Fort Lauderdale Scuba Diving- A Dang Good Guide

Castor Wreck via

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclaimer.

Share on pinterest
Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on reddit
Share on email

Fort Lauderdale scuba diving is the most fun you can have with your fins on. Broward County boasts 23 miles of natural coral reef and more than a hundred shipwrecks. Our dang good guide to Fort Lauderdale Scuba Diving describes dive sites from Boca Raton (Southern Palm Beach County) to Dania Beach (Northern Dade County) and all of Fort Lauderdale / Broward County in between. Take some time to click around our interactive map, loaded with site descriptions, links, photos, and even a few videos.

Fort Lauderdale Scuba Overview

Fort Lauderdale is a city in Broward County near the tip of South Florida. The warm Gulf Stream keeps the water comfortable, even in the winter. Summer temps get up to a balmy 84-87 degrees, while winter water temperatures range from 72-75 degrees.

Wreck Diving in Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale is known as the Shipwreck Capital of America for a good reason. There are a lot of wrecks out there and more being added every year. Our guide covers most of the ones that are visited by area dive shops, generally looking for ships over 100′ long and within recreational limits. There are wrecks with interesting histories, beautiful coral, easy penetration, abundant sea life, and even installation art. At depths, some serious tech dives reward skilled divers with unbelievable sites. No matter what your training level or interest is, Fort Lauderdale has a wreck for you.

Reef Diving in Fort Lauderdale

The South East Florida Reef extends all the way from Miami to Palm Beach. It consists of three distinct tracts (Inner, Middle, Outer) that run parallel to the shore. These reefs are remnants of the historic shoreline when the oceans were lower.

The inner reef starts in 15′ water, often close enough for shore diving and snorkeling. The middle reef is in 40′ of water and usually reached by boat. The outer reef is the most continuously intact reef tract, gets the most sea life, and is subject to the Gulf Stream current.

The Gulf Stream current, which generally runs south to north and allows for beautiful drift dives. The boat captain will drop you towards the middle of the reef at the 40-50 fsw mark, and you swim to either edge. The most life is on the main ledge on the west side of the reef, but sometimes it useful to explore other areas like the false ledge or the pockets in the deeper spur and grooves on the east side.

