Ft. Lauderdale/Broward County Dive Site:
Greater Fort Lauderdale is home to many choices of prime dive sites and marine life. From Deerfield Beach to Hallandale Beach, a unique natural 3-tiered reef system begins in 20 feet of water just 100 yards from shore at its closest point. There are more than 75 artificial reefs and 100 dive sites on the ocean's floor with splendors of fish and reef life. Some of the most beautiful beaches in Florida can be found in Fort Lauderdale, and throngs of visitors crowd the shores during the winter months to enjoy the sunny weather and gorgeous blue waters. A unique marine attraction here is the coral reef located off the coast of Fort Lauderdale; its close proximity to shore is unusual, and it allows swimmers to paddle out to a diverse marine ecosystem from the sand rather than take a boat several miles off-shore. If you are unsure about which activities to include on your vacation itinerary, consider Fort Lauderdale diving—it will surely add excitement and adventure to your already delightful plans.
Fort Lauderdale scuba diving is one of the most popular activities along the coast, and it is fairly
simple to get to the best diving locations without booking passage on a boat. With one natural reef and more than 70 man-made reefs located in several places throughout the area, there are many opportunities to dive in Fort Lauderdale. The natural coral reef is located only 100 yards off the shore of the charming community of Lauderdale by the Sea, and it is home to a great deal of diverse marine wildlife. The artificial reefs were installed to promote the growth of coral and other animals that thrive in reefs. Other great Fort Lauderdale diving places are offshore shipwrecks where many underwater flora and fauna have made a home. Considering where to dive in Fort Lauderdale can be a challenge as there are so many places bursting with life and exciting opportunities, but each place offers a unique experience and is certainly worth a trip.
Captain Dan Wreck:
This ship was a Coast Guard buoy tender Hollyhock. It was sunk as an artificial reef February, 20 1990 in memory of Captain Dan Garnsey. She now lies upright in 110 feet. The wheelhouse is 70 feet and her deck is at 90 feet. She is intact with large access holes providing certified wreck divers easy opportunity for penetration.
The Nemesis is located almost a mile offshore inside the third reef line. A former Coast Guard Cutter, the Nemesis served as a sub chaser during WW II. After the war, she returned to Coast Guard service until her decommission. In 1979, a local business bought the vessel and converted into a floating restaurant and bar called the Ancient Mariner. She was sunk as an artificial reef in June 9, 1991 as part of the Broward Reef program. The 165-foot Cutter rest in 70 feet of water. A steel-hulled work boat named the C-Note sits 60 feet west of her bow.
Located approximately 1/2 mile directly east of John U. Lloyd state park most easily reached by kayak or boat. You will see over 20 mooring buoys marking the spot. Barracuda reef is a ledge 35 feet deep at the bottom and 20 feet deep on the top of the reef. You will see lots of coral, fish and sometimes an eel or two hidden under the ledges.
The Caves - A shallow series of ledges located about 1/2 mile east of Beach Place on Ft. Lauderdale beach. It can be reached by kayak from both the south Ft. Lauderdale beach kayak launch and the launch point north of the 14th lifeguard tower on Ft. Lauderdale beach. A system of moorings mark a series of broken ledges varying in depth from 20 to 30 feet. Many undercuts and small caves for fish to hide in.
The Bill Boyd is a deep dive only for Technical divers. The coral and fish of the wreck are great. Depth limits the bottom time, but it's worth diving this deep.
She is a 211 foot German freighter (built in Hamburg in 1964) that was sunk as an artificial reef on July 18, 1986. Today she sits upright in 265 feet of water.
