Lake Tahoe is growing as a destination hotspot for high-altitude diving.
Each year more than one million Americans become certified divers, according to www.scuba.com. And there is no better place to explore clear waters, immense granite cliffs, various shipwrecks and aquatic life than in Lake Tahoe, area dive instructors say.
"Tahoe's got a great range of diving, different experiences," said Joe Tartaglia, an instructor with the Sierra Dive Center in Reno. "(Tahoe) caters well to our needs. We can take new students and those advanced with a bunch of dives under their belt."
Sierra Dive Center is one of a handful of shops between Reno, Sacramento and Carson City that gear divers up for a venture into the lake. Most of the shops also offer certification classes and guided tours, as well as advanced courses in high-altitude diving.
Diving in the mountains is unique and exciting in that it has additional rules and regulations. For example, a dive off Sand Harbor with an actual depth of 20 feet is really like a 56 foot dive. Depth accordances are made based on temperatures below 70 degrees and at altitudes above 1,000 feet.
"It seems like more people are calling about diving in Tahoe because they've heard of it and the high-altitude," said instructor Jerry Clark with Strictly Scuba in Carson City. "Also, I understand in Emerald Bay there are two sunken barges to explore."
Lake Tahoe offers the beginning or advanced diver with unique and challenging underwater opportunities. The surrounding dive centers provide all the resources necessary to have a safe and exciting adventure exploring one of the world's most beautiful alpine lakes.
"We like Tahoe because the water temperature in the summer is in the 60s and the visibility is very nice here. (There is) 20 to 30 feet of visibility so it's much clearer," said Rick Rowett, the store's general manager and course instructor. "We love it up there."