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BEACH DIVE

WORTH AVENUE PIER DEBRIS - RITZ-CARLTON PATCHES - GULFSTREAM PARK - DELRAY WRECK - RED REEF PARK - SOUTH INLET PARK - BOCA / DEERFIELD LINE - NORTH SIDE OF THE PIER DEERFIELD BEACH - SOUTH SIDE OF THE PIER  DEERFIELD BEACH - EMBASSY SUITES DIVE SITE DEERFIELD BEACH - COMMERCIAL Blvd. - SHIPWRECK SNORKEL TRAIL - VISTA VIEW PARK - YANKEE CLIPPER ROCKS - PARK REEFDANIA PIER EROJACKS - SEATECH LEDGE / DANIA BEACH

Before you head to beach for Snorkeling or Scuba check these links first.

Coastal Water Forecast

Deerfield Beach Pier WebCam

Boca Raton Inlet Webcam

Boca Raton S Bch Park WebCam

Know about Sea Lice

Be a Dan member - dive insurance (application link)

Dixie Diver's Fish Id

Florida State Fishing Regulations

Beach Warning Flags Familiarize yourself and your family with the new flag system, and the next time you visit the beach, look for the flags!

Double Red

Water closed to public

Single Red    

High hazard, high surf, strong currents

Yellow

Medium hazard, moderate surf and or currents

Green

Low hazard, calm conditions, exercise caution

Purple

Sea Pests -This flag can be flown in combination with either the single red or the yellow flag

WORTH AVENUE PIER DEBRIS

Who says you can't dive the pier?!! This a great dive or snorkel for beginners or the experienced. This is a great looking site for pictures or just to play with the Jacks, Cuda's, and Mangrove Snapper that inhabit this site.

 

RITZ-CARLTON PATCHES

A nice beginners spot for you to get used to your new gear is right in front of the Ritz-Carlton hotel. With mostly grass covered rocks this may not be the most spectacular site but many fish live here and they like it just fine. It usually has good visibility and with a depth of 5ft-8ft and being within the lifeguard protected portion of the beach that means no flag to drag along.

The Ritz-Carlton is located just south of East Ocean Ave on A1A. From 95 take Lantana Road  to US1 and go south to Ocean Ave then east to A1A. Cross over A1A and turn left into the public metered parking. Enter in front of the north edge of the Ritz and from here south are the best spots.

Wrasse, Doctor fish, Sergeant Majors, Blue Runners and Miniature High hats are numerous here. Remember no flag is needed because the reef is within the lifeguard protected area but that also means no scuba.

 

GULFSTREAM PARK

This is a great snorkeling site made from rocks piled as an artificial reef. Many fish and invertebrates call this spot home and is a great site for beginners to experts. With easy access, a shallow depth between 8ft to 12ft and being very close to shore this is a spot you'll want to put in your don't miss file. Many critters inhabit this site such as trigger fish, cowfish, needlefish, baitfish, angel fish, and barracuda to name just a few.

Parking here is free and the lot is open from 8am to sunset. Go east on Woolbright Rd from 95 to A1A then go south for about half a mile and the entrance will be on the left. There is a raised boardwalk and you should be able to see the dark patches of reef to the south in front of the rocky shoreline head for them but don't forget your dive flag because small boats have been known to run in to snorkel the site also. No scuba allowed but bring a camera your going to want photographic evidence for what you will see!

Showers, grills, picnic tables and restrooms make taking the family out for the day easy and convenient.

DELRAY WRECK

Beach Dive Location: 150 yards off the south end of Delrayís Public Beach. This steel-hulled freighter, sunk in the 1920ís, has become a very popular diving location that is excellent for the beginner. Many varieties of soft and hard corals have taken over the remains, which are now in three distinct parts. The parts can be located by sighting the dark shadows on the white sand bottom. Depths to the sand are 22 feet. Marco photography is excellent. This is a first class beach dive. Recent beach re-nourishment projects have raised the sand level around the area: however every time there is a strong easterly blow the wreckage reappears. Boat traffic is heavy, especially on the weekends. Be sure to fly your dive flag. 