"The 325-foot single screw steamer Copenhagen was built in 1898 just two years before she ran aground on the rock ledge out from Pompano. She was caring a cargo of coal to Havana at the time of mishap. This is one of Florida's favorite historical shipwreck dives. On May 20 1900, the vessel had departed Philadelphia, laden with almost 5,000 tons of coal and a crew of 26, bound for Havana, Cuba. As the vessel passed the lighthouse, Captain William Jones estimated the ship's position as about one and three- quarter miles offshore and ordered a change in course to SSE to keep the ship at least a mile and a half offshore as it past by West Palm Beach. At around 4:20 am, Captain Jones retired, leaving the chief officer in charge. He left instructions the keep the vessel one and half mile offshore. There was no indication of what was about to happen to the steamship. The steamer SS Copenhagen was built in Sunderland, England, and launched in February 1898. The steel hulled ship was 324 feet long, 47 feet wide and more than 25 feet deep. Like many of the ship built in the late 1800s, the vessel was built with an inner and outer hull. At around 9:00 am on May 26, the vessel suddenly crashed hard into the Pompano Drop-off, an eastern facing ledge that rises to 15 feet of the surface from a sandy bottom in 31 feet. The ship's engines were immediately ordered stopped.
Captain Jones ordered full reverse. The engines kicked into reverse but the ship didn't move. In the attempt to free the vessel, a large anchor was deployed to no avail. Two days later, a salvage ship showed up to help unload the cargo and to try to pull the Copenhagen from its predicament. Extra people from shore were employed to speed up the recovery of the coal. The loss of the ship was valued at $250,000 and the remaining cargo was valued at $12,500. Jones was found to be at fault for the incident. Examiners found that he did not employ proper navigation; and that he did not used his sounding lead. A sounding lead is a device that ships used to determine the depth of the water. Because of his willingness to cooperate during the investigation and his excellent work record, his master certificate wasn't revoked. The wreck of the Copenhagen was visible above the water for more than 40 years. The site was used for target practice by navy fighters stationed nearby. In June 1994, the site was named as Florida's fifth underwater archaeological preserve. A plaque commemorating this distinction is next to a large limestone boulder just to the south of the wreck. Even though the site is ideal for the novice diver, many experienced divers have had a wonderful time exploring the Copenhagen. "
Donal G. McAllister:
Sunk June 23, 1998 as part of the Broward County Artificial Reef Program, this 101-foot former New York tug boat sits upright at 70 feet with the tip is 50 feet. It is in good condition and has some penetration. This wreck is close to other wrecks that were sunk as part of Broward County Artificial Reef Program. Other Wrecks close by are Capt. Dede a concrete ragboat and the Emma Boggs an LCM vessel both within swimming distance.
Guy Harvey Wreck:
The Guy Harvey was a 185-foot Haitian freighter, the Guy Harvey was built in Holland in 1957 and originally christened the M/V Lady Kimberly. She was used to carry island cargo to and from Haiti. She was renamed The Guy Harvey because of the financial help from renowned marine artist Guy Harvey needed to make her into an artificial reef. In 1997 the Pompano Beach Fishing Rodeo towed the vessel from Haiti to Ft. Lauderdale where Guy Harvey painted sharks and other game fish along the outside of the ship before she was sunk May 10, 1997. The wreck is located 3.5 miles south of the Hillsboro Inlet in 140 feet of water. Her top deck is 110 feet below the surface. An advanced dive reachable by kayak, you will see barracudas, hogfish, and lobsters.
Dania Beach - Located at the east end of Dania Beach Blvd. Plenty of parking close to the beach. South of the pier is a reef system with a beautiful reef and easy swim from shore. No kayak launching here but you can put your kayaks in just north at John U. Lloyd State Park and paddle south to get to the second reef (about 500 yds.)
Lauderdale by the Sea:
Lauderdale By The Sea - Located at the east end of Commercial Blvd., on either side of the pier. Suitable for both snorkelers and scuba divers. Swim out to the end of the pier (about 100 yds.) to the first reef. Remember to keep your distance from the pier. In years past there was a wonderful lattice work of coral south of the pier that made fish-watching great but hurricanes in recent years have partially filled this in. Depth is about 20 feet. Further out is the second reef at depths of 30 feet. Both are beautiful.
