Reef Diving Palm Beach
Palm Beach County is known to be one of the United States top destinations for diving and snorkeling. There are approximately 180 artificial and natural reefs running along the coast from Jupiter to Boca Raton offering nearly unlimited underwater exploration opportunities. Aided by the close proximity of the Gulf Stream to the Palm Beach coast, our reefs boast healthy corals and nearly endless varieties of sea life for the enjoyment of the underwater enthusiast.
Natural Coral Reefs
Natural coral reefs shape some of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. They provide a home for at least 25% of all marine species and occupy less than 0.1% of the world’s ocean surface. These reefs are considered to be the rainforests of the sea and give life to species such as crustaceans, sponges, fish and mollusks, just to name a few. Even though they are found mostly in shallow water, there are deep-water reefs that are less prevalent. There are an abundance of natural reefs off the Coast of Palm Beach County especially off of Riviera Beach, Singer Island and Jupiter.
Coral reefs are very sensitive to changes in water temperature, which make them fragile ecosystems. They are threatened by climate change, oceanic acidification, use of sunscreen, water pollution and other threats that may cause excess algal growth.
The Trench is a dive spot off the coast of Palm Beach County located four miles south of the Palm Beach Inlet. The trench is in approximately 55 feet under water, 100 feet long, 15 feet wide and has 2 sheer walls measuring 8 to 10 feet high. Originally cut into the natural reef system several years ago for cable extension to the Bahamian Islands, the Trench is now a rest stop or refuge from strong currents for many sea animals. Nurse sharks and turtles are commonly seen in this area. Divers can also enjoy the abundance of sea life residing in this reef system while taking respite from the currents flowing above.
Breaker’s Reef is an outstanding ecosystem providing divers a plethora of marine life including corals, eels, sea turtles, Angelfish and much more. There are miles of uninterrupted ledges, patch reefs, and openings to explore. The Breaker’s Reef includes a few other popular dives spots including but not limited to:
Ranging from depths of 42 feet and 62 feet on a 15 foot ledge, there are two separate coral mounds on the inshore side of Breaker’s Reef. Divers can reach these mounds from the most northern end of Breaker’s Reef and enjoy an enormous amount of colorful fish, eels, lobster, grouper, sea turtles and Hogfish.
Bath and Tennis
The Bath and Tennis dive spot acquired its name from the onshore club of the same name. This is a natural reef full of sea life and plenty of holes and crevices to explore. This is a favorite dive spot for local divers because of its 40 to 65 foot depth, ease of access and abundant marine life.
The Flower Gardens dive spot has a shallow ledge with an inside and outside drop. The outside ledge begins at a 40 foot depth then slopes down to 70 feet. It is an easy, pleasant dive as you follow the ledges. This dive spot is ideal for juvenile marine life which makes it an interesting place for divers of all experiences to visit. Divers can also see sea fans, sponges and more coral varieties.
Juno Ledge is 65 to 95 foot gradual ledge with a 20 foot wall and is home to sea turtles, tropical fish, sharks and schools of a wide variety of fish such as grouper, snapper and Atlantic Spadefish. Due to the depths of this dive, an Advanced Open Water Certification is required for this dive.
Artificial Reef Diving
There are approximately 45 sunken vessels off the coast of Palm Beach at various depths. There are also artificial reefs made of concrete and other materials, sunken to logistically provide new homes for sea life. The longer these artificial reefs lie on the ocean floor, the more growth they acquire, which in turn attracts more sea life and divers. Artificial reefs also serve as a very important shelter for juvenile tropical fish. The reefs develop into areas where the juvenile fish can find much needed food and shelter while they grow and mature; before heading out in to deeper waters. Many juvenile tropical fish change their appearance as they mature, divers delight at the sights of the young drum, angels and tangs. The Palm Beach artificial reefs attract fishermen and SCUBA divers because of the optimum environment for fish and their proliferation.
Diving Wrecks in Palm Beach County
Many people in Palm Beach County are unaware how many wrecks are off the coast of Palm Beach. These vessels have interesting histories and stories tied to them. Some of the more popular wreck dives in Palm Beach include:
The most recent ship to be sunk off the coast of Palm Beach is the Ana Cecilia. This 629 ton, 170 foot freighter was sunk on July 13, 2016 to a depth of 85 feet.
The Danny McCauley Memorial Reef
Formerly called the Pocahontas, this 110-foot World War II classic tugboat was intentionally sunk on the morning of February 22, 2013. It was named after a 17 year old young man named Danny McCauley, and his parents helped fund this reef as a memorial to their son. This is one of the top dive spots in Palm Beach County.
This wreck has seen a lot of history in the last 90 years. Originally the Mizpah was supposed to land at a depth of 200 feet but the Gulf Stream pulled the ship to approximately 100 feet. Even though much of the structure has eroded away, the remaining wreck is covered with coral, algae and underwater foliage attracting large numbers of Goliath Grouper and other fish making it a great spot to dive.
Set up your reef diving trip in Palm Beach, call Paradise Below Diving today.