Interactive Fort Lauderdale Dive Map

[leaflet-map lat= 26.20656 lng=-80.04581 zoom=10 max_zoom=13 zoomControl=true tileurl={z}/{y}/{x}] [leaflet-marker lat= 26.232571 lng= -80.092416 ] This dive map sponsored by Pompano Dive Center 101 N Riverside Dr #111, Pompano Beach, FL 33062 (954) 788-0208 [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.553146 lng= -80.457778 iconUrl=””] This dive map sponsored by Pompano Dive Center Centrally located in the Sands Harbor Marina on the Intracoastal Waterway, Pompano Dive Center proudly offers an unparalleled inventory selection including the full SCUBAPRO line; internationally recognized PADI and SSI instruction; Air, Nitrox, and Trimix fills; boundless travel opportunities and a top-of-the-line Repair/Service Tech Center. Our professionally trained staff is knowledgeable and available to help you plan all your equipment purchases and your next adventure. Check the PDC dive calendar Visit PDC Homepage Video about dive training at PDC [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 25.948359 lng= -80.397700 iconUrl=””] —————Map Legend————– [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.27483 lng= -80.0657845 iconUrl=” “] Abbey Too Abby Too Reef is a smaller reef segment of the outer reef with a notable feature of Rabbit Ear Pass. All the little caves in this spot make it a great destination for lobster hunting. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.23095 lng= -80.06711 iconUrl=” “] Alplha Alpha, aka Rodeo diver is located less than 2 miles east of the Pompano Pier, just outside of the third reef. About 90 feet long, this schooner sunk in 78 feet of water in March. I 1989. Located 50 feet from the Jay Dorman. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.30201 lng= -80.06215 iconUrl=” “] Ancient Mariner Ancient Mariner Dive Video “The Ancient Mariner is the 160 foot long former USCG Cutter Nemesis that was decommissioned and turned into a floating restaurant in Ft. Lauderdale. The Ancient Mariner close proximity to a natural reef create an abundance of marine life. Also 150 degrees 150 ft. SE of her bow lies The Berry Patch Tug. When the conditions are right you can actually do both on the same dive. History: The Ancient Mariner was built in Port Pleasant; West Virginia in the 1930s and was launched as the USCG Nemesis. Her early duties as a Coast Guard Cutter was to patrol the coast and carry out lifeguard duties before being drafted into the war and used for convoy duties both in the Gulf of Mexico and in the Atlantic hunting down German submarines with some success. Later she was used as a floating restaurant but was condemned for the largest outbreak of food poisoning in the history of Ft. Lauderdale, she was sunk as an artificial reef in 1991″ [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.186944 lng= -80.0696468 iconUrl=” “] Anglin Reef Anglin Pier Reef (50-60 fsw) is the most southern reef typically visited from the Hillsborough Inlet. It has a long 10-12 foot drop on the western ledge that extends for almost the entire reef segment. It is named because it sits almost directly out from the Anglin Fishing Pier. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.2986 lng= -80.0647116 iconUrl=” “] Ant Beds Ant Bed Reef is named because of the collapsing reef structure on the north end. If forms homes of a wide variety of life there. The Berry Tug is close to the Ant Beds portion of the reef. If you are good with navigation and air (and let your captain know), you might be able to reach the Berry Tug and Ant Beds on an Ancient Mariner dive. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.30138 lng= -80.06171 iconUrl=” “] Berry Patch Berry Patch Dive Video Berry Patch is a small tugboat sank in 1987. She is completely encrusted with colorful corals. On a calm day with good air consumption, you can reach the Berry Patch from the Ancient Mariner. From the port bow of the Ancient Mariner set a 155 degree heading and swim 100-150 feet to reach the Berry Patch. Beyond the Berry Patch is a reef section known as Ant Beds because of the collapse structure. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.15146 lng= -80.06403 iconUrl=” “] Bill Boyd Reef Bill Boyd is a 211 foot German Freighter in 265 fsw [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.322422 lng= -80.0564719 iconUrl=” “] Boca Reef The Boca Reef is a smallish reef segment of the outer reef. It has a small collection of eurojacks stacked by the best-defined portion of the main ledge. They were scattered a bit by recent storms but still provide interest. Boca Reef is nearby Sea Emperor and United Carribean wrecks. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.47916 lng= -80.0385 iconUrl=” “] Bud Bar Bud Bar is a 150-foot long freighter sunk in 87 fsw. It was sunk in 1987, which has allowed from plentiful growth on the site. The propellers and funnels remain intact, giving wreck divers highlights to explore. Permits, wahoo, groupers, tarpon, barracuda, snapper, wrasse, jacks, damselfish, and surgeonfish are found on the Bud Bar. It is close to to the similarly sized Captain Tony and the much smaller Swordfish. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.20836 lng= -80.06105 iconUrl=” “] Caicos Express The Caicos Express is a 188 foot freighter sitting in 258 fsw. Before itʼs sinking, this ship appeared in several episodes of Miami Vice. