Boca Raton, Florida
Airports: Boca Raton is accessible by flying into either PBI (Palm Beach International Airport (PBI, 30 Min North), Fort Lauderdale International Airport (FLL, 20 Min South), or Miami International Airport (MIA, 90 Min South). Orlando International Airport (MCO 3 hours Northwest).
Currency: Boca Raton is part of the United States, and therefore uses the US Dollar.
Climate: Boca Raton enjoys year round warm weather with average winter highs in the mid 70s, and average lows in the mid 60s. The normal water temperatures are from the mid 80s to the mid 70s. The coldest months will average in the low 70s.
Language: English is the official language of the United States.
Sea Emperor: Lat 26 19.460 Lon 80 03.689 Location: Approximately a mile and a half southeast of the Boca Inlet. A 171-foot barge rests upside down in 72 feet of water. The east side is littered with drainage pipes. Sea emperor off Hillsboro Beach, is the ultimate interactive wreck dive. Just to the East of the wreck lies a huge 1,600 ton pile of concrete piping that has attracted thousands of fish in the few short years since its sinking. These culverts were originally supposed to sit on top of the wreck. When the Sea Emperor sank, however, the barge flipped over, spilling all the concrete pieces onto the sand. These pieces provide homes to a multitude of crabs, shrimp and other critters, offering divers an opportunity to see some of the most diverse sea life in the area. It’s not the wreck itself or the prolific small critters that attracts so many divers to the site, it’s the wreck’s larger inhabitants that provide the big trills. Currently, divers can expect to interact with as many as nine Southern Stingrays in the same manner as at world famous Stingray City in the Cayman Islands. Several dive operators offer a feeding interactive dive with Southern Stingrays, Green Moray Eels, Nurse Sharks and Goliath Grouper at the Sea Emperor wreck site.
Noula: Lat 26 19.290 Lon 80 03.459 Located one mile offshore, ENE of the Deerfield Pier on the Broward/Palm Beach County Line. A steel-hulled Danish freighter was built in 1939 as the Dana Land and sunk in July 12, 1988. She was 114 feet long, had a 23 foot beam and an eight foot draft and now sits in 74 feet of water. She was sold in 1954 and renamed Trelan then Kormad; after being seized by the federal government in a drug case, the vessel was purchased by a joint committee from the Palm Beach and Broward County reef programs; she was then sunk as an artificial reef. In August 1992 Hurricane Andrew tore the vessel into three pieces. Now, the Noula sits upright and still has her bronze propeller mounted to her. Her main deck is at 65 feet and the pilot house is at 50 feet. A little one man submarine, which was also used by drug dealers, sits off the Noula’s bow.
Hydro Atlantic: Lat 26 19.500 Lon 80 03.043 On December 7, 1987, a ship of huge proportions sank in a storm just one mile east of the Boca Raton Inlet. The ship was being towed to Brownsville, Texas where it was to be salvaged. Instead it sank and was discovered one month later by Captain David Turbeville. Today the Hydro Atlantic is considered to be one of the 10 best dives in the United States. Lying in 172 feet of water, the 320 foot long freighter is a real ship wreck, not a diver prepared, artificial reef wreck. A huge crane stands mid ship, with one of the ship’s main anchors at its base. The winch is still on the bow and the engine is still in the engine room. Her deck is still crowded with equipment with pipes that traverses the old hull from one pump to another and cranes and giant winches still laden with cables.
Miracle of Life: Lat 26 19.162 Lon 80 03.198 Lat (Bow) Lat 26 19.180 Lon 80 03.195 (Stern) A 170-foot off-shore supply Vessel was sunk in 142 feet of water on June, 06 2009. It was sunk as an artificial reef, most of its superstructure has been dismantled or cut away to make safe for divers. The top of wheelhouse is about 100 feet and the next level, where the statue of angel 14 feet tall weighting 3500 Lbs made of bronze, is about 110 feet deep. The deck of the vessel is at 120 feet. Wreck penetration is only for experienced and trained divers. This dive is deep and all trained recreation divers should not exceed 130 feet. The suggest mix for this site is 28% Nitrox.
United Caribbean: The United Caribbean is a 147-foot steel cargo ship, sunk as part of the Palm Beach Artificial Reef Program, in August 22, 2000. It is just a mile south of the Boca Raton Inlet and 3/4 mile off the coast at a depth of 70 feet. The ship had been built in 1969 and had a Panamanian registry to operate only in waters around Singapore. By the early 1990′s, it was being used by smugglers to illegally ferry people and drugs. In 1993 the smugglers stuffed 300 people into cramped quarters in the belly of the freighter, all hidden under a tarp. The passengers, yearning to reach the United States, and paying smugglers $30,000 or more to be on board, were forced to subsist on a diet of rice, dirty water and spoiled food, as the ship sailed from Kenya in March 1993 to New York. The plan was for the crew of mostly Burmese and Indonesians to ram the ship into a bridge or dam so the passengers could escape to shore. But the crew instead steered it in circles until the vessel beached off of Queens. After a four month voyage, ten people died trying to swim to shore. It is sitting upright just 250 feet south of the wreck Sea Emperor. And an excellent site for advanced class (wreck divers) for penetration on the wheel house and the engine room. With the right training in underwater navigation and nitrox it is possible to see all three wrecks in the same dive : Noula Express, Sea Emperor and United Caribbean (Golden Venture).
