Wreck diving is recreational diving where the wreckage of ships, aircraft, and other artificial structures is explored. Although most wreck dive sites are at shipwrecks, there is an increasing trend to scuttle retired ships to create artificial reef sites.
Florida is known for its incredible wreck diving opportunities, with many world-class wreck sites in the waters around the state. Here are some reasons why wreck diving in Florida is so great:
- History: Many of the wrecks in Florida’s waters are historic, dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries, when Spanish galleons sailed the seas. Diving these wrecks can give you a glimpse into the past and the chance to see artifacts that have been preserved for centuries.
- Marine life: Wreck sites attract a variety of marine life, making them great spots for underwater photography and wildlife encounters. You can see everything from schools of colorful fish to sharks, rays, and even sea turtles.
- Accessibility: Florida’s wreck sites are often located close to shore, making them easily accessible to divers of all levels. You don’t need to be an experienced technical diver to explore many of these sites.
- Variety: Florida has many wreck sites, from shallow reefs to deep-water wrecks, offering something for every type of diver. You can choose dive sites suited to your skill level and interests.
- Weather: Florida’s warm weather and clear waters make for ideal diving conditions year-round, allowing divers to explore wreck sites in any season.
Overall, wreck diving in Florida is a unique and exciting experience that allows divers to explore history, encounter marine life, and enjoy the beautiful underwater scenery. We have many wreck diving sites for all skill levels in South Florida. For the best wreck diving in Florida, book your trip now.
The following list describes just a few of the many dive sites within 30-40 min of the Boca inlet. Our unique coastline offers some of the best diving in the country. Scattered among our coral reefs are a multitude of wrecks varying in depths. So the beginner, as well as the experienced diver, can enjoy them. Look at all the different wrecks to check out:
AIRPLANE WRECK: This Cessna sits upside-down and 80 feet of water off Boca Raton, with landing gear sticking up. A local spear fisherman found it about 20 years ago. Oops! They must have missed the Boca airport. Due to the many hurricanes, this Cessna is broken into two pieces. The fuselage is still somewhat intact, and the engine is about 100 ft away. Great lobster spot.
THE CAPTAIN TONY (a.k.a. The Becks): The Captain Tony is 190 feet long. This freighter sits in 82 feet of water off Delray Beach. There are 3 other wrecks in the immediate area, making this dive a four-wreck dive. It was named in memory of Captain Tony Townsend who was an avid diver and dive charter owner.
THE CASTOR: This 200 ft. freighter sits in 115 feet of water. It was sunk in 2001 near the Captain Tony. It sits about 75 yards from the wreck called the bud bar. Goliath grouper have made their homes in this huge wreck as well as hundreds of barracuda. The goliath grouper also aggregate to spawn on this wreck between Aug-Sep. This wreck moved South about 50 yards and broke in two thanks to hurricane Wilma.
UNITED CARIBBEAN: The original name of this wreck is the Golden Venture; This is the ship that Ran aground in New York Harbor with Chinese immigrants that jumped off, and some of them drowned. This wreck is connected to the Sea Empress by coral rocks that the county put in after sinking this ship. Stingrays, eels, barracuda, and fish abound. This is a great wreck for photography. This wreck is broken into three pieces. Bow and stern pieces and the wheelhouse are off to the South. Courtesy of hurricanes Francis and Jean.
SEA EMPRESS: This 90 ft. barge sits upside-down in 74 feet of water and was loaded with cement conduits, which spilled into the sand. This makes great hiding places for lobster, Grouper, and tons of tropical fish. It has resident Goliath groupers who live in the stern area. Large nurse sharks are seen here often on night dives as well as lots of friendly stingrays. This is a must-see dive. And definitely bring your camera! This is a great dive here in South Palm Beach County! Boats come from different counties to dive this wreck. It’s a long trip for them but a short trip for us since it’s right out of the Boca Raton inlet.