   

RED REEF PARK

Lifeguard protected beaches offer a great way to snorkel a shallow site and not have the bother of carrying a flag and float. This is one such site. Eight feet of depth makes a great beginners site and with the half submerged rocks and artificial reef rubble pile the county placed some years back, many species of tropical fish have called this area home. A small nurse shark is known to lay near this pile to get a free cleaning for the juvenile fish and a resident barracuda is known to hang about.

From Hillsboro Blvd go to A1A and turn north, after a mile or so on the east side of the road will be the entrance to Red Reef Park. Parking fees are $10.00 dollars on weekends and $8.00 dollars on weekdays residents can buy an annual sticker.

Don't forget to check out the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center it is very good with aquariums and sea turtles! Located on the west side of A1A across from the entrance to Red Reef Park.

 

SOUTH INLET PARK

Snorkeling locations offer a chance to get up close and personal with many of the juvenile species in this area. A great spot to experience the mini wonders of our ocean is this location along the south side of the Boca Raton Inlet. It is about 10 ft deep near the end of the rock jetty where large rocks have settled with undercuts where lobster and fish like to shelter themselves from the surge. Also, a little south of these rocks are some flat coral patches with sea fans and some other soft corals. With a recently added rock barrier to protect the beach this site offers many nooks and crannies for the oceans babies to hide and grow.

      

View of new artificial reef from an airplane. Click the picture to enlarge.

Getting there is easy, if you are north of the inlet get to A1A and go south until you reach the Boca Raton Inlet Drawbridge. Once you go over the bridge there will be a stop light, the entrance to the park is just after, on your left. Parking fees are $2.00 on weekdays and $4.00 on weekends. You will want to park in one of the northernmost spaces because you will want to use the northern boardwalk to cross the dune to the beach. Fresh water showers and a picnic pavilion add a nice touch to this site. The park is open from sunrise to sunset so keep that in mind.

HISTORY OF BOCA RATON INLET.

Some things to keep in mind here are the rules of Palm Beach County Parks no diving is allowed, DO NOT SWIM NORTH AROUND THE END OF THE JETTY.  This would not only be foolish but it is also illegal. A nice dive flag and float would be a good idea because of the locals who like to fish this spot. You could fill your tackle box with the lures and sinkers that are snagged by the rocks here but be aware of (and nice to) the people fishing so we can all enjoy ourselves.

 

BOCA / DEERFIELD LINE DIVE SITE

  This is a great little spot right on the boarder of Boca Raton and Deerfield Beach. Described as relatively flat it actually has a one to two foot ledge at its northern most point. This site is also known for turtles especially April thru August.  The best parts of course are the juveniles that inhabit the grass beds here. All the species of the reef system pass by here to either make juvenile fish or eat them. From Sea Hares to Octopus, Walking lobsters to Sea Horses this site has them all. We use this site for our night dives where Pavan knows good spots to find the elusive reef octopus.

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  To start this dive youíll have to drop off some gear first and then park your car. This is easily done just follow A1A north from Hillsboro Blvd as you go you will pass the pier, a little farther ahead you will see the sign welcoming you to Boca Raton, stop! Drop your gear right there at the beach entry point and go park your car at the metered stations to your south or the valet in the nearby buildings. From that entry, if you swim straight out you will come across the reef in 8ft of water about half the length of the pier out. To the south will be rockier formations while to your north will be more grass and a 2ft ledge on the western side of the reef. At a depth of 12ft you will run out of reef. If you are experienced enough and bring with you the proper amount of air for your air consumption needs you could go straight out to the next reef in 40ft of water, but that is a long swim, so know your limits.

HISTORY OF BOCA RATON INLET.

View of new artificial reef from an airplane. Click the picture to enlarge. Dive flags are required at all times with divers under the water. Spear fishing is not permitted within 100yds of the beach.

