Wreck Diving In Florida

Yellow Snapper on Benwood Wreck, Key Largo [© CC BY-SA 2.0 Matt Kieffer https://www.flickr.com/photos/mattkieffer/]
Yellow Snapper on Benwood Wreck, Key Largo [© CC BY-SA 2.0 Matt Kieffer https://www.flickr.com/photos/mattkieffer/]

The combination of year round good weather, warm and clear waters makes Florida an ideal destination for recreational and sports wreck diving.

For example, the average water temperature around the Florida Keys in 77 degrees F. Depending on the time of year, you can dive in anything from skin to a 7mm fullsuit. Visibility can be anything from 10 to 100 feet.

Wrecks also attract a lot of fish so they make great fishing sites but check whether fishing is allowed and always respect divers in the water.

There have been several books published on Florida wreck diving sites including "Shipwrecks of Florida", a book by Steven D. Singer which lists over 2,000 wreck sites in Florida.

As well as numerous ships, both large and small, which have come to grief around Florida's coastline over the centuries, in recent years a number of ships including some very large US Navy vessels have been deliberately sunk to provide artificial reefs and recreational wreck diving sites. In fact, Florida currently boasts the world's three largest artificial reefs.

In addition to these recent deliberate sinkings, there are many other wrecks off the Florida coast from fabled Spanish treasure galleons and a German U boat to more mundane modern day cargo ships and pleasure craft.

You will even find abandoned oil platforms, US Army tanks, various military aircraft and a Boeing 727 commercial airliner off the coast of Florida

With so many wrecks, there are sites to suit all abilities from shallow snorkelling to serious 300 foot dives for the very experienced.

Top Florida Dive Sites

One of the best known sites is the Christ of the Deep statue at Key Largo Dry Rocks and the USS Spiegel Grove is reckoned to be one of the best dives in Florida.

Florida Underwater State Parks and Archaeological Preserves

Florida has two Underwater State Parks and eleven Underwater Archaeological Preserves which are open all year round. Each Underwater Archaeological Preserve features a historic wreck, many of which are close to the beach.

Florida Dive Training

Florida is a great place to learn to dive and to get new qualifications.

Many companies today offer online eLearning courses including PADI and Advanced Open Water courses so you can start your training before you even get to Florida.

Typical Florida Diving Prices

There are many companies offering diving trips and you can expect to pay around $50 to $70 for a half day two dive trip.

You will be able to hire tanks, fins, wet suits, weights, belts, dive computers and snorkel gear. If you are Enriched Air certified, then nitrox is usually available.

For your own peace of mind, check that the operator complies with US Coast Guard safety standards.

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