NOULA EXPRESS: This island freighter that cruised the Caribbean now lies in eighty-three feet of water. This ship was confiscated by the DEA for running drugs. Courtesy of Hurricane Andrew, this ship is now in 3 sections. There is also a small sub that was also confiscated by the DEA. This mini-sub was tied to the port side, and when we were hit by Hurricane Andrew’s wind and seas, the Noula rolled over the sub as it broke apart with the huge swell. It’s still there, flattened between the stern and bow. This is one of the best night-diving wrecks around.
ANCIENT MARINER: This 165 ft. vessel really has some history in South Florida. She was a restaurant on the New River in Fort Lauderdale. She sank at the dock, was raised a bit later, and became a restaurant again. Then it had the biggest hepatitis outbreak in U.S. history at that time. Then sank off the dock again and then was donated to the artificial reefs program in Broward County. This ship was sunk off Deerfield Beach in about 72 feet of water roughly 20 years ago. A must-see! Wildlife abounds on this ship! There is a small tugboat about 65 feet off the bow.
BUD BAR: This freighter sits, and 96 feet of water sunk about 15 years ago. Life abounds on this ship. It lies near the Captain Tony and about 75 feet from the castor. This shipwreck is a blast. Lots and lots of fish are on this wreck. The Captain Tony and the Bud Bar are connected with boulders put down by Palm Beach County.
RODEO: This freighter is 214 feet long; it sits in 126 feet of water with a superstructure and mast that towers to 50 feet at the top. With incredible relief that attracts schools of small and large fish. It is an advanced dive not to be missed.
CAPTAIN DAN: This 175-foot coast guard buoy tender sunk in 110 feet of water on February 20, 1990. Due to the size of this 989 displacement ton vessel, large interior and exterior structures are abundant. With plenty of room for penetration and abundant marine life.
COPENHAGEN: Fifteen Feet on top, 35 feet on the bottom. This is a true wreck. She sank in 1900 and was used for strafing practice during World War II. The wreck is scattered for several hundred yards and is covered in corals sea fans and sponges. Fifty caliber machine gun bullets can still be found. This is a great snorkeling area. The Copenhagen was designated as the fifth underwater archeological preserve by the state of Florida in June 1994.
TUGBOAT: This tugboat was found recently in less than 40 feet of water this wreck is a natural wreck. It sank during a storm about 18 years ago. Many divers do not know this wreck! That is why there are lots and lots of small juvenile tropical fish on this wreck. Nudibranchs and other macro creatures are on this small 45 ft. tugboat.
MERCEDES I: 197-foot freighter sunk in 100 feet of water, April 1985. The top of the wheelhouse can be reached at 55 feet. It is covered in soft corals, schools of barracuda, parrotfish, angelfish, etc. This is a very exciting dive day and night.
JAY SCUTTI: 90-foot tugboat sunk in 70 feet of water, August 1986. The perfect spot for divers who want a longer bottom time. There are schools of jacks, snapper, and tropicals. Recently we have been hand-feeding stingrays here. There is a sailboat sunk off the stern of this wreck so you can actually dive 2 wrecks in one dive.
JIM ATRIA: This 240-foot freighter used to lie completely on her port side in 110 ft of water, but since hurricane Andrew, it now sits upright with the bow in over 135 feet of water. This is truly a magnificent dive and is now limited to the very experienced.
MAZON 435-foot freighter and one of the largest artificial reefs on the East Coast. She sits in depths from 160 feet to 210 feet.
HYDRO ATLANTIC: 300-foot dredge, which cheated the scrap man by sinking while being towed to the salvage yard on December 7, 1987. (There were reports of Japanese zeros circling the area.) The depth is from 115 feet to 187 feet. This is a tech dive only. This wreck is disintegrating and collapsing. Major silt out danger from rust upon penetration.
MILLER LITE: 200-foot freighter, which is part of the Rodeo Reef System and sits in depths from 110 feet to 165 feet.
…and MANY more to explore!