NORTH SIDE OF THE PIER - DEERFIELD BEACH

  This site is only for night dives because the lifeguards will not let you enter the water in front of them. That puts you under their protection and they cannot see or help us, as far out as we go when scuba diving so donít argue with them. After nightfall park in the parking lot on the north side of the pier it is metered so bring money. Enter north of the pier and you will find this is the same reef as the Boca/Deerfield line site but this is the southern most point of the reef. At night this site offers some spectacular sights from the baby octopus Nicky found on his first night with us to the sea hare that took us three days to identify because of the rarity of that particular species. Do not forget your backup light, you do not want to miss out because you didnít want the extra weight.

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 Spearfishing is not allowed within 100 yards of the beach. Make sure you have a dive flag with you at all times. Donít forget to look under the ledges the fish like to hide from the surge and larger predators there. Make sure have enough coins for parking. Restrict to Beach night dive only. Remember diving under any pier in our area is forbidden (and foolish with all the people fishing from the pier) unless the pier is closed such as when the annual  Project AWARE beach and pier cleanups occur so when they happen come join us and see the wonderful sites these rarely visited place. Below is a slideshow of reef clean up done under the Deerfield Beach Pier.

   

SOUTH SIDE OF THE PIER - DEERFIELD BEACH

  This is one the best sites for training dives or just exploration dives. From training dives where Nicky and his class get an up close and personal fly-by from a 14ft manta ray or the school of tarpon that surrounded Pavan's class as curious about us as we are about them. To the common nurse shark that always likes a visit from her friends at Dixie. They all visit this one spot in Deerfield Beach. Lobsters are common when season approaches but the juvenile tropical fish of this area steal the show every time. Whether itís amberjack flashing thru a self made bait ball or when the mullet run and you are passed at incredible speed by a thousand small fish on their way south, we have never been to this site and not seen something to excite are friends with. When season permits this site is one of the easiest places to catch lobster for the beginner because of the ledge system here. Big enough to make the lobster stay and feel safe but small enough that they cannot back into a hole you cannot reach in. The site is vast going from just south of the pier all the way down to the Embassy Suites.

  This dive is much easier in regards to parking. Just follow Hillsboro Blvd East to A1A South next left and straight you will see the beach, follow the one-way road to the south as you go you will see the road end in a right hand turn to go around the Cove Beach Club condoís do not turn park right there in the metered parking as close to the Condoís as possible. We are not allowed to enter the water in front of the lifeguard towers so suit up at your car and walk to the rocks that separate the lifeguard side from the Condo side. Make your entry here and exit wherever you want. There are showers here behind the last lifeguard tower going north.

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Spearfishing is not allowed within 100 yards of the beach. Make sure you have a dive flag with you at all times. Donít forget to look under the ledges the fish like to hide from the surge and larger predators there. Make sure have enough coins for parking.

Remember diving under any pier in our area is forbidden (and foolish with all the people fishing from the pier) unless the pier is closed such as when the annual  Project AWARE beach and pier cleanups occur so when they happen come join us and see the wonderful sites these rarely visited place.

   

EMBASSY SUITES DIVE SITE - DEERFIELD BEACH

This is a great site if the parking for the south side of the pier is full. Known for its lobster hiding abilities this site has great potential during lobster season. The ledges are shallow but they go deep into the reef. Bring a long tickle stick and look really well under the ledges. Nurse shark, octopus and juvenile amber jack are common here. Pavan loves this spot where he and his classes have been befriended by a large reef octopus that seemed to go toward the divers as if curious who these invaders of his territory were.

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  Just drive around the condominiums and continue south on the beach road until the road stops in front of the Embassy Suites. Park in the metered parking, as far south as possible this way you will be closer to the stairs that lead to the beach.  There are showers here as well as an observation deck for the non-divers of your group.

  Your entry should be made south of the stairs from the observation deck. Enter the water past the rocks that show the property line for the condominiums. Once in the water about 200ft out the reef starts in 8í to 12í feet of water and ends in 12í to 14í feet of water.

  Spearfishing is not allowed within 100 yards of the beach, all divers must have a dive flag. Make sure have enough coins for parking.

COMMERCIAL Blvd.

