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The Florida Keys & Key West

The Florida Keys & Key West The Florida Keys & Key West The Florida Keys & Key West

Florida Keys Diving & Snorkeling

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.

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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 shipwrecks and intricate natural coral formations. We have shallow reefs for snorkelers, and a range of deeper reefs for experienced divers.

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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.

Let the Ocean Be Your Classroom

Learn To Dive in the Florida Keys

The ocean is a world of color and quiet, exploration and discovery. One of nature’s greatest wonders is a living coral reef, and the only one in the continental United States parallels the 126-mile length of the Florida Keys. What better place to learn to scuba dive? Continue

Diving Feature

Dive the Spiegel Grove Wreck

The 510-foot Spiegel Grove, a retired U.S. Navy Landing Ship Dock, is the largest ship ever intentionally sunk to cultivate a coral reef. The vessel was sunk on June 10, 2002, and was opened to the public on June 24, 2002. More

For your next Florida Keys scuba or snorkeling vacation

Coral Reef Protection Tips

  • 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.

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  • 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.

Blue Star Operator - Committed to Coral Conservation

  • Blue Star is a program established by Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary recognizing tour operators who are committed to promoting responsible and sustainable diving and snorkeling practices to reduce the impact of these activities on coral reefs in the Florida Keys. Blue Star operators take the extra step to educate you to be better environmental stewards and to interact responsibly with coral reefs in the Keys.

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  • 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.
  • To learn more about spearfishing regulations, download this PDF.

  • To learn more about saltwater fishing regulations in the Florida Keys, visit MyFWC.com, the website of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
  • To learn more about popular game fish species, visit our fishing section.

Lobster Mini-Season 2017 Advisory

Safe Boating Tips and Lobster Regulations

Officers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will be at work during the 2017 Lobster Mini-Season to ensure that safe boating and lobster regulations are obeyed.

Mini-Season dates are scheduled the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday of July each year. The 2017 dates are July 26-27, 2017.

Call (305) 809-4700, (305) 852-7717 or visit floridakeys.noaa.gov for information about no-take areas in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. We encourage you to learn more with these resources:

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