Apple Watch Ultra Now Works As A Dive Watch

Just a few decades ago, many certified scuba divers still wrote their dive tables with pen and paper. The handwritten algorithms tracked depth and time, ensuring these underwater explorers knew how to dive — and surface — safely.

The advent of dive computers in the late 1980s made that math unnecessary, and soon a majority of the world’s divers had the “unattractive, chunky, grey housing” strapped to their wrists, Dive Magazine wrote.

Now, divers can get all that functionality from the Apple Watch Ultra.

On Nov. 28, Apple released the Oceanic+ app, and claims that it turns the tech company’s powerful watch into a “fully capable, easy-to-use dive computer,” the news release said.

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Paired with the Oceanic+ app, the Apple Watch Ultra becomes a functional dive computer, the company said. Photo: Apple


Apple collaborated with Huish Outdoors to design the app for its new watch, which dropped this year. The Apple Watch Ultra already comes with depth gauge and water temperature sensors, and remains water-resistant down to 40 metres.

By pairing it with the Oceanic+ app, users get advanced features, like dive planning and a comprehensive post-dive experience.

“There’s now a companion that communicates clear and timely information to divers,” Andrea Silvestri, Huish Outdoors’ vice president of product development and design, said in the news release.

Silvestri, who led the creation of the Oceanic+ app, said “there’s never been anything like this in scuba diving before now.”

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The Apple Watch Ultra must be paired with an iPhone 8 or newer model. Photos: Apple


Oceanic+ App design and features

After lengthy testing, Silvestri said that the Apple Watch Ultra feels as intuitive as a dive computer. It makes it easier to focus on the experience instead of complicated button clicks or mental math.

Apple Watch Ultra is certified to WR100 and EN 13319, an internationally recognized standard for dive accessories, including depth gauges, the company said. Apple also specified that its display stays bright and visible in the water.

Wearers can customize the watch’s Action button to launch the Oceanic+ app into the pre-dive screen. During a dive, pressing the Action button will mark a compass bearing. In the app’s dive planner, users can set surface time, depth, and gas. Then the app calculates their No Deco (no-decompression) time — a metric used to determine a time limit for a diver at a certain depth.

A laundry list of functions continues from there. According to Apple, the dive planner presents dive conditions, like tides and water temperature. It also gives up-to-date information from external sources, including visibility and currents. Once finished diving, users can check out a collection of data about their experience, from a map with GPS entry and exit locations to other graphs about depth and temperature changes.

Silvestri pointed to the app’s haptic feedback, which uses vibration to “tap” users on the wrist to deliver notifications.

‘We’ve made the experience very personal,” he said. “It’s like a gentle nudge to guide you.”

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Diving info shown on the Apple Watch Ultra with the Oceanic+ app. Photos: Apple


Oceanic+ App: pricing and availability

Interesting in trying out the app? It’s available for download on the App Store.

However, you’ll first need an $800 Apple Watch Ultra, if you don’t have one already. It also needs to run on watchOS 9.1 paired with certain iPhones (no older than iPhone 8, for example).

Basic app functions, like depth and time, come free. But for the serious ones — decompression tracking, tissue loading, the location planner, and an unlimited logbook capacity — you’ll need to pay a subscription.

That will cost you $10 USD per month, or annually for $80 per year.

Andrew McLemore

An award-winning journalist and photographer, Andrew McLemore brings more than 14 years of experience to his position as Associate News Editor for Lola Digital Media. Andrew is also a musician, climber and traveler who currently lives in Medellin, Colombia. When he’s not writing, playing gigs or exploring the outdoors, he’s hanging out with his dog Campana.