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.23095 lng= -80.066 iconUrl=” “] Captain Dan Garnsey Captain Dan Dive Video “Hollyhock, this 175 foot long ex-USCG buoy tender, then the mission ship -Good News- and later renamed the Captain Dan was sunk as an artificial reef on February 20, 1990. She spent most of her working career of 53 years tending buoys before being sunk as an artificial reef on February 20, 1990 just south of the Jay Dorman artificial reef, which is 1.5 mile from shore and just outside the third reef line. She now lies in 110 feet of water with her bow pointing north. The Captain Dan lies in an upright position and is easily penetrated. A lot of care was taken in preparing her for sinking and huge holes were prepared between the forepeak, cargo hold and engine room which now provides excellent access and penetration of the wreck. When she sunk the ship sank in just over 105 feet of water and landed upright on the seabed and can be reached at just 70 feet below the surface with the wheelhouse the easiest to reach. With all the levels, passage ways, cabins, etc. this is one of the busiest wrecks in the area. See it once or see it many times — it is always a treat. Taking only 15 minutes to arrive at the destination, the Captain Dan is one of the area’s most popular wrecks. Visibility on the Dan is generally very good with an average of 60 ft. However, it is susceptible to moderate to strong currents. If you decide to take a spin on the Dan you will not be disappointed.” [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.48116 lng= -80.03916 iconUrl=” “] Captain Tony he Captain Tony is a 167-foot long Dutch freighter sunk in 85 fsw. It was sunk on October 22, 1996. Originally named M/V Becks, the name was changed to memorialize Captain Toney Townsend, a dive charter captain killed by a drunk boater a month after the wreck sunk. It is close to to the similarly sized Bud Bar and the much smaller Swordfish. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.343576 lng= -80.0562141 iconUrl=” “] Chalfonte What makes the Chalfonte Reef stand out is how well defined the ledges are. It is one of the farthest north outer reef sites serviced from the Hillsborough Inlet. It is a larger reef segment so you should be able to stay on the reef for the duration of your dive. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.23426 lng= -80.0611 iconUrl=” “] Clinton The Clinton is a 170 foot coastal freighter sitting in 156 fsw. This is a great technical dive and is only 10 minutes from Hillsborough Inlet. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.316652 lng= -80.0631238 iconUrl=” “] Crab Cove Crab Cove Reef supposedly gets that name because it looks like a crab from the air. While I can not see that, it does speak to how this is a smallish reef segment. It is near the Rapa Nui wreck. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 25.96935 lng= -80.07698 iconUrl=” “] Cruz Del Sur Ship The Curz Del Sur is a 257 foot Freighter in 240 fsw. Usually done as a 3 tank dive from Fort Lauderdale. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.00983 lng= -80.08316 iconUrl=” “] Dantor The Dantor is a 160 foot freighter in 128 fsw [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.202424 lng= -80.0724792 iconUrl=” “] Dom Orlando Dom Orlando is an outer reef dive in 50-60 fsw. It has an excellent 10-foot ledge on the western side, giving plenty of habitat for tropical fish. Pay close attention to the overhangs and undercuts too. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.218364 lng= -80.0714492 iconUrl=” “] Grouper Bend Grouper Bend is a North/South reeflet in 45-70 fsw. It is close enough to the shipwrecks to sometimes have groupers on the reef, hence the name. It is a good reef/wreck 2 tank dive because it is near a large concentration of wrecks. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.21078 lng= -80.06573 iconUrl=” “] Guy Harvey The Guy Harvey is a 175 foot freighter sitting in 145 fsw. She is named after the marine artist and conservationist who painted a full length mural on her side before sinking. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.304553 lng= -80.0697541 iconUrl=” “] Hillsborough Ledge Hillsborough Ledge is a well-defined segment of the middle reef. It is subject to less current than the outer reef and slightly shallower, which can give you more bottom time. There is a small cave situated on the north end of the reef. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.13503 lng= -80.07976 iconUrl=” “] Hog Heaven Hog Heaven is a 180 foot barge sitting in 65 fsw. 1,200 feet of dredge pipe and a small lighthouse surround the wreck, with another barge sitting just 200 feet to the north. This wreck is far south of the Hillsborough inlet and usually dove as part of a 3-tank trip. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.325 lng= -80.05071 iconUrl=” “] Hydro Atlantic The Hydro Atlantic is a 320-foot freighter sitting in 179 fsw. The day the Hydro Atlantic sank will live in Florida Diving infamy. On December 7, 1987 she sank naturally in a storm while under tow. This means that she was not stripped before sinking. A crane sits midship, the wench remains, and cables and rigging are everywhere. No wonder the Hydro Atlantic has long been considered one of the Top 10 best dives in the United States. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.23098 lng= -80.06711 iconUrl=” “] Jay Dorman Located directly offshore from the Pompano Pier, this 130-foot luxury schooner was sunk in May 1987. It is a memorial for Jay Dorman, and only 50 ft from the Alpha [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.15866 lng= -80.07933 iconUrl=” “] Jay Scutti The Jay Scutti is a 100 foot harbor tugboat sitting in 70 fsw. She sits due south of the Tracy, offering an excellent multi-wreck dive. The first ship in the Fort Lauderdale Wreck Trek. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.1645 lng= -80.07041 iconUrl=” “] Jim Atria The Jim Atria is a 240 foot Dutch freighter sitting in 135 fsw. Hurricane Andrew moved this wreck 1/4 mile offshore of her original resting place. This is a premier deep recreational dive. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.284335 lng= -80.0718355 iconUrl=” “] Labonte Labonte is shallower reef dive. it is a good reef to visit if you do not want to worry about current. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.23011 lng= -80.06345 iconUrl=” “] Lady Luck The Lady Luck is 320+ ft. long, 50 ft wide tanker that rises to nearly to 60 from the surface at her mast. You will notice on your descent the Lady Luck logo on each side of her stack, welcoming you to the first underwater casino in the world – ding ding ding ding! Artist Dennis McDonald has created a larger than life size casino on the deck with octopus dealers, slot machines and card sharks alike. The Newtown Creek would move sludge from plants in New York without dewatering facilities to plants with dewatering facilities that would convert the sludge into fertilizer pellets. She was decommissioned in the summer of 2014 and put up for auction by the City of New York. On March 1, 2016 Ship Wreck Park Foundation of Pompano Beach purchased the New Town Creek from NYC, thanks to generous donations from the Isle Casino Racing and the City of Pompano Beach. Sunk on July 23rd, 2016. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.262092 lng= -80.0667286 iconUrl=” “] Lighthouse Ledge Lighthouse Ledge is a multi-tiered segment of the outer reef that is teeming with life. It is named because of the proximity to the Hillsborough Inlet Lighthouse. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.22003 lng= -80.06066 iconUrl=” “] Lowrance Lawrence stis upright in 210 fsw, this massive freighter is 420 ft long and 55 ft wide. As one of the largest artificial reefs sunk in South Florida the Lowrance is a draw to many technical divers. There is plenty to explore and most divers will investigate the large cargo holds and passageways. The wreck is also a well known fishing spot so take notice of the fishing lines snagged on the wreck. History: Built by Canadian Vickers Ltd. in 1953 the Lowrance was originally named Ciudad De Cali and was later renamed Rio Amazonas. She was renamed once again, this time by simply painting over a portion of her old name. Sailing as theMazon, the vessel had a mechanical breakdown and became stranded in Port Everglades. She sat there for three years until she was sunk as an artificial reef off Ft. Lauderdale on March 31, 1984. The marine electronics company Lowrance donated to the cleanup for sinking, hence the final name. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.47883 lng= -80.03713 iconUrl=” “] M/V Castor MV Castor Dive Video MV Castor is a large ship (258 feet) and the bottom of recreational depths (109 fsw). It has notoriously strong currents, which is probably why the groupers gather here. The M/V CASTOR weighs 1415 tons and measures 258 feet long by 37 feet wide by 50 feet tall. U.S. Customs agents seized the M/V Castor in 1999 on the high seas after inspection reviewed 200 bales of cocaine weighing 10,127 pounds. The coast guard arrested captain and crew and the ship was eventually seized to offset the debt of the owner. On December 14, 2001, she was sunk as part of the Palm Beach County Artificial Reef Program. (spawning) in August and September. Usually down as a three tank dive from Fort Lauderdale. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.233301 lng= -80.0841093 iconUrl=” “] Magic Magic is a section of the Pompano Drop Off near Pompano Pier. It is very shallow, 15-30 feet, which makes it accessible for snorkeling or long bottom times. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.23516 lng= -80.06345 iconUrl=” “] Mariner 2 The Mariner II Barge is a 130 foot barge sitting in 110 fsw. Sitting near the outside of the reef ledge, the wreck offers large schools of baitfish and light penetration [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.15616 lng= -80.07521 iconUrl=” “] Mercedes The Mercedes is a 198 foot freighter sitting in 97 fsw. After beaching during a storm in the early 1980ʼs, the Mercedes was moved offshore and sunk as part of the Broward County Artificial Reef Program. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.16058 lng= -80.07911 iconUrl=” “] Merci Jesus The Merci Jesus is a 90 foot freighter and the third ship of the Ft Lauderdale Wreck Trek. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.20656 lng= -80.04581 iconUrl=” “] Miller Light A 186-foot Freighter was sank in 164 feet of water on May, 17 1987. This German cargo vessel should only be visited by properly trained, experienced divers. She was in service for almost 30 years before her demise, at which point she was named the Miller Lite for the sponsor that helped finance her sinking. