Ft Lauderdale, Florida
Airports: Fort Lauderdale is accessible by flying into either Fort Lauderdale International Airport (FLL, 45 Min South), PBI (Palm Beach International Airport (PBI), or Miami International Airport (MIA, 90 Min South). Orlando International Airport (MCO) is 3.5 hours Northwest.
Currency: Ft Lauderdale is part of the United States, and therefore uses the US Dollar.
Climate: Ft Lauderdale 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.
Qualmann Tugs: This dive site has two old 32′ pusher tugs and 3 more dredge pipe pontoons. It is just north of the Jay Dorman Artificial Reef. Two 32-foot tugboats were also sunk in December 1984 in 80 feet of water. Just 40 feet south of the tugs is the 85-foot schooner Alfa. Twenty feet NW from Tugs is a 50-foot Mathis Motor yacht sunk in 1986 in 82 feet of water. About 30 feet north are two dredge pontoons and a nearby hull of a 34-foot vessel.
RSB-1: A 160-foot US Tender was sunk in 120 feet of water, with the bow facing North, on May 14, 1994. There are large holes in the hold making this an easy wreck to penetrate. With the deck at 90 feet and the sand at 110 feet this is a good dive to do on Nitrox.
RBJ Wreck: On May 18, 1986, the 130 U.S. Army dredge Corey N. Chris was sunk as an artificial reef as part of the Broward County artificial reef program. Later, on May 15, 1988, the Ronald B. Johnson, a 226 freighter, was to be sunk in close proximity to this vessel. At the time of the scuttle there were strong currents and things did not go as planned. The ship was sunk in 260 feet of water.
Tracy: The Tracy was sunk in 1998 in 70′ of water, and lies upright . It was attached to the Scutti by a chain where with a well planned dive it is possible to see both wrecks. Ken Vitale was well known instructor that died of a heart attack after a dive. The wreck has a plaque honoring this well liked local diver.
Rodeo 25: Lat 26 13.878 Lon 80 03.813 Located 1-1/2 due east of the Pompano Pier on the outside of the third reef. The 215-foot twin-masted Dutch freighter, Windward Trader, was sunk in May 1990 to celebrate the Pompano Beach Fishing Rodeo’s 25th anniversary. This Dutch freighter was built in 1956. She is 215 feet long and has a 33 foot beam. She was sunk while almost 100,000 spectators watched.
Guy Harvey: Lat 26 12.647 Lon 80 03.944 A 175-ft Freighter was sunk in 145 feet of water on May,18 1997. This is definitely an advanced dive. Visitors will be treated to a viewing of Guy Harvey’s paintings of shark and others game fish on the side of the wreck. Although it’s only been down since May of 1997, Barracudas hogfish and some nice size lobster have claimed it as their home.
Rebel: Lat 26 10.253 Lon 80 04.332 Location: Five miles from Port Everglades Cut, just outside the third reef line, approximately a mile and a half from shore. During the summer of 1985, a 150-foot Norwegian freighter, built in 1947, was placed on the sea floor to become another spectacular artificial reef site. Her original name Andrea was changed to the Rebel. It was purchased by Fort Lauderdale lawyer and donated to the Artificial Reef Program. The generous benefactor named the wreck after his dog. This open wreck is easily penetrated and has a lot of soft coral with numerals bait fish being chased by schools of Jacks . The maximum depth is 110 feet and the wheel house around 85 feet. It is just outside of the 3rd reef.
Mercedes: Lat 26 09.370 Lon 80 04.513 Location: Approximately 4 miles north of the Port Everglades Cut, in line with the outside edge of the third reef. The Mercedes, a 198-foot freighter, was beached during a storm on November 23, 1984. She came to rest near the ocean side pool of a Palm Beach socialite. The ship was sunk in 90 feet of water.
