With its Mediterranean and Red Sea coastlines, Israel offers a range of unique places for diving where you can find fascinating maritime creatures as well as sunken ships and boats, submerged relics of antiquity and ancient underwater sites. Israel is one of the few countries in the world with a diving law that requires all divers to have a special life insurance policy designed for divers. Although most of Israel’s beaches lie along the Mediterranean Sea, the majority of scuba diving clubs are located in Eilat along the shores of the Red Sea. For your benefit, we have listed here a number of recommended dive sites, although you can obtain further information from the book, Underwater: 44 Dive Sites in Israel. This is the only guide to dive sites in Israel and it includes 28 Mediterranean and 16 Red Sea sites, as well as special underwater maps, snorkel routes, names of diving clubs, shops, websites, etc.
One of the most beautiful areas for diving is Rosh Hanikra. Israel does not have many underwater caves and Rosh Hanikra with its underwater caves therefore offers a unique experience for divers. In this area, you can dive to a maximum depth of only seven meters; however, the penetration of light into the underwater caves and grottos, the passageways between the caves and the link with the Mediterranean create a phenomenal diving experience. If you are looking for a diving experience connected with Israeli history, you should visit the moshav (semi-rural agricultural settlement) of Shavei Tzion where you can see INS (Israel Navy Ship) Kidon (Hebrew for “javelin”), a missile boat that was deliberately sunk in 1999 in order to serve as a memorial for the 12 Israel Navy Seals who were killed in the Flotilla Disaster in Lebanon in September 1997 while on a secret mission. On the deck of the ship 12 chairs have been installed; each bears the name of one of the fallen Seals.
In Israel’s lowland region you can visit the Dor Beach, one of the country’s loveliest. This is the site of an ancient Phoenician port and the diving here is truly a thrill because of the many pools and underwater nooks and caves that are the breeding grounds for a variety of maritime creatures. Not far from there is the dive site of the ancient port of Caesarea. While ancient Caesarea itself is breathtakingly lovely, its ancient underwater site offers a very different kind of experience. At this dive site you will find an ancient port that was built 2,000 years ago by King Herod. The site is magnificent in its dimensions and scope and includes ancient anchors, antique relics and marble pillars. In the nearby diving shop you can obtain underwater maps that will make it easier for you to probe this site.In the Ashkelon area, you can enjoy deep dives, plunging to a depth of up to 35 meters and visiting two sunken ships – Hogla and Sea Guard. The latter’s bridge is open on both sides and thus allows an easy passage for divers into the helm. The passage between these two sunken vessels is also very impressive.
On the shores of the Red Sea, you will find an almost endless list of recommended diving spots. One of the most exciting is Dubak’s Pyramid, a coral reef that is located at a depth of 32 meters on a sandy surface and which soars to a height of 12 meters. What is unique about Dubak’s Pyramid is the fact that it is an artificial coral reef that has become a success story thanks to the various forms of maritime life that have developed around it: corals, many colorful sponges, and fish of all shapes and in a rainbow of colors. The pyramid’s unique design allows easy passage for divers. An additional dive site in the Eilat area that should be mentioned here is the Dolphin Reef where you can dive and meet dolphins in their natural habitat.