Diving the Reefs
Take the time to prepare for your trips to reef sites. This will ensure that you and your companions remain safe while out on the water.
Diving tips for reef sites:
- Always file a float plan so that others know where you are in case of an emergency
Example of a float plan: http://a0700905.uscgaux.info/uscgfloatplan.pdf
- Make sure your vessel is in proper working order and that all U.S. Coast Guard-required safety equipment is on aboard including life vests for all passengers
Obtain list of required safety equipment by visitng http://a0700905.uscgaux.info/equiplist.htm
- Be mindful of what the weather is doing; conditions in the Gulf of Mexico can change rapidly. For more information on weather and tide conditions
For tide conditions, visit http://a0700905.uscgaux.info/weather.htm
In case of an offshore emergency, call 911 and contact the U.S. Coast Guard via
channel 16 on VHF radio.
With the popularity of artificial reefs by so many users, the potential for user conflict may arise. Be courteous and considerate of other boaters when visiting the reefs to avoid possible conflicts.
All boats diving or snorkeling in Florida waters must display a Florida “diver down” flag (pictured below).
The flag must be at least 20” in height. Divers are responsible for staying within 100 feet of their own vessel. When not actively engaged in dive operations, the flags must be lowered.
Other important facts to know:
- Approach a reef area slowly when other boats are in the vicinity
- If there is already a boat anchored over the site you want to use, try to hail the vessel on channel 16 and express your desire to share the site.
- Reefs operate on a first-come first-serve basis, so if someone else is unwilling to share a spot with you, have a couple of back up diving sites to fall back on.
- Many artifical reef sites are compiled of multiple piles of material within the permitted boundaries. Take the time to learn the layout of each reef and this will maximize your experience on the water.
Local Dive Shops:
ScubAdventures - http://www.scubadventureslc.com/
ScubaMarco - http://www.scubamarco.com/
Scuba Outfitters- http://scubaoutfittersnaples.com/