Ancient Mariner: Lat 26 18.110 Lon 80 03.700 Location: Almost a mile offshore inside the third reef line. The former Coast Guard Cutter Nemesis served as a sub chaser during WW II; she was launched in 1934 from Point Pleasant, Virginia. The 337 ton, rivet steel ship was permanently stationed in St. Petersburg, where she served and protected Florida. Although not the fastest ship in the fleet, she was perfectly designed for search and rescue missions in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic. The constant battering of hurricanes kept the Nemesis busy picking up survivors from disabled and weather- beaten ships, and towing stricken vessels to safety. From 1934 to 1942, she saved hundreds of lives as well as millions of dollars in property. During World War II, the Nemesis was used for an entirely different purpose. As 1942 rolled in, German U-boats were putting tremendous pressure on commercial shipping off the coast of U.S. These warships targeted oil tankers making their way from Texas and South America. The cutter was used for hunting down Nazi subs. After the war, she was again stationed in St. Petersburg, until her decommissioning in 1964. In 1979, a local business bought the vessel and converted into a floating restaurant and bar. The owner ran into financial problems and sold the vessel.
Berry Patch: Lat 26 09.040 Lon 80 03.690 Formerly known as A.L. Spencer, a tugboat built in 1940, and sunk on August 15 of 1987 at a depth of 70′ feet. Her original name was A.L. Spencer and she was owned by Marcona Ocean Ind. She was originally used to tow sand laden barges from the Bahamas to Florida. It has a length of 65′ feet with a beam of 16.5′ feet. It is an excellent wreck to test your navigation skills on after doing the Ancient Mariner. According to the Broward County Artificial Reef Program, there is a 40’ steel boat hull and a 50’ steel houseboat lying 100 feet southwest of this wreck. The Berry Patch lies only 150 feet away from the Ancient Mariner.
Reef: Boca Raton has the same reef structure that runs from Miami to Palm Beach County. Popular sites are:
Shark Ledge: Lat 26 24.30 Lon 80 03.80
Approximately four miles north of the Boca Inlet. An impressive 15-to 20 foot ledge starting at 50 feet and dropping to 65 feet. This site has became popular because of the resident population of Caribbean reef sharks. A shark sighting can be expected on every dive.
Empty Theater Reef: Lat/Long: 26 27.904N & 80 02.657 W.
Located just off Boca Raton, at 140 feet, one quarter mile north of Boca Inlet. This is one of the deepest reefs in the area with ledge as High as 9 feet. The reef is only 70 yards long and has a peculiar passage on the North side where it has a 6 feet arch.
San Remo: Lat 26 22.48 Lon 80 03.34
Located approximately three miles north of the Boca Inlet with depths from 45 to 65 feet. Caves and overhangs attract an abundance of sea life. This is a hot night dive with plenty of invertebrates fish, octopuses and squid.
Boca North beach Ledge: Lat 26 21.939 Lon 80 03.289
Seaward of Boca Radar Tower, about 1 mile north of the Boca South Beach Pavilion. The North Beach Ledge is 10 to 15 feet long, in 60 feet of water. Sea whips, sea fans, sponges and hard corals are on top the ledge, while caves and overhangs provide food and cover for marine life. Moray eels grow to six feet here, and lobster a round during the winter months.
Boca Outfall Trench: Lat 26 21.020 Lon 80 03.320
Located approximately a mile due east of Palmetto Park Beach Pavilion. The trench is a man-made 10 to 15-foot east/west cut through the third reef line. Depths range from 45 to 70 feet on the inside ledge and 90 feet on the outside. Lobster, grouper, nurse shark and hogfish are common. This reef is noted for moray.
Boca Artificial Reef Ledge: Lat 26 19.680 Lon 80 03.589
Located just south of the Boca Inlet, approximately a mile offshore. This is a popular artificial reef area adjacent to natural rock ledges. Depth to the sand is 70 feet. Currents can be strong here!
Separated Rocks: Lat 26 18.780 Lon 80 03.979
Located South of Deerfield pier off the south end of the public Beach. It is a nice ledge on the second reef line providing an excellent cove for lobsters and morays. Depth is 45 feet to the sand and 40 feet on top of the ledge.
Hillsboro Ledge: Lat 26 18.042 Lon 80 04.096
Located 1 ½ miles north of the Hillsboro Inlet is a 5 to 8 ft ledge in depths from 34 to 40 feet. This is a great shallow dive.
Lafonte Reef: Lat 26 16.46 Lon 80 04.24
Located seaward off of the Hillsboro Landmark Condo, 1 mile north of Inlet. The top of this reef is in 35 feet of water and reaches to a sandy bottom at 45 feet. This is a nice beginner’s reef since it is relatively close to shore, easy to find, and contains an excellent variety of fish and invertebrate life. The inside edge is full of holes. Lobsters, snapper and grouper can be found.
Lighthouse Ledge: Lat 26 16.261 Lon 80 03.849
Located just northeast of the Hillsboro Inlet. Depths are 45 feet on top and 50 to 55 feet in the sand. This is a good spot for lobster and hogfish with plenty of tropical fish.