Pompano Beach, Florida

Airports: Pompano Beach is accessible by flying into either PBI (Palm Beach International Airport (PBI), Fort Lauderdale International Airport (FLL, 45 Min South), or Miami International Airport (MIA, 90 Min South). Orlando International Airport (MCO) is 3 hours Northwest.

Currency: Pompano Beach is part of the United States, and therefore uses the US Dollar.

Climate: Pompano Beach 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.

Dive Landscape:

Wrecks:

Miller Lite :  A 186-foot Freighter was sunk in 164 feet of water on May, 17 1987 off Pompano Beach, FL. It should be emphasized that although parts of the Miller Lite are in recreational diving depths, this wreck should only be visited by properly trained, experienced divers. In 1957 a German refrigerator cargo vessel was commissioned the Mini-horn. She was in service for almost 30 years before her demise.

Union Express:  Lat 26 14.42 Lon 80 03.51 Location: 1 1/2 miles due east of the Pompano Pier on the outside edge of the third reef. About 1,000 feet north of the Rodeo 25.  A 170-foot Dutch coastal freighter sits on her side broken into two major pieces, bow and stern, in 110 feet of sand facing north. The vessel spent its short life in the northern seas; then later carried food in the Caribbean and down the South American coast. She was confiscated by the U.S. Customs, for running drugs, and later purchased to become an artificial reef.

Copenhagen:  Lat 26 12.349 Lon 80 05.108 Location: About 1/2 mile due east of the large blue water tower on Pompano Beach. 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 outside of Pompano Beach. She was carying a cargo of coal to Havana at the time of mishap. This is one of Florida’s favorite historical shipwreck dives. On May 20 1900, the vessel departed Philadelphia, PA, bound for Havana, Cuba, and laden with 5,000 tons of coal and a crew of 26. As the vessel passed the lighthouse, Captain William Jones estimated the ship’s position as about one and three- quarter miles offshore and ordered a change in course to SSE to keep the ship at least a mile and a half offshore as it passed by West Palm Beach. At around 4:20 am, Captain Jones retired, leaving the chief officer in charge. He left instructions the keep the vessel one and half mile offshore. There was no indication of what was about to happen to the steamship. The steamer SS Copenhagen was built in Sunderland, England, and launched in February 1898. The steel hulled ship was 324 feet long, 47 feet wide and more than 25 feet deep. Like many of the ship built in the late 1800s, the vessel was built with an inner and outer hull. At around 9:00 am on May 26, the vessel suddenly crashed hard into the Pompano Drop-off, an eastern facing ledge that rises to 15 feet from the surface. The ship’s engines were immediately ordered stopped. Captain Jones ordered full
reverse. The engines kicked into reverse but the ship didn’t move. In the attempt to free the vessel, a large anchor was deployed to no avail. Two days later, a salvage ship showed up to help unload the cargo and to try to pull the Copenhagen from its predicament.

The loss of the ship was valued at $250,000 and the remaining cargo was valued at $12,500. Jones was found to be at fault for the incident. Examiners found that he did not employ proper navigation and that he did not use his sounding lead. A sounding lead is a device that ships used to determine the depth of the water. Because of his willingness to cooperate during the investigation and his excellent work record, his master certificate wasn’t revoked. The wreck of the Copenhagen was visible above the water for more than 40 years. The site was used for target practice by navy fighters stationed nearby. In June 1994, the site was named as Florida’s fifth underwater archaeological preserve. A plaque commemorating this distinction is next to a large limestone boulder just to the south of the wreck. Even though the site is ideal for the novice diver, many experienced divers have had a wonderful time exploring the Copenhagen.

Capt. Dan:  Lat 26 13.857 Lon 80 03.960 Location: Just south of the Jay Dorman Artificial Reef. 1 1/2 miles from shore, just outside the third reef line. The 175-foot Coast Guard buoy tender Hollyhock was sunk on February, 20 1990 in memory of Capt Dan Garnsey, a long time Broward County resident and owner of the drift fishing boat Helen S. Garnsey who died in the year the Captain Dan was placed on the bottom. This ship spent most of her 53 years career as the Coast Guard buoy tender Hollyhock. The sinking was delayed for more than a month because, ironically, the high seas caused by January storms were too rough to sink a ship.

Lowrance:  Lat 26 13.202 Lon 80 03.640 A 420-foot Freighter was sank in 210 feet of water on March,31 1984. It was sunk as an artificial reef.   Most of its superstructure has been dismantled or cut away. Fished hard for many years, thousands of yards of monofilament cover almost every inch of the wreckage. Extreme caution and a good set of cutting tools are a requirement for this dive. Renamed several times, her last name before becoming an artificial reef was the Mason.

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.

Reef Diving:  Pompano Beach 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.

 

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