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.3198 lng= -80.05333 iconUrl=” “] Miracle of Life The Miracle of Life is a 170 foot offshore supply vessel sitting in 142 fsw. There is a 3500 pound, 14 foot bronze angel statue at 110 feet deep [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.01008 lng= -80.0917 iconUrl=” “] Miss Dania Beach The Miss Dania Beach is a 120 foot Canadian Naval vessel sitting in 72 fsw. The cargo holds are open, allowing for easy penetration in recreational depths [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.215708 lng= -80.0839806 iconUrl=” “] Nursery The Nursery is perhaps the best shallow dive in South East Florida. What makes it special is how well defined the ledge is. This is the best-defined ledge section along the Pompano Drop off. It is named for a family of nurse sharks that frequent the area, usually by the ledge. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.23352 lng= -80.07017 iconUrl=” “] Okinawa Reef The bow points to the south and is sitting perfectly upright in 69 fsw. The tug rises to 35 feet at the top of the pilot house. Okinawa was sunk by Shipwreck Park Inc. and is the 18th wreck in Shipwreck Park Pompano Beach. Renowned artist Dennis McDonald created whimsical dive bar called the Midnight Sun. The name was chosen by Finlandia Vodka the sinking projects largest sponsor. The dive bar includes sea creatures and a magical mermaid. You can actually penetrate the opening in front of the wheelhouse and swim into the engine room and up and out through the dive bar! [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.23503 lng= -80.05638 iconUrl=” “] Papa’s Reef Papas Reef is a 170 barge in 265 fsw. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.16915 lng= -80.07863 iconUrl=” “] Peter B. Mcallister Peter B. Mcallister tug is a 85 foot tugboat very near Bruce Mueller Reef (45 feet) Corky Micco Reef (41 foot sailboat). These sites are in 70 fsw [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.29961 lng= -80.06181 iconUrl=” “] Qualman Barge The Quallman Tugs are a collection of 5 tugs and dredge pipe pontoons sitting in 80 fsw. Sitting just outside of the reef, this can be done as a wreck and reef drift dive. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.31678 lng= -80.062 iconUrl=” “] Rapa Nui The Rapa Nui flipped during sinking and landed on top of the artwork (Polynesian sculptures). She sits near a reef section known as Crab Cove. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.237459 lng= -80.0669432 iconUrl=” “] Razzel Dazzel Razzel Dazzel runs north-south in 45-70 fsw. What makes Razzel Dazzle special is that, given the right conditions and the right diver, it is possible to dive the reef and the nearby wrecks in the same dive. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.17088 lng= -80.0722 iconUrl=” “] Rebel The Rebel is a 150 foot Norwegian freighter sitting in 110 fsw. Named after the shipʼs ownerʼs dog, the Rebel sits in close proximity to the outside reef ledge. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.22266 lng= -80.06033 iconUrl=” “] Renegae The Renegade is a 150-foot Freighter that sank in 190 feet of water on July,10 1985. For a dive this deep, it would be considered very small. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.15321 lng= -80.08061 iconUrl=” “] Robert Edmister The Robert Edmister is a 95 foot Coast Guard Cutter sitting in 70 fsw. She is in close proximity to several other wrecks in the area. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.2313 lng= -80.06355 iconUrl=” “] Rodeo 25 The Rodeo 25 is a 215 foot twin-masted Dutch freighter sitting in 126 fsw. Her masts rise to within 70 feet of the surface, providing plentiful relief. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.23133 lng= -80.05741 iconUrl=” “] Ronald B. Johnson (RBJ) / Corey and Chris Hard core gorilla divers only. This is deep! These two wrecks form a cross, one over the other. This is a mass of wreckage covered with fishing line (take a knife). Obviously this is a Technical Dive and requires intense training and equipment [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.22736 lng= -80.06493 iconUrl=” “] RSB-1 RSB-1 AKA Jim Torgenson is a 160 foot U.S. tender sitting in 110 fsw. Easy penetration is possible on this wreck due to large openings in the cargo hold. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.288028 lng= -80.0650119 iconUrl=” “] Sanctuary What makes the Sanctuary Reef stand out is how well defined the ledges are. Rumors abound about a gentleman agreement to not take hunters to this site. It is a larger reef segment so you should be able to stay on the reef for the duration of your dive. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.32228 lng= -80.05913 iconUrl=” “] Sea Emperor Sea Emperor Dive Video The Sea Emperor is a 171-foot barge in 72 fsw that sank upside down. She was loaded with1600 ton pile of concrete piping for her sinking. The pipes scattered as she flipped which created a wonderful habitat for animals like green morays, grunts, goliath grouper, and southern stingrays. A couple hundred foot rock trail leads to the United Carribean wreck. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.205856 lng= -80.085098 iconUrl=” “] SS Copenhagen SS Copenhagen Dive Description SS Copenhagen Dive Video History: The SS Copenhagen was a 325 ft. coal freighter that ran aground off the shores of Pompano Beach on May 26, 1900. She was carrying 4,940 tons of coal on voyage from Philadelphia to Havana.

