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News for Laguna Beach solo divers.

Discussion in 'SoCal' started by Robert Phillips, Feb 7, 2006.

  1. pasley

    pasley Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Lakewood, CA
    Not an attorney and I don't play one on TV either. But I was always led to believe it is not what the trial court say that counts, it is what the appelate and State or Federal Supreme court says that makes case law.

    For the record it is a misdemeanor accourding to Laguna Beach Municipal Code 18.21.060 Penalty for violations.

    Laguna Beach MunicipalCode:http://municipalcodes.lexisnexis.com/codes/lagunab/

    18.21.030 Hazardous skin diving and scuba diving--Discontinuance orders authorized.

    (a) Hazard to Others or Self. No person shall participate in any skin diving or scuba diving activity at any time in the Pacific Ocean within the city in a manner that constitutes a hazard to any other person or to themselves.

    (b) Authorized Order to Discontinue Skin Diving or Scuba Diving. The city manager, marine safety chief, police chief or their authorized designees, or any officer or employee designated by the city manager to enforce surfing regulations and control skin diving and scuba diving activities, may prohibit skin diving and scuba diving at any time diving conditions become hazardous as a result of storm, congestion of persons, lack of proper equipment (such equipment to include mask, fins, snorkel, buoyancy compensator and diving partner) or other conditions which cause a present danger to the persons skin diving or scuba diving or to others. No person shall fail, refuse or neglect to stop skin diving or scuba diving activities or to leave the water when ordered to do so by any such employee of the city. (Ord. 1369 § 7, 2000; Ord. 1157 § 1, 1988: Ord. 506 (part), 1962).

    18.21.060 Penalty for violations.

    The violation of any of the provisions of this chapter is punishable as a misdemeanor. (Ord. 506 (part), 1962).

    From reading the above, it would appear the judge just might be on to somthing. It is not the acutal diving, but the failure to obey the order to stop.
  2. Mo2vation

    Mo2vation Relocated to South Florida.... ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: 33472
    Only in OCal... Citing for assistance, closing a public beach in the middle of a calm day to divers.... puh-leese.

    I've been to OCal 4 times - each time the diving has ranged from very poor to just plain lousy.

    I've been to MarineLand twice - both times ruled. There is simply no comparison between Laguna on its best day and MarineLand on an average day. There just isn't.

    Even Malibu (pick any site in Malibu) kills any dive in OCal. I'd take a night dive at humble Vets (and see 50 octo's, a zillion crab of all sizes, squid, fish and some Nudis) over the daytime 2' viz surgefest that is Laguna 250 days a year (uh, when its actually open to dive...)

    As to my authority on beach diving, I'm surely not a pro. But 2005 was the first year that Shore diving out numbered boat dives for me. I realize I only did about 170 dives last year (doing 2 - 3 beach dives a week) - so I'm no expert.

    But I have become quite familiar with many, many of the sites from north Malibu to North Orange County - and LA County diving just kills OCal diving. Given the choice, I'd take a lifeguardless, snorkle policeless, free parking (or quarter parking at worst), short walking, mellow hill climbing, easy entering, eye popping SoCal beach dive any day.

    Snorkle Police. That still makes me snicker...

  3. drbill

    drbill The Lorax for the Kelp Forest Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Santa Catalina Island, CA
    Boy am I glad I don't live and die (oops, I meant dive) in Orange County. If Avalon had such an ordinance, I'd be getting all my meals free in the local jail.

    Were I to dive Laguna again (last time was 1969), I would do so with a buddy anyway since I'm no longer familiar with the dive sites. But being "forced" to by ordinance? I thought Laguna Beach was a liberal enclave, not neocon territory. And I don't dive with snorkels since they get in the way of my filming. Sheez... give me liberty or give me a citation.
  4. Robert Phillips

    Robert Phillips Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: OC, California
    Again, as Melvin posted to the words of the ordinance, you must be warned beforehand in order to be in violation.
    After my friend received his ticket he got a letter in the mail advising him of the lessening of the penalty to an infraction (like a parking ticket) so nothing went on his record.

    An Ken, BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH! Pipe down Jr.!:D

    Tell that to my buddy (same as above) who dived with two Grey Whales on Sunday at Brooks St. in 30'+ visibility. Close enough to reach out and touch. Or how about the times I've seen GSB as big as a Mini Cooper.:D

    Give it a rest! I know for a fact that you hit Laguna in very bad conditions on at least two of the four times you dived there. The Montage is a great site if you know where to go. But conditions need to be good. There is tons of great reef structure within easy reach but if you don't know where it's at you end up having a very boring dive. And the can light flooding incident was just a bad diving day and bad conditions all around. I find Heisler park rather boring anyway, but I have only dived there four times.

    Don't bag the whole place because you had some rough dives. Have you had rough dives anywhere in LA, ever?:D Want to toss the whole thing in the can? Try diving Marineland when you have a 270 degree swell and tell me how you liked it:D Bad dives at Cat Island? Toss it in the can too!:06: My point is, you can't blame the site if the weather doesn't cooperate.