Hog Heaven: Lat 26 09.102 Lon 80 04.786 Located approximately one mile offshore. In September 1996, a 180-foot barge flipped upside down while being deployed as an artificial reef. She rests in 65 feet of water. Just to her south are 1,200 ft of dredge pipe and concrete bridge beams placed in 1988. Thirty feet north are the remains of the Pacific Reef Lighthouse, and a small sail boat. Two hundred feet NNE rests the 120-foot barge Wayne in 70 feet of water.
Jim Atria: Lat 26 09.520 Lon 80 04.760 Location: Four miles north of the Port Everglades Cut just outside the third reef line. In September 1987, the Broward County Artificial Reef Program sank the 240-foot Dutch freighter Poinciana, on her port side, in 110 feet of water. The name was changed to Jim Atria, after Jim Atria who is a Broward County developer, diver and sport fisherman. Atria played a major role in having the ship sunk, his way of thanking the community that had been so good to him over the years. In 1992, Hurricane Andrew moved the ship more than 1/4 mile offshore, sitting upright in a depth of 132 feet. Her 2 masts are intact, rise to 70 feet, the highest point of the wreck and are covered by various corals and sea fans, providing great photo opportunities when ascending from the main deck. Other beautiful spots for memorable shots are the corner of the main deck as it meets the wheelhouse on the starboard side which, in itself is covered with staggering growth, and several open hatches adorned with tremendous growth. Wreck divers are invited to explore the inside of several openings at the wheelhouse at 95 feet. For the naturalist, Black Groupers, and Hogfish can be found under the hull at the sand, Glassy Sweepers and Squirrelfish in the cargo hold, thousands of Snappers and Grunts hiding in nooks, schools of Barracuda hovering as you descend and Amberjacks speeding through thousands of swimming baitfish above. Seventeen years of growth has made for a beautiful site, teeming with sea life, a favorite among local divers.
Tenneco Tower (Shallow): Location:. Just 1.5 miles offshore, off Hallandale Beach to the north, near the Dade/Broward County line, these old oil rigs provide a unique and popular dive site. Sunk in 1985, the five sections are former oil drilling platforms, the second reef established and donated by the Tenneco Oil Company (the first is 22 miles southeast of Pensacola). The reef consists of two complete production platforms previously situated 75 miles southwest of Morgan City, Louisiana as well as the drilling deck of another platform that was 90 miles southwest of the city. Tenneco brought the towers 920 miles by barge, around the Florida Keys. The structure weighs more than 912 tons and has a total surface area of 100,000 square feet. The tiers are completely covered by a vast array of sponges, gorgonians and invertebrates. The brilliance of all the colors makes for some spectacular photographs. The three sections within safe diving limits lie at a depth up to 115 feet, rising to within 65 feet of the surface and range in size from 25 to 40 feet. Most divers plan a multilevel profile to get the most out of the site. Bull sharks, amberjacks and other large fish are seen in virtually every dive. It’s also a great night dive, thanks to the abundant marine life and coral growth.
Tenneco Tower (Deep): Lat 25 58 901 Lon 80 04 799 The deeper two sections were placed for fishery resources and one rests in about 205 feet and another at about 185 feet of Water. They were sunk in October of 1985. We now find thousands of different fishes including giant Goliath Grouper, Turtles and many more schools of pelagic, Bonitas, Great Amberjack, Tarpon, Reef Sharks and Bull Sharks. The relief for all of these sections is about 50 feet and they are easily found with a standard depth finder or good land mark. This is an excellent site for Tech divers diving with Trimix.
Reef Diving: Ft Lauderdale has the same reef structure that runs from Miami to Palm Beach County. Popular sites are:
Suzanne’s Reef: Lat 26 14.49 Lon 80 04.89
Located on the first reef line, about a quarter mile offshore, and 3/4 of a mile north on the Pompano Pier, and the same distance south of the Hillsboro Inlet. Depths vary from 10 to 18 feet on Suzanne’s reef, with the ledge from one to five feet in height. The outflow from the inlet often lowers visibility in the area, especially during outgoing tide.