The Copenhagen was built in 1898 and was 325 feet long with a 47 foot beam. She was rigged as a schooner as in the early day of steam power it was usual to have the ship rigged in case of engine failure.

The ship had not seen much service for its owners the Glasgow Ship Owners Company before sinking in May 1900 whilst transporting a cargo of coal from Philadelphia to Havana. She had been unfortunate and hit a rock ledge off Pompano.

The scattered remains of this wreck is located in an area known as Pompano Ledge approximately 1/2 mile due east of the large blue tower on Pompano Beach. The waters at this rock ledge were relatively shallow and she sunk at a depth of 36 foot. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.23971 lng= -80.05685 iconUrl=” “] Sucre Sitting upright on the continental slop, the bow points south in 225 feet of water – this is the Sucre. Surrounded by big fish including Amber Jacks this 237-foot freighter was built in Germany in 1957, ending up in Pompano in 1996. Also known as the Johnny Morris, the wreck is not only intact and upright but offers plenty of penetration options. Diving the Sucre will be memorable to say the least. The ships anchor chain can be seen going all the way from the bow of the ship to the sea floor, disappearing into the sands giving one the idea that its resting securely on the bottom. One dive will not be enough to take in the the whole of this ship and all it has to offer! [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.228066 lng= -80.0701619 iconUrl=” “] Sunkist Sunkist runs north-south in 45-70 fsw. It is very close to the main collection of wrecks in Shipwreck Park, making it an excellent choice for a reef/wreck two tank dive trip. Also, the proximity to the wrecks sometimes brings in aquatic visitors, especially on the spurs and groves on the east side of the reef. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 25.98253 lng= -80.085 iconUrl=” “] Tenneco Towers Shallow Not one but two Gulf of Mexico oil drilling platforms in 110 fsw. Located right at the Broward/Miami-Dade county line, it consists of two Gulf of Mexico oil drilling platforms sitting in 110 feet of water with the decks rising to 60 fsw. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.225025 lng= -80.0813198 iconUrl=” “] Touchdown Touchdown Reef was named for two condos on the beach that looked like goalposts when you are lined up on the reef. Maybe field goal would have been more appropriate. The dive is between 30-45 fsw. Several large reef sections protrude east/west, perpendicular to the normal north/south reef line. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.15931 lng= -80.07938 iconUrl=” “] Tracy The Tracy is a 131 foot coastal freighter sitting in 72 fsw. The Tracy is in the middle of three wrecks that make up the “Fort Lauderdale Wreck Trek.” [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.249622 lng= -80.0661278 iconUrl=” “] Trench Trench Reef runs north-south in 45-70 fsw. Two features make Trench unique. First, it is directly in the Hillsborough Inlet channel. second, a drainage pipe runs through the middle of the reef and discharges into a tire field in 90 fsw. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.23456 lng= -80.06448 iconUrl=” “] Union Express The Union Express is a 170 foot Dutch coastal freighter sitting in 111 fsw. She sits on here side with the bow and stern separated, allowing for light penetration [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.32113 lng= -80.05898 iconUrl=” “] United Caribbean The United Caribbean is a 147-foot steel cargo ship sitting in 70 fsw. The bow and stern sections are separated, allowing for easy swim-throughs. Look for goliath groupers to be hanging out around the wreck. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.47883 lng= -79.93713 iconUrl=””]Palm Beach is about the farthest north dive boats from Fort Lauderdale will travel. The reason they make the journey is the MV Castor which has perhaps the most impressive giant group aggregation in Florida. During August / September, these 300lb giants gather in mass on the MV Castor to spawn. It is impressive and unforgettable. Usually, this trip is a three tanker, with Captain Tony and Bud Bar filling out the dive card. Consider diving with nitrox to increase your bottom time over the 3-dive profile. Incredible wrecks with unforgettable nature highlight this full-day adventure [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.3198 lng= -79.93713 iconUrl=””]Boca is a twenty-minute boat ride up from the Hillsborough Inlet. The middle reef has good structure in this area and the current on the out reef makes for great drift diving. The awesome Hydro Atlantic is the jewel of the collection of eight shipwrecks regularly dove in this area. For the sake of our content structure, we are considering Boca Raton Dive sites to be north of the Hillsborough Inlet. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.22146 lng= -79.93713 iconUrl=””]Pompano Beach is just south of the Hillsborough Inlet. The Pompano Drop Off on the inner reef makes for some of the best shallow diving in South Florida (I am looking at you Nursery), and the current on the out reef makes for great drift diving. The wrecks in this area are part of Shipwreck Park, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the creation of an underwater park system establishing artificial reefs, utilizing public art to raise awareness of the need to preserve and conserve our natural coral reef system. Many wrecks have interesting statues installed before sinking so be on the lookout for installation art. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.1515 lng= -79.93713 iconUrl=””]Fort Lauderdale Wreck Trek consists of three wrecks in close proximity: Merci Jesus, Tracy, and Jay Scutti. There are about 20 or so wrecks in this area that are routinely visited at all levels of certification. Beside the Wreck Trek, there are plenty of dives to keep you coming back for more. [/leaflet-marker][leaflet-marker lat= 26.01 lng= -79.93713 iconUrl=””]Dania Beach has the largest artificial reef in South Florida, and it is not a wreck at all. It is the Tenneco Towers. Not one but two Gulf of Mexico oil drilling platforms in 110 fsw. Located right at the Broward/Miami-Dade county line, it consists of two Gulf of Mexico oil drilling platforms sitting in 110 feet of water with the decks rising to 60 fsw. [/leaflet-marker]

