Florida Keys Scuba Diving & Snorkeling
|Key Largo||Islamorada||Marathon||Big Pine & Lower Keys||Key West|
The 120-mile Florida Keys island chain is home to the continental United States' only living-coral barrier reef. This teeming backbone of marine life runs the length of the Keys about five miles offshore and offers Florida Keys scuba diving vacation memories that last a lifetime.
Our coral formations are famous for their abundance of fish, from impressive schools of blue-striped grunts to toothy green moray eels. The U.S. government established the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary to protect our marine habitat.
Preserving the reef is a top priority for a good reason. There is no more versatile marine destination in the world. We have coral-encrusted ship wrecks and intricate natural coral formations. We have shallow reefs for snorkelers, and a range of deeper reefs for experienced divers.
Most dive sites are equipped with convenient mooring buoys to save the reef from anchors and make it easy for boaters to tie off. Most sites are a short boat ride from our islands, where dozens of highly professional dive operators are ready to cater to you.
Once you visit the Keys, you'll see why some of the some of the most renowned dive photographers and writers in the world make this their home base.
Watch and discover why the Florida Keys is the Dive Capital of the World (View in HD)
Tips for Your Next Florida Keys Scuba or Snorkeling Vacation
Tips for your dive or snorkel trip dedicated to the protection of coral reefs
- Ask about the weather conditions. Poor visibility, strong winds & surge from waves reduce safe interaction at the reef.
- Remember that even the lightest touch with hands, fins or other dive and snorkel equipment can damage sensitive coral polyps, the small living animals that make up the hard and soft corals at the reef.
- Snorkelers should wear buoyancy control or snorkel vests to allow gear adjustments without standing on the coral.
- Avoid contact with the ocean bottom; properly weighted divers should practice proper buoyancy control. Sandy areas that appear barren may support new growth if left undisturbed.
- Please don't feed the fish; it destroys their natural feeding habits, and avoids any potential injury to you or the marine life.
- Remember, it's illegal to harvest coral in Florida.
- If you dive or snorkel on your own, be aware of reef mooring buoys to use instead of anchoring a boat; many dive and snorkel sites are located within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, and anchoring in these Sanctuary Preservation Areas (SPA) is prohibited.
- Whether freediving or on scuba, spearfishing enthusiasts (also referred to as "spearos") can find many spots for spearfishing opportunities, although there are regional zones that are protected from fishing within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Download a PDF with regulations for spearfishing. For more information on popular game fish species, visit www.fla-keys.com/fishing and click here to learn about saltwater regulations in the Florida Keys.
Tour The Reef With Photographer Stephen Frink
Scuba divers have so many choices in the Keys that figuring out which reef areas to visit can be daunting. Five miles offshore from the Florida Keys lies a string of natural coral reefs and shipwrecks. First, imagine you've arrived in South Florida in time for the weekend and you're ready to get your Florida Keys scuba diving vacation started. Read More…
Diving America's Historical Island Paradise
The spirit of marine conservation in the Florida Keys was first expressed nearly 30 years ago when politicians and scientists became concerned about the coral collection and spear fishing that threatened to decimate the pristine reef system off Key Largo. Miami Herald newspaper columnist John Pennekamp led the way with a series of stirring calls for conservation. With overwhelming public support, Florida officials established John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park America's first underwater marine preserve. Read More…
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