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  West Palm Beach Dive Sites.

Lake Worth Inlet connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Lake Worth lagoon and the Port of Palm Beach. It is directly east of Riviera Beach, Florida, which adjoins to the north the better known city of West Palm Beach. Riviera Beach is the home port of most of the 14 commercial dive boats that run regular service out of the inlet.

The gulfstream makes its closest approach to the US mainland here, and the warm currents make for world class diving all year. The reefs are colorful and highly decorated, and there are several interesting wrecks.

Joyce and Turtle
Joyce swims with a turtle.

Below is a listing of some of those sites. Reef names sometimes vary for the same location, depending on how long the diveboat has been in operation, so I've used Ned DeLoach's "Diving Guide to Underwater Florida", and Ray Mcallister's "Diving Locations" to resolve naming issues.

DGPS coordinates, or alternatively WAAS augmented GPS, are personally gathered, from the bridge of the Running Free. They are checked against other references to prevent errors. When diving them, be sure to add an offset south of the landmark by 60 feet (-.01 minutes of latitude) to allow for the normal north current and about 1 minute descent time. On the unusual days when the current is south running, be sure to correct your drops to the north (add .01 minutes of latitude).

This page is organized north to south. Earlier listed sites are north of the latter listings.

Deep Ledges north of the Inlet.

About 3 miles northeast of the inlet there is a well developed deep ledge system, rising out of the sand just south of Black Rock and running nearly half a mile due north to just beyond Ziegler's Zoo.



Ziegler's Zoo

Latitude:     26 49.17' N
Longitude: 080 00.19' W

Several N/S inside ledges rising from 105' sand on west side to 85 feet on top. My favorite site of the northern deep ledges. Loaded with critters of all sorts, big and small. Fairly broken and barren north of this site, so don't enter here on a north current. A good endpoint for a drift up from the south.

Zeigler's Zoo Green Moray at Ziegler's Zoo


100' Caves

Latitude:     26 48.97' N
Longitude: 080 00.215' W

10-12 foot north/south inside ledge rising from depth of 102 feet, then rounding up to 84 feet on top. Big undercuts, many holes. Bring a light, as it's needed. Small gorgonians, but big schools of grunts, porkfish, and snapper and many tropicals. Jump in here and drift up to Ziegler's Zoo, above.

100' Caves Deep undercuts name this reef


Calloway's Ledge

Latitude:     26 48.82' N
Longitude: 080 00.20' W

Shear rising 12 foot north/south running inside ledge from 102'. Several horizontal ledges and deep undercuts in the most developed area. Loads of critters on top and back under the overhangs. Exit point for drift up from Black Rock.

Calloway's Ledge Divers peer under the ledge


Black Rock

Latitude:     26 48.78' N
Longitude: 080 00.18' W

A namesake big black rock outcrop juts west out of a north/south running inside ledge. 105' to sand with strong ledges up to 88 feet. North of rock is 10' undercut ledge and several smaller ledges. Small undercuts south, trending southwest and ending in sand flat. A difficult to locate lobster honeyhole at the south extremity of this reef.


Black Rock Black Rock


The Corridors (4 Wrecks and 2 Rockpiles)

A mile northeast of the inlet lies a string of wrecks and rubble that always make an interesting dive or two. Beginning to the south, in less than a half mile drift one can pass the wreck of the Mitzpah, the wreck of a PC boat, a rock pile, the wreck of the Amaryllis, another rockpile, a sunken barge, and a concrete debris field. Due to currents, depth, and the corroding of the wrecks, this can be an advanced dive.


Amaryllis

Latitude:     26 47.29' N
Longitude: 080 00.97' W

This 440' Liberty ship was blown ashore north of the inlet by a storm . It was cut apart and towed to the present site in 85 depth to the sand. Upright in a north/south orientation with about 20' of relief. Very twisted metal parts, with lots of fish and lobster hiding places. Take a lot of care around the sharp metal hull pieces. Further north and slightly east is the remains of a sunken barge, and then a long field of concrete debris across a sandy bottom


Amaryllis The wreck of the Amaryllis


PC1170 and the Rock Pile

Between the Mitzpah and the Amaryllis lie the remains of PC1170, also referred to as PC1174 in some references. Whatever its number, it's mostly gone. The rockpile remains, full of fish, and both occupy an otherwise empty bottom on the drift up to the Amaryllis from the Mitzpah.



Mitzpah

Latitude:     26 47.16' N
Longitude: 080 00.98' W

The 185' Mizpah, an old Greek luxury liner, lies upright in a north/south orientation. Depth is 86 feet to sand and 65' to the deck. All doors are removed and the wreck cleaned up for diving before being sunk. It houses big barracuda, huge schools of fish, and had two big green morays the last time I was there. The Mizpah is in a no collect zone to divers, so no fishing or lobstering.



Mitzpah The wreck of the Mitzpah

Other Wrecks North of the Inlet

Princess Anne Ferry

Latitude:     26 47.60' N
Longitude: 080 00.22' W

The biggest and toughest wreck dive in the Palm Beach area in the non-technical class. A 350' car ferry, 60 feet wide and 60 feet high, was sunk for diving in 100 feet depths in 1993. Lies north/south and has been broken apart by storms. About 60' relief in several parts. There are always lots of fish. There is usually a swift current, and is in a state of collapse, so DANGEROUS to penetrate! Several divers have died in it's interior.



