for you but no legit op is hiding or misleading anyone. What is the recent first hand experience that lead to these comments? I know it is not what ops here want the visitor experience to be and we would like current first hand experiences so the issues can be addressed.
If you want an example of a mysterious law, vague regulation or obscure reference, how about this:

With regard to solo diving in The Cayman Islands there is no confusion — CITA or not there is no solo diving. Solo diving certs are not recognized. It is not a law pre say but it is a regulation every op has to adhere to. So anyone who wants to have a Trade & Business License which means everyone is not going to allow solo diving.

Again, who is forbidding solo diving?

The solo diving thing is an issue. It is not accepted by and large here and is exacty what I was referring to when I said if the type of diving here is not what you want you shouldn’t come. Whether it is a law, a rule, a regulation or a pipe dream, if it is against the way ops want to run their business that’s it and it is no secret. However saying that shore ops are misleading people about where they can bring tanks etc is total misrepresentation. I totally get that you want to solo dive and there are lots of dive destinations where you can. It is not widely accepted here. No secret, no conspiracy and obviously not hidden. But this is my home and I have a business here and many friends and colleagues who do as well. The comments about situations from decades ago are unfair to our businesses. It is perfectly easy to find out where you can use tanks from various ops and where you cannot not. If you want to solo dive coming to The Cayman Islands May not be your best option. Solo diving and where you can or cannot use tanks are two totally different issues but there are no secrets, no mysterious laws etc. Solo diving is not widely accepted by the local dive industry, shore ops clearly state where guests can use tanks for shore dives—at their home reefs. If you want to be able to rent tanks and take them wherever or want to solo dive don’t make this your first choice — it is right out their for all to see.
...Again, who is forbidding solo diving?


Hi Richard,

Other than your trip on the Aggressor, have you been to Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, or Cayman Brac? Sorry I do not remember from your excellent trip reviews. On Grand Cayman, I have finished many of my shore or boats dives solo, whether I was there with a family member or was there alone. Same on Little Cayman, especially when there with my wife, the last quarter of my dive was generally solo. The same was true for boat diving on Brac. As you know, there is solo shore diving available on Brac. I have not been criticized/chastised for my diving style on any of the 3 islands. The Caymans are probably not the place to go for unfettered solo diving, however, there is more flexibility than it would appear if you prove yourself reliable and skilled. Out of interest, did you not finish some of your dives solo on the Aggressor if you were alone or your "buddy" was done?

Very best and good diving, Craig
The only actual laws that I have found are the no gloves rule, which is in the marine conservation law of the Cayman Islands.
Source: (Paragraph 24) and the requirement for each buddy pair to carry a dive flag when diving outside of a marked dive area, and no diving from designated fishing areas or navigation channels, which are part of the Port Authority's laws. Source:

CITA has a bunch of requirements that it requires its members to adhere to: Safe Diving Standards | Cayman Diving, Dive Caribbean | Dive Cayman

There may be requirements in the insurance policies that the dive companies are required to carry as part of their membership of the CITA.

And then there are the things that dive operators choose to make their standards.

Whether or not it is law is rather immaterial to me - some dive ops might claim it is in order to try to put off someone who is doing their best to go against the Dive OP's chosen policies. It may be bending the truth, but if it deals with someone that is being a bit obnoxious then maybe it's worth bending the truth a little. If a dive op isn't wanting to work with you under a certain specific set of conditions, then it really doesn't matter why.

Either way - when you visit a country and ignore the way things are done and insist that things are done your way is the ultimate arrogance, in my book.

But to come back to the broad subject of this topic - with the exception of solo diving and the laws I outlined above, then the Cayman Islands are as restrictive as most other dive destinations. It's quite possible that there are some divers on the fringes who want to go outside those - they need to find somewhere else to go, but for the rest, the place feels safe and free to dive.
Out of interest, did you not finish some of your dives solo on the Aggressor if you were alone or your "buddy" was done?

Way back, '08 I think, 2 dives on a cruise stop there.

From the Aggressor, I generally followed the guide, sort of 'group diving' (sometimes a guy wanted to buddy, which was fine, but in benign conditions I prefer group diving to tight buddy pairs). Yes, at the end of the dive, nobody was policing whether I went up side-by-side with a buddy close at hand.

Whether or not it is law is rather immaterial to me

There is one key factor in law vs. non-law; if something is a law, there's not much point in shopping around for someone else offering the (illegal) service. If it's not a law, just an individual shop policy against something you want to do, it makes sense to shop around. If you know why an issue exists, you can better figure out your options (if any) for what to do about it.

I suspect the solo thing is more likely to come up regarding destinations popular for shore diving, and Grand Cayman is one sometimes listed for that.

The point being that solo diving whether from shore or not is not offered really offered here as freely as in other places and it is not a secret. However the original post is about obscure rules and other ridiculous comments. I would still like to know where and when so we can address the issue or else why were the comments made about things that happened decades ago in the first place.

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