Pompano Third Reef Ridge: Lat 26 13.66 Lon 80 04.17
Located 1-1/2 miles east-southeast of the Pompano Pier and straight out from the blue water tower. Visibility is usually good along the outside edge of the reef line. It is a popular area for underwater photography. Basket sponges line the top of the ridge, while multicolored sea fans, sea whips and other soft corals cover the outer edges. Grouper, barracuda, and chubs swim through the undercuts. This area can be subject to strong currents at times, so use caution.
Pompano Ledge Moorings: North – Lat 26 14.05 Lon 80 04.95 South – Lat 26 11.05 Lon 80 05.09
Located about 1/2 mile due east of the large blue water tower on Pompano. The site is marked by 34 moorings. This large, flat, rocky reef starts just 15 feet below the surface, and drops to just over 30 feet on the outside. Like most of the areas close to shore, visibility can be poor, but, when conditions are right, this is a hot dive and there is little problem with currents. There are plenty tropical fish, including a large colony of sailfin blennies living in rocks on the sand just east of the ridge.
Copenhagen: Lat 26 12.349 Lon 80 05.108
About 1/2 mile due east of the large blue water tower on Pompano. Scattered wreckage lies between Pompano Ledge buoys # 3& 4. The 325-foot single screw steamer Copenhagen was built in 1898 just two years before she ran aground on the rock ledge out from Pompano. She was carrying a cargo of coal to Havana at the time of mishap. This is one of Florida’s favorite historical shipwreck dives.
Hall of Fame Moorings: North Lat 26 11.68 Long 80 05.08 South Lat 26 11.43 Lon 80 05.11
Located 6 miles north of Port Everglades Cut. Just out from and slightly north of the Angling Pier at Lauderdale-by-the-Sea. It is a nice ledge system marked by nine buoys. Depths vary from 15 on top to 30 feet in the sand. There are plenty of ledges and undercuts to hide an abundance of sea life.
Anglin Pier Ledge: Lat 26 11.3928 Lon 80 04.3609
Located 6 miles north of Port Everglades Cut. 1 ¼ miles out from Angling Pier at Lauderdale-by-the-Sea. A nice section of ledge on the third reef line with depths to 60 feet. Plenty of fish make their home here, along with sea turtles, morays and lobster.
Oakland Ridge Moorings: North – Lat 26 09.47 South Lat 26 09.02 Lon 80 05.39
About 3 miles north of the Port Everglades Inlet. A series of 15 moorings mark an excellent ledge in 18 to 28 feet of water. Several caves filled with glassy sweepers and Snook often rest under ledges here.
Osborne Artificial Reef: Lat 26 08.81 Lon 80 05.00
Located 1-1/4 miles east of Sunrise Boulevard. This large artificial reef is made up of wreckage of an old 60-foot barge, tires and concrete erojacks and culverts. Osborne, established in the 1970′s is a well developed marine ecosystem. It supports an abundance of fish life.
The Caves North – Lat 26 07.75 Lon 80 05.46 South – Lat 26 07.48 Lon 80 05.51
Located about 2 miles north from the Port Everglades Inlet. A system of 16 moorings mark a broken ledge varying in depth from 20 to 30 feet.
Erojack Reef: Lat 26 05.88 Lon 80 05.00
Located east of the Yankee Clipper Hotel, one mile north of the Port Everglades Inlet. A huge pile of four-foot concrete jacks runs east and west in 15 to 20 feet of water, creating a home for a multitude of sea life. An advanced life cycle has developed within the long pile. Be sure to check out the surrounding patch reef and sand flat communities for a different set of marine creatures.
Spotfin Reef: Lat 26 05.88 Lon 80 05.00
Located one mile from the beach on the third reef, 1-1/4 miles northeast from the Port Everglades Inlet. This is a very pronounced ledge, starting in 50 feet of water and dropping to 65 feet in the sand. The ledge is picturesque, with caves and crevices. The area is covered with a large variety of soft and hard corals.