Hog Heaven is a 180-foot barge that flipped upside down while being deployed as an artificial reef. It was sunk in 1996.Nearby:- 30 feet north are the remains of the Pacific Reef Lighthouse, and a small sail boat- 200 feet NE rests the 120-foot barge Wayne in 70 feet of water.
Pompano Dropoff is a beautiful reef for diving or snorkeling. It's a long swim (about 400 yds. from shore) but it can be reached from the beach. Kayaks are more suitable. The depth ranges from 15 feet at the plateau to 26 feet at the bottom of the drop. This shallow reef is teaming with schools of fish. The reef runs over a mile in length, running north and south. The north end has many undercut ledges and holes. The southern end, also called Pompano ledge, is marked with 31 buoys. At the south end lies the Copenhagen Archaeological Preserve between buoys 3 and 5.
The Tracy Wreck:
The Tracy is a 132' oil rig supply boat. It sits up right in about 70' of water. It is a 100' north of the Jay Scutti tug wreck. A cable attaches the two of them. There is a 4' barracuda that lives in the wreck and he is not shy when it comes to divers. The ship has some large open spaces that you can enter. The photo shown is the Tracy before she sank.
Alpha is an 85-foot schooner that was sunk in 78 feet of water on March 25, 1989. It is located 1-1/2 miles due east of the Pompano Pier on the outside edge of the third reef.
Spotfin Reef lies 1.25 miles northeast of the Port Everglades Inlet and 1.5 miles Southeast of Ft. Lauderdale beach, accessible by kayak from the South Ft. Lauderdale Beach kayak launch. A natural reef containing a ledge which begins at 50 feet and drops to a sandy bottom at 65 feet. The ledge has many crevices and caves which are home to many varieties of hard and soft coral. Reports of sightings of numerous grouper and large Mangrove Snapper are common.
The freighter Mercedes I was built in Hamburg, Germany, in 1952 and is 194 feet long. On November 23, 1984, while at anchor, a storm ripped the freighter from her anchor and left the Mercedes I high and dry on the beach in Palm Beach. After three months the ship was dislodged and was purchased by the Broward County Environmental Quality Control Board, with the intention of sinking the ship to create an artificial reef off the coast of Ft. Lauderdale. In preparation for her sinking, the Mercedes I was stripped and holes were cut in the ship's sides and interior bulkheads to make her safe for divers. Hatch covers were removed and exit signs were even painted on the interior walls to help divers find their way out safely. All of the preparation work was done by volunteers from the community. On March 30, 1985, the ship was towed out to sea and sent to her final resting place. On a clear day, the Mercedes can be seen from the surface sitting perfectly upright on the ocean floor. Although visibility here has been reported to be as good as 100 feet, the norm ranges from 50 to 60, and the current can sometimes be strong. Because of the depth and the strong current, this wreck is for the more advanced diver. The Mercedes I now rests in 97 feet of water, 1.5 miles off the shore of Ft. Lauderdale on a sand and coral bottom, reachable by kayak from the Vista Park kayak launch. The deck is at 60 feet and her tower can be reached at 45 feet. The wreck is loaded with marine life and makes a great photo site.
Mariner II tug:
[Also Known as Mary St. Phillips]
Also known as Mary St. Phillips, this 110-foot steel tug was built in 1943 and along with another 130-foot barge, was sunk in 1993 to form an artificial reef and lie in 120 feet of water. It is the site of many colorful tropical fish. It is located 1.5 miles due east of the Pompano Pier, reachable by kayak from the 16th St. Kayak launch point.
Miracle of Life Wreck:
A 170-foot off-shore supply Vessel was sunk in 142 feet of water on June, 06 2009. It was sunk as an artificial reef, most of its superstructure has been dismantled or cut away to make safe for divers. The top of wheelhouse is about 100 feet and next level where the statue of angel 14 feet tall weighting 3500 Lbs made of bronze is about 110 feet deep. Deck of the vessel 120 feet and wreck penetration only for experienced and trained divers. This dive is deep and all trained recreation divers should not exceed 130 feet and the suggest mix for this site is 28% Nitrox.