     Just south of Commercial Blvd on Palm Ave there is direct access to a great ledge reef. Running north and south with a 4ft ledge this reef is 100ft from shore and is 8ft to 11ft to start and drops down to 15í if you continue swimming east about 200 more feet you come to a thin band of reef with more ledges. Metered parking is right there and make sure you fill it because there are many distractions to while-away your time on this site and donít forget your dive flag LAT/LONG 26 11.060N 80 05.585 W

These pictures are from under the Commercial Pier. The first three show the ledge formations and abundant coral growth while the bottom show some of are local marine life. Of particular interest is the manta ray pictured on the left thought to be rare in this area, we actually see these creatures on a semi-regular basis. They have been spotted on beach dives with students doing there first dives and on reef sites such as Angels Reef and the Copenhagen Wreck  off Ft. Lauderdale. Remember diving under any pier in our area is forbidden (and foolish with all the people fishing from the pier) unless the pier is closed such as when the annual  Project AWARE beach and pier cleanups occur so when they happen come join us and see the wonderful sites these rarely visited places offer.

 SHIPWRECK SNORKEL TRAIL

     Just one block south of Anglingís pier is a unique site built by the Marine Archeology Council and the South Florida Reef Research Team. From I-95 go to Commercial Blvd and go East. Go south on A1A to Datura Ave and go strait to the beach. Parking is strict here so bring your quarters and use them. Walk to sea wall and setup your kit, enter from this spot. Set up as an artificial 1800ís shipwreck all artifacts are within an area 100í x 20í. Authentic anchors, ballast stones, cannons and a variety of sea life have called this spot home now such as turtles eels and all manner of schooling reef fish.

Directions: Take Federal Highway (US 1) south to Commercial Highway.  Turn left to A1A (Ocean Blvd) and go south on A1A one block to the traffic light at Datura Ave.  Turn left.  Cross El Mar Drive and continue forward to the beach.

Parking: There are 12 spots and 1 Handicapped spot near the beach across from the Windjammer Building.  These are the best spots because they are closest to the beach and the shower, but they fill up fast!  There are 10 more spots back across El Mar Drive (6 on north side, 4 on south side). All meters take quarters.  One quarter is 15 minutes.

Other: There is a covered bench and a seawall where you can set up gear near the shower before entering the beach.  Since there is only one shower, some people bring buckets or pails in which to rinse gear, thereby making the shower more accessible to others.

 The Snorkel Trail itself lies slightly beyond (deeper) than the 2nd buoy south of the pier. Starting from the north to south, there are 2 cannon, then an anchor, then a pile of ballast and lastly more cannons.  East (deeper) beyond the snorkel trail and starting just before an imaginary line parallel to the end of the pier, lies a nice reef.  This reef continues south and peters out close to the third buoy south of the pier.  It continues north to and beyond the pier.  At the moment the pier is closed.  Current has been mild and slightly to the north.

 FOR SNORKELERS: Swim out on a direct line to the 2nd buoy south of the pier.  The bottom will be flat sand.  Once you pass the buoy, keep swimming straight and look down and you should see the cannons.  From there swim south in a straight line to see the other items on the Trail.  Once you have seen the last cannons, swim east (or deeper) until you reach the reef and follow it south to the 3rd buoy or back North to the 2nd buoy.  This reef starts a little before the depth of the end of the pier.

 FOR DIVERS: Gear up on the sea wall or bench and with fins and mask in hand, walk the short distance across the beach to the water.  It stays quite shallow for a ways, but once you submerge, take a heading due East or 90į.  Swim until you see the anchor (12 Ė 16 ft.).  The Snorkel Trail should be just beyond the buoy or slightly south of it.  Start with the cannons and follow the Trail south past the anchor, the ballast and the last cannons.  From here you can turn back east and head deeper to the first reef (16 Ė 20 ft.).  It has some very nice coral and many crevices to hide plenty of life.  Not being too deep, there is usually plenty of light. You can follow the reef south until it peters out (before the 3rd buoy) or head back north to the second buoy where you started the dive.  Deeper across a patch of sand lies a second reef, this one beyond the end of the pier.

