South Florida SCUBA Diving Attractions

South Florida SCUBA Diving Attractions
Florida's warm coastal waters allow for a nearly year-round diving season, and the waters off South Florida are rich with SCUBA diving and snorkeling attractions that appeal to beginning and advanced divers alike. Divers can choose between shallow, vibrant coral reef dive sites and deeper shipwrecks, both close to shore and off the beaten path. Divers can dive from their own boats as long as they indicate their presence with a common dive flag and buoy. Divers without their own boats can use South Florida's dive outfitters for gear rentals and diving trips. All divers must have open water certification.

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

Key Largo's John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, the nation's first underwater park, provides a sanctuary for coral and reef life. The park staff conducts research and scientific studies and educates the public about the impact humans have on coral reefs. The park has a variety of sport diving sites, and the staff strives to educate divers about proper behavior and protection of coral reefs. The coral reef begins about three miles from shore, and most popular sites are within five miles of shore. Dive sites include a variety of shallow reefs (often only 30 to 40 feet deep), and deeper wreck sites (70 to 100 feet) including a WWII freighter wreck and ships sunk in the past few decades to create artificial reefs for coral life.

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
102601 Overseas Hwy
Key Largo FL 33037
(305) 451-6300

West Palm Beach Dive Sites

The waters off West Palm Beach are home to reefs packed with colorful fish and loggerhead turtles. The Gulf Stream creates comfortably warm water year-round and ideal drift diving conditions. Popular dive sites include Black Rock, The Zoo, The Corridors, East and West Ledge, Flower Gardens, The Trench, Bath & Tennis and Breakers Reef. Many of these sites are named after nearby landmarks visible from the water, such as the Breakers Hotel and the Bath and Tennis Club. All of these reefs are within two miles of the coast, and are shallow enough for beginning divers (usually less than 60 feet). You can dive these sites from your boat or go on a trip with a local dive shop such as Narcosis Dive Charters based at the nearby Riviera Beach Marina.

Dive Boat Narcosis
Riviera Beach Marina Slip #521
200 East 13th Street
Riviera Beach, FL 33404
(866) 627-2674

Dry Tortugas National Park

The Dry Tortugas islands, located about 70 miles west of Key West, are home to Dry Tortugas National Park and numerous dive sites. Divers can explore coral reefs and over 15 shipwrecks, often in visibility as high as 80 to 100 feet. Divers commonly see schools of large jewfish at the wrecks. The islands have no accommodations or facilities, so visitors must either camp or book live-aboard dive cruises. The out-of-the-way location of these islands ensures that they remain relatively uncrowded. Popular dive sites include the French Wreck, Juanita's Reef, Texas Rocks and Oasis. Depths of reef and wreck sites vary from 40 feet to over 100 feet deep.

Dry Tortugas National Park
P.O. Box 6208
Key West, FL 33041
(305) 242-7700

Article Written By Lisa Porter

Lisa Porter began writing professionally in 2009. She writes for various websites and has a Bachelor of Arts in English literature.

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