    For the record, I have been approached by lifeguards less than half a dizen times in the 120+ dives I've done there. Always after a dive. Mostly they were just curious as to how conditions were. Some young bucks might ask about dive time and remaining and such, but for the most part there has not been any hassle. In the winter you will rarely see lifeguards anyway. Then only to close the beaches due to what they consider unsafe conditions, a judgement which is always going to be based on the lowest common denominator.

    Next time LA is getting hit with a NW swell, give me a call and I'll take you out to Deadmans and show you a great dive site that you will want to come back to again an again. Oh, and I'll see you next month on the Pac Star!
  5. MaxBottomtime

    MaxBottomtime Divemaster

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Torrance, CA
    What they said. :)
    I have had some great dives in Laguna, but the minuses do outweigh the plusses.


    If you want to see Moray eels, Laguna is a sure thing compared to LA and SD county beaches. That being said, the Beach Nazis (Lifeguards) do get annoying. I was sweating pounds off in my wetsuit one Summer day waiting for my then wife to get her gear together. I tried to walk into the water to cool off, but a lifeguard refused to let me in. I tried to explain to her that my wife was right at the top of the stairs and I wasn't going to go diving yet, just wanted to cool off. She made me remove all my gear before getting in the water. It's a constant game of cat and mouse just to make a dive unless you have a buddy and snorkel in your pocket.
    There is also the parking issue and mountain of sand in your gear after each dive. I get the itch to dive Laguna once in awhile, but I feel fortunate to have the abundant life of Marineland close by.
  6. Robert Phillips

    Robert Phillips Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: OC, California
    Only in the Summertime my friend, only in the summertime!

    That depends on where you go and when you get there (or who you know to give you directions) and in the winter we have less dirt divers from the IE to contend with:D

    I guess the lack of beachgoers on your cobble and rock beaches is kind of a nice thing along with the lack of sand, but it sure doesn't feel the same when you have to crawl out on your hands and knees for whatever reason. Is sand really that big a deal?

    I saw an eel, 3 octos a hopkins rose, lobsterand a reefmaster sized Sheephead on Sunday. I have come accross over half a dozen Trapania Velox on one sponge on a dive at Crescent a few years ago.

    Wow, this whole thread changed into an LA vs. OC fight just because we have some crazy law form the 60's in Laguna that allows lifeguards to close the beaches of Laguna.

    Hey Ken, save this picture for later:
  7. DiverBuoy

    DiverBuoy Instructor, Scuba

    If you want to get past the Laguna scuba police regarding the snorkel all you need is a pocket foldable style snorkel you don't even have to take it out of the packing to avoid trouble. I do not advocate this as I love diving with a snorkel, I really do use it all the time, and like it handy, available, and attached to my mask.

    The Laguna ordinances are a bit odd, as quoted above. There are also some local residency "cooperatives" that are posted, I like to think of them as "moral" codes.

    However, as other stories posted on this board have borne out, judges often toss these if they go all the way to court. But unfortunately as already pointed out a few cases does not insure some sort of legal precedence being established such that all future violators will be free of penalty.

    Edit: Here is the Laguna Beach Etiquette Sign:
  8. Diver_Jan

    Diver_Jan Solo Diver

    Ok Ken, I have dove LA numerous times (more than 4) some good, more bad; I have dove Laguna hundreds of times.

    Guess we need to dive with each other: you show me LA's best, I will show you OC's best!

    Hmmm...you talk about a non-hike and easy access....Old Marineland is neither! LOL

    I will show you Eels, baby black sea bass, sea lions, harbor seals, occassional dolphins...perhaps gray whales (they have been in Laguna the past two weekends!); a vast variety of nudibranchs; numerous Octo's; giant Bat Rays, Thornback Rays, Sting Rays; Guitar Fish; C-O Sole; halibut; Bugs by the hundreds; horn sharks; leopard sharks; and even Finescale Triggerfish (I have spotted 4 so far!); Treefish, large Sheephead; Sheep Crabs; Elbow Crabs; Ghost Shrimp; Coon Striped Shrimp; Sea Pansy's; Sea Pens; vast variety of stars and urchins; ect, ect, ect. Best of all, you don't need 20 foot of viz to see all of this, not even 10!

    Mental? Perhaps....It's my passion for diving!:wink:
  9. Robert Phillips

    Robert Phillips Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: OC, California
    Of the 160+ dives I have done (still a rookie) I have never used a snorkel while DIVING:D I have never seen anyone use a snorkel while DIVING and I doubt I ever will.

    Snorkeling, on the other hand, is a different story!eyebrow
  10. DiverBuoy

    DiverBuoy Instructor, Scuba

    You must be joking right? Where do you dive in Laguna? I must have counted 481 of them in one morning last week :) Just in case you don't know what you are looking for, its a candy cane shaped plastic tube you breath through <g>.

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