Princess Anne Princess Anne Ferry


Colson's Barge

Latitude:     26 47.96' N
Longitude: 080 00.63' W

Broken barge lies north/south upright in 75' with a small rock reef slightly to the west. Wreckage has 8' - 10' relief on the north end with many holes in its top and sides. It is broken down on the south end. As this is the only relief in the vicinity, there are always lots of fish, and several hard to reach lobster.

Colson's Barge Colson's Barge


Undercut Ledge

Latitude:     26 47.56' N
Longitude: 080 00.77' W

North/south inside 6' deeply undercut ledge, starts at 75',
then broken rock rising to 65'. Reef wanders randomly over 50 yard extent. Excellent sea life.

Site of Wade's runaway scooter adventure.

Undercut Ledge Undercut Ledge


Sites south of the inlet

Other than the wrecks above, the commercial dive boats tend to vist the reefs south of the inlet. They are shallower, permitting longer bottom times, and are more numerous, allowing easy runs to the 2nd dive. If you're visiting the area and diving, you'll likely be on these sites.


South Double Ledges

Latitude:     26 44.45' N
Longitude: 080 00.84' W

A north/south running double edge reef. The first ledge is 5 - 6 feet of relief starting at the sand in 85', then an upslope east to another ledge about 6 - 8 feet high. Edge relief better as you drift north. Slightly deeper than the reefs further south, but much to see under the two ledges. Lots of every sort of life, coral and fish, big and small, including a couple of nurse sharks who live here.



South Double Ledges South Double Ledges


The Breakers Reef Sites

The Breakers Reef system runs for nearly 2 miles off the beach front hotel that gives it the name. It's the most heavily dived reef in the area for the reason that it's be best in the area. Every form of native sea life resides here, and in great numbers. The next 5 sites represent good starting points to explore it. I think it'd take a year of diving to see it all in detail.



Breakers Shallow

Latitude:     26 43.05' N
Longitude: 080 01.79' W

An inside ledge 30 feet in the sand with fingers and undercuts. Rises 8-10 feet in places to 20 feet on top.
No current, plenty of juvenile tropicals and many invertebrates. This site frequently used by instructors to give students their first saltwater dives, and frequented by private boats. One of the few places in the Riviera Beach area where the 30 foot reefline is well developed.

Breakers Breakers Shallow


King Neptune

Latitude:     26 42.93' N
Longitude: 080 01.09' W

North/south running ledge in 60 feet of water at the sand, 49 feet on top. The statue is now gone. For many years, the 7 foot badly eroded statue of King Neptune stood in sandy break in the reef. The reef edge is about 12' of vertical relief north of statue's former location, with an enormous undercut nearby. Lush coral and sponge growth, and an enormous fish count. A beautiful dive. Just north, a westerly finger points toward Turtle Mound, just across the sand.


King Neptune King Neptune Statue


Fourth Window

Latitude:     26 42.680' N
Longitude: 080 00.980' W

Named for it's landmark of putting the black chimney in line with the 4th window on the north section of the Breaker's Hotel, this N/S running ledge is the most regularly dived by the commercial boats. The ledge is easy to find and follow in either direction. It varies in height from 5 - 10 feet with depths of 66' to the sand, about 55' on top. Lots of undercuts where nurse sharks and morays hangout. Lots of growth and plenty of fish.


Fourth Window Fourth Window


Outfall Trench

Latitude:     26 42.31' N
Longitude: 080 01.00' W

This 30' wide trench was cut through the reef for a transatlantic cable. It transects the reef with shear east/west cuts, beginning in the sand in the west, crossing the reef and ending in the sand to the east. Debris from the trench is piled on both sides. Depths are 60' to the sand to the west, 50' on top, and 80' on the deep side to the east. This break in the reef is full of of sea life, and by ducking below the top you can escape the northward current and explore.


Sponges Outfall Trench


Breakers South

Latitude:     26 42.18' N
Longitude: 080 01.01' W

Broken patchy inside reef with not much definition to the edge. Over 200 yards across at widest point. Patches of sand throughout the reef, many small ledges and undercuts. Good lobster territory, as many hiding places. Many individual ecosystems as tropicals find lots of hiding places. Depth 49 feet on top sloping to about 60. Not a favorite of mine, as too many better sites in this area, but common with new operators as it's easy to hit the drop.


Breakers South Breakers South


Flower Gardens

Latitude:     26 41.83' N
Longitude: 080 00.99' W

An outside edge, with several fingers extending seaward.
Depths about 52 feet on top of the fingers, 70 feet in sand between. Edges on both sides and west end of the fingers. In bright sunshine, perhaps the most colorful reef in the area. Profuse sponge and coral growth, and clouds of grunts so large fellow divers cannot be seen on the other side of the school. All the common reef fish in abundance.


Flower Gardens Flower Gardens


Bath & Tennis

Latitude:     26 41.12' N
Longitude: 080 01.11' W

An oblong island shaped reef, about 1/4 mile long and about half that width. Depths are 43 feet on top, 65 to the sand on the edges. No strongly defined edges, but lots of long ridges and broken edges, so good lobster and many individual schools of fish in their own neighborhood. This reef is as pretty on top as along the sides. Another reef with a blaze of color in bright sunlight.


Bath & Tennis Bath & Tennis