Top Ten Fort Lauderdale Dives From North to South – Part 1

MV Castor (110′ depth): The 260′ long MV Castor is about the deepest as you can go with recreation diving and the current usually whips through the area. While this makes it difficult for divers, the goliath grouper L.O.V capital E LOVE it. In the fall, they converge on the Castor in mass in what’s known as the Grouper Aggregation. If you have never been surrounded by 300 lb fish, you don’t know what you are missing. Pair with Captain Toney and Bud Bar. (MV Castor dive video)

Hydro Atlantic (179′ depth) / Lawrance (210′ depth):  The Hydro Atlantic fairly unique in the dive scene because it’s a 300′ natural wreck. A giant crane sits midship with rigging and cables everywhere.  Lawrance is the biggest wreck of the reef at 420′ long and 55′ wide.  Unlike the Hydro Atlantic, she was prepped well for sinking with plenty of openings and great opportunities for penetration. These are dives that will motivate you to get tech certified.

Sea Emporer (72′ depth): The Sea Emporer is just a 171-foot barge that had the audacity to flip when it was sinking. It was loaded with 1600 tons of concrete piping that scattered on the way down creating a fantastic fish habitat. On good days, you can navigate to the nearby United Caribbean too. (Sea Emperor dive video)

Ancient Mariner (70′ depth): Water, water everywhere and all the ships did sink or something like that. The Ancient Mariner (length 160′) is a well-seasoned wreck that has been split in two with time and storms. It’s fun to explore, but what makes it special is the possibility of exploring a second wreck (Berry Patch) and a reef (Ant Beds) on the same dive. She has a fascinating history too. She hunted submarines in WWII and was a floating restaurant on the New River known for causing the most massive case of food poisoning in Broward County history. (Ancient Mariner dive video)

Sanctuary Reef (45′-75′ depth): Sometimes, it’s hard to tell one reef segment from the next, but I’ll put Sanctuary Reef on the list to represent the group. The current kisses these outer reef dives. What that means is you get to drift dive, breath lightly, and have amazing bottom time. The boat captain drops you at the top, and all you need to do is kick to one edge or the other. From there, just float and breath until it’s time to surface. Along the way, you’ll see lobster, eels, corals, and a whole lot more life, especially on the western ledge.

Top Ten Fort Lauderdale Dives From North to South – Part 2

Okinawa (70′ depth)/ Lady Luck(130′ depth): These two dives aren’t usually done together. They aren’t’ that close, and they require different certification levels (Okinawa is OW, Lady Luck is AOW). What they do have in common is installation art placed on board before sinking. Okinawa has a beautiful mermaid statue (the crystal ball was lost to storms), and Lady Luck has sharks playing poker.

Captain Dan (110′ depth)– A ship good enough for a double dip. The Captain Dan is loaded with life and growth. It was prepared well for sinking too with ample passages for penetration. In her prior life, she was known as the mission ship “Good News,” spreading the good word through Florida. (Captain Dan dive video)

SS Copenhagen(35′ depth) / Nursery (20′ depth)
Two of the shallowest dives you’ll ever get excited about. The Copenhagen is a hundred-year-old natural wreck on in 30fsw. It’s as much reef as wreck these days, but you can still see the mast and anchor. The Nursery is famous for a family of nurse sharks who occasionally hang out there along the best-formed ridge on the inner reef. Check out our post about diving Pompano Beach to learn more about these two beautiful shallow dives. (SS Copenhagen dive video)

Fort Lauderdale Wreck Trek (65′ depth): Not one, not two, but three 100′ ships make up the Fort Lauderdale Wreck Treck. Meci Jesus, Tracy, and Jay Scutti are close enough that, with good current, navigation, and air, they can all be visited on the same tank. Kind of like a submerge-a-tois for open water divers.

