Karen has been a certified diver since 1984. In college she flip-flopped between marine biology and theater arts majors. Life went in the direction of acting professionally but a passion for learning about life in the seas never waned. Karen has been volunteering as a diver at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach since 2002. There she started training as a scientific diver, became certified by the AAUS and joined many research projects. She started to work on some local boats and to DM for aquarium and scientific dives and to assist with some training. Now an instructor Karen is able share her passion for the oceans in the best way yet: training new divers and taking divers on their continuing education and being a part of their growth, confidence and enthusiasm.

Having traveled all over and done some thrilling diving in places including Fiji, Cocos, Socorro, Sea of Cortez, Indian Ocean (The Seychelles), Karen always loves coming home to the incomparable waters of Southern California Pacific and the beautiful Channel Islands! It is a pleasure and a constant adventure to be able to contribute to people's love and understanding of the ocean at the aquarium, to contribute to conservation and research with scientific diving, to be able to help guide new divers as an instructor! "The look on someones face when they dive and see underwater world for the first time never gets old," Karen said.

Karen is also an enthusiastic underwater photographer and has worked as dive safety on films. Still a professional actor (Karen can be seen in national commercials, recently Off-Broadway in New York and in award winning indi films) she is a true believer that you really can do it all and doing what you love is what it’s all about! Karen is committed to opening up what has traditionally being a male dominated sport to the unique energy of women and creating space for women to explore and grow both in the industry and in the adventure.

Karen's latest Awards: AAUSD Scientific Diver Karen's Student Said: "I just finished my open water certification course with Karen Praxel. Karen is a great instructor and really takes the time to answer any questions and is very patient, which is a good thing when you have a ton of questions and anxiety about your first dives! What I really appreciated about learning under Karen is being able to see her passion for diving and teaching others the wonders of diving and sharing her passion for it…her passion is contagious, so watch out! Karen is so full of information about diving, safety, procedures, and ocean life, it’s ridiculous. Thank you Karen for showing me (cue the bad cliché) a whole new world!," Daniel Warner.

Specialities & Credentials

  • PADI Instructor
  • SAG Member
  • AAUS Scientific Diver
  • Underwater Photographer