Diving in Florida

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  Ocean Diving.

Ocean diving goes on all year around in southeast Florida and the Keys. From West Palm Beach south, water temperatures get as high as 84F in the summer months, and drops only to the low 70F's in winter. Visibility is typically 40-50 feet, and occasionally will be 100 feet or more. Turtles, lobsters, moray eels, jacks, barracuda, grouper and nurse sharks are sighted on nearly every dive. Large schools of grunts and snappers, and tropical fish of all sizes, make for an uncountable number of inhabitants on the coral reefs. Add colorful sponges and sea fans to the mix and it's hard to beat.

Green Moray Green Moray at Boynton Ledges
Reefs, Wrecks, Reefs.

The Atlantic coast of Florida has 3 reeflines with some degree of developement at sport diving depths. Linked to sea levels during the ice ages, they lie in depths of 20-35 feet, 45-70 feet, and 100-125 feet.
In the Riviera and Boynton Beach areas, it's the the current washed 45-70' reefline that is best developed, while in the Keys the sunny, shallow 20-35' spur and groove formations are best. Along the coast there are hundreds of wrecks, both recent and ancient, to add to the diving venue. In Ft Lauderdale and Miami particularly, where the reeflines are not as well developed as to the north or south, the dive community has added many additional wrecks to fill the void.

Drift Diving North, Anchoring to the South

The coastline juts out almost into the gulfstream at Palm Beach, so there is normally a northward flowing current on the reefs off Riviera and Boynton Beaches. Current always means lots of fish, lush coral, and pelagics attracted to the hors d'oeuvres tray drifting by. It also means drift diving, the easiest form of diving there is. Rather than anchor the boat, forcing the divers to swim against a noticeable current, the divers form groups, with one towing a floating flag attached to a line. The remainder of the dive group keeps the flagline or its carrier in view until the dive is over. See Diving Styles on the Diving menu page further details on all aspects of drift diving.

Farther south, from Ft Lauderdale to the Keys, current is usually mild, so the diveboats anchor or tie to a buoy when doing reef or wreck diving. This obligates the divers to find the boat at the end of the dive, so good navigation skills and/or surfacing mid-dive to re-orient become necessary.

Whatever the diver's level of ability, from beginner to advanced, and whatever the interest, be it reef, wreck, or night, it can be found year around in Florida from West Palm Beach south to the Keys.