Tenneco Towers (deck at 110′ depth): Sometimes, bigger is just better, and the Tenneco Towers are huge! Located right at the Dade / Broward county are two massive oil platforms. This is the largest artificial reef in south Florida and one of the top dives in the area too.

Dive Seasons in Fort Lauderdale

You already know that diving is excellent year-round in Fort Lauderdale. The summer water is warm and balmy, and the winter visibility is spectacular. Year-round, you can find tropical fish and corals on the reefs and dolphins splashing in the waves. There are also seasonal pelagic sightings that will knock your booties off.

  • Winter Season (December – February): Bull sharks and sailfish come in from the open ocean. You might even catch a glimpse of an enormous whale shark.
  • Spring Season (March-May): Hammerheads sightings increase, especially on the Outer Reef. A few sailfish might be hanging around too in the early spring.
  • Summer Season (June – August): Manta rays glide into view and hawksbill, and loggerhead turtles are nesting on the beaches. Lemon sharks can be found patrolling sandy bottoms near reefs, and there is a renewed possibility of whale shark sightings.
  • Lobster mini-season runs an intense two days in late July. Late summer also features one of the most amazing underwater spectacle anywhere – the Goliath Grouper Gathering. South Florida is one of the few places where these giants have come back from collapse and can regularly be seen spawning and just hanging out on the reefs.
  • Fall Season (September – November): This is the start of the eight-month lobster season and also the peak of hurricane season. One the average, there are only 1.75 storms that make landfall every year so you should be ok, but it doesn’t hurt to check the weather before going.

Why You Have to Try Diving in Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale is a world-class tourist destination for romantic getaways, delicious food, elegant nightlife, fabulous shopping, and beachside resorts. You’ll want to stay for weeks on end. With the long reef-line and wide assortment of wrecks, you will be able to dive a different destination every day. It’s truly the best of both worlds.

Helpful diving links:


Disclosure: This post was written in partnership with our sponsor, Pompano Dive Shop. As always, the views and opinions expressed are entirely our own, and we only recommend brands that we 100% stand behind.

Our dang good guide to Fort Lauderdale Scuba Diving describes dive sites from Boca Raton (Southern Palm Beach County) to Dania Beach (Northern Dade County) and all of Fort Lauderdale / Broward County in between. Take some time to click around our interactive map, loaded with site descriptions, links, photos, and even a few videos. #Scuba #FortLauderdale #Diving #Florida #ScubaDiving

We have put together a dang good guide to Fort Lauderdale Scuba Diving outlining our picks for the 10 best dives from Boca Raton to Dania Beach and all of Fort Lauderdale / Broward County in between. Be sure to click in to see the interactive map, loaded with site descriptions, links, photos, and videos. #Scuba #FortLauderdale #Diving #Florida #ScubaDiving

Fort Lauderdale is a world-class tourist destination for romantic getaways, delicious food, elegant nightlife, fabulous shopping, and beachside resorts. With the long reef-line and assortment of wrecks, you will be able to dive a different destination every day. Here's of top 10 dives from north to south. #Scuba #FortLauderdale #Diving #Florida #ScubaDiving

We are excited to share our journey with you

Subscribe to receive our latest posts by email



Newsletter Signup


Share on pinterest
Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on reddit
Share on email

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Travel Responsibly

Here at Coleman Concierge, we encourage everyone to travel responsibly and believe there is potential for tremendous good for the world following that ethos. There is also the potential for horrific consequences from irresponsible travel.

Before you go, please check out the latest CDC recommendations for travelers.

Even if you can’t physically explore the world, we hope that you enjoy the escape our site provides. Keep your spirits up and your hands clean. There will be a time to travel soon enough.

Meet Ed & Jenn

Hi! We are Jenn and Ed Coleman, and together we are Coleman Concierge. It is our goal to inspire you to get out, expand your world, and to seek adventure, even in your own backyard.

We deeply believe in the transformational power of travel. Our tagline is amazing adventures for ordinary people because we believe that you don’t have to be super rich, super fit or super anything to have an amazing adventure. Expanding your comfort zone and trying new things will pay huge dividends in both health and happiness.

We advocate for sustainable and ethical travel and truly believe in the power of travel to transform both ourselves as well as the world around us.


Get our latest travel tips and posts straight to your inbox and start planning your next adventure.

Newsletter Signup

Proud Media Members of:

North American Travel Journalists Association

Adventure Travel Trade Association

International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association

Society of American Travel Writers

Impact Travel Alliance

Your Journey Begins Today

Get our latest travel tips and posts straight to your inbox and start planning your next adventure.

Newsletter Signup