 Marine life spotted:  Barracuda, Triggerfish, Grunts, Angelfish, Lizardfish, Squirrelfish and even a small Nurse Shark on one occasion. Spear fishermen have said hunting is better near and north of the pier.  They have caught lots of snapper.

 VISTA VIEW PARK

     If youíre around Oakland Park Blvd try this nice little reef site at vista view Park. Take A1A South from Oakland Park blvd until you get to NE 27th St. go East to N. Atlantic Blvd. Then turn North and a little way up on your right there is metered parking for the park. The entry is right there and goes out to a patch reef from 9ft to 18ft as you swim East. Lots of soft corals are here and many juvenile species hide from predators here. Park is open from 8am to 8pm. Yes, youíll need your dive flag so donít forget to stop by the dive shop for the little things that make every dive easier and remember to bring a cell phone as there are no lifeguards. LAT/LONG 26 09.803N 80 05.738W

 YANKEE CLIPPER ROCKS

     A good snorkel only spot is just south of Las Olas Blvd in front of the Yankee Clipper Hotel. This is a huge rocky area with thousands of holes, blocks and ledges and it starts very close to shore so itís easy for beginners. You will find many invertebrates corals and sponges along with many fish that protect themselves from the ocean currents in the nooks and crannies. Depths are from 6ft to 14ft as you go east. To get there from I-95 go East on Davie Blvd to US1 then go South. At SE 17th St Go East until SE 17th St turns North into A1A. Go North past the Yankee Clipper Hotel and then follow the signs to the public beach parking on the East side of A1A. Park as far South as possible. Parking fee is $6.00. Enter the water at the extreme south end and bring your dive flag or the life guards will not let you swim past the white buoy markers. LAT/LONG 26 06.645N 80 06.107W

 PARK REEF

    One of the best beach diving sites in the area is in John U. Lloyd Beach Park in Ft Lauderdale. On top of this 4ft to 6ft ledge is 9ft and it drops to 18ft at the deepest with deep undercuts on the southern side. Known for sea turtles, snapper, queen and blue angels and schools of parrot fish and grunts this site has it all. Plus, with all the undercuts it is a great spot for lobster. Diving and snorkeling are allowed and this beautiful park has lots of shade. From I-95 go East on Griffin Road till you get to US1 and go South. At Dania Beach Blvd go East over bridge and around circle follow the signs north for John U. Lloyd Beach. Enter park ($4.00) fee. Park in first lot on right. Follow the boardwalk to entry point. LAT/LONG 26 03.905N 80 06.375

 

 DANIA PIER EROJACKS

     A few hundred yards north of Dania pier and almost two miles south of the Port Everglades Inlet lay hundreds of concrete Erojacks placed as an artificial reef in very shallow water. This makes a great snorkeling or diving location as the depths run from 20ft in the sand to 10í to 12í on top of the Erojacks. The structures run east and west terminating into a shallow (12ft) reef that runs north and south. Many bottom dwellers lay under the Erojacks and larger schooling fish hide when chased by predators among its nooks and crannies. From I-95 go East on Griffin to US1 South to Dania Beach Blvd go over bridge and veer right exit the circle ramp into the public beach parking lot. Drive north to the end of the lot and drop off your gear and buddy and go back to park in the metered parking spots. Enter the water at the sign that says diving area and swim diagonally NE to the Erojacks and follow them east to the natural N/S running reef. LAT/LONG 26 03.774 N & 80 06.489 W

 

 SEATECH LEDGE / DANIA BEACH

     One of the highest, most incredible reef ledges within beach diving distance in South Florida is this ledge, deeply undercut and covered with coral and invertebrates in only 20ft maximum depth. From I-95 go East on Griffin to US1 South to Dania Beach Blvd go over bridge and veer right exit the circle ramp into the public beach parking lot park at the southern most spaces. Enter at southern edge of public beach. Donít forget your Dive Flag! LAT/LONG 26 03.119N 80 06.352W

 
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