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The Ultimate Guide To Scuba Diving In Fort Lauderdale

Imagine the thrill of swimming among vibrant coral reefs, exploring mysterious shipwrecks, and encountering fascinating marine life—all in one unforgettable destination. Welcome to scuba diving Fort Lauderdale, a paradise that offers diverse underwater experiences for divers of all levels.

Aerial view of Fort Lauderdale beach.
Don’t overlook Fort Lauderdale for some good diving and good times…even outside of Spring break.

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a first-timer, this coastal city has something for everyone. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the best of Fort Lauderdale’s underwater world, from top dive sites to special events and accommodations near the action.

Getting There And Accommodations

Getting to Fort Lauderdale and the beautiful waters of South Florida could not be easier. There are many direct flights right into Fort Lauderdale’s Hollywood International Airport. In fact, many travelers use this airport to get to the Keys.

A Mural of a boat underwater in the Fort Lauderdale airport.
The mural in the Fort Lauderdale airport lets you know you’ve arrived at a diving destination.

As for accommodations, you will be spoiled for choices. A couple spots that you might want to consider are Fort Lauderdale Stays and Serenity Place Rental Home. These are two excellent options that offer comfort and convenience for diving enthusiasts. With easy access to the city’s top dive sites and a range of amenities, these accommodations are the perfect home base for your underwater adventure.

A backyard of a rental home in Fort Lauderdale with a pool.
Fort Lauderdale Stays offers some nice choices to vacation near top dive sites. (Photo courtesy of Ft. Lauderdale Stays)

Fort Lauderdale scuba diving

Fort Lauderdale is usually where travelers fly to in route to some other diving destination, like Key Largo or Bimini. But it also boasts its own fantastic mix of exotic and familiar diving experiences, making it a sought-after destination for underwater adventurers. With numerous dive sites to explore, you’ll never run out of options to satisfy your scuba diving cravings.

A shipwreck underwater in Fort Lauderdale.
Wrecks, reefs and vibrant marine life equals good diverse diving in Fort Lauderdale. (Photo courtesy of visitlauderdale.com)

One of the unique features of Fort Lauderdale’s underwater world is the variety of artificial reefs, marine life encounters, and wreck diving opportunities. These elements come together to create an unparalleled diving experience that you’ll remember for a lifetime. Here’s an overview of each of these captivating features and some dive shops to help get you there.

Fort Lauderdale scuba diving Operations

There are many dive operations to choose from in Fort Lauderdale to suit all your scuba diving needs. Sea Experience is one of the most popular options in the area, offering a wide range of services for both beginners and experienced divers alike. From scuba training and skill tune-ups to dive trips and equipment rentals, this establishment has you covered.

A scuba diving boat in the waters of Fort Lauderdale.
From dive tips to glass-bottom boat tours, Sea Experience has you covered. (Photo courtesy if Sea Experience)

Sea Experience also offers glass-bottom boat tours, and scuba instruction, making it a one-stop-shop for all your underwater needs in Fort Lauderdale.

Some other local favorite dive shops include Under Sea Sports, Scuba Network, Lauderdale Diver and Force-E Scuba Centers. So pick your shop and get ready to hit the big blue!

Diving Sites of Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale boasts an underwater ecosystem teeming with an incredible variety of marine life. Get up close and personal with sea turtles, nurse sharks, and colorful reef fish as you drift dive through the warm Gulf stream current.

A sea turtle underwater.
If it’s sea turtles you want, then sea turtles you shall get in Fort Lauderdale.

Wreck Dives

Fort Lauderdale is known as the “Wreck Capitol of Florida,” thanks to the numerous shipwrecks that can be explored here. Ranging from shallow depths of 30 feet to more challenging depths of 300 feet, these shipwrecks cater to divers of all skill levels.

A scuba diver underwater next to a shipwreck in Fort Lauderdale.
Divers will find plenty of wrecks now serving as artificial reefs in Fort Lauderdale. (Photo courtesy of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea)

Whether the wreck met an unfortunate demise by accident or was purposefully sunk to create an artificial reef, wreck diving enthusiasts will not be disappointed. Below are a few of the more popular wrecks worth checking out.

SS Copenhagen

Perhaps one of the most famous wrecks in Fort Lauderdale’s waters is the SS Copenhagen. This Steel-hulled schooner sank in 1900 when she ran into a reef off of Pompano Beach.

SS Copenhagen before sinking, in the waters of Fort Lauderdale.
The SS Copenhagen in better days. (Photo courtesy of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea)

The Copenhagen was over 300ft long and remained on the reef for some time being used for target practice by US Navy pilots during WW II. Her remains are broken up in depths between about 16ft to 30ft, making her a good site for diving and snorkeling.

The Copenhagen can be done as both a shore and boat dive, just be aware of potential currents. In 1994 this wreck became part of the Florida Underwater Archaeological Preserve and in 2001 was added to the US Register of Historical Places. Make sure to bring your camera as the anchor makes for a great phot op.

A woman scuba diving next to the SS Copenhagen anchor underwater.
Make sure to get your picture with the anchor before you call your dive.
Jim Atria

The Jim Atria was sunk on purpose in 1987 to form an artificial reef. She was a 24ft long Dutch freighter built in 1961, but now is home to various marine life including black grouper, hogfish and squirrelfish.

A person scuba diving above the Jim Atria wreck.
The Jim Atria is a favorite advanced dive in Fort Lauderdale. (Photo courtesy of Sea Experience)

While originally sunk in shallower waters, she was moved to deeper waters after hurricane Andrew repositioned her in 1992. She now sits in about 130ft of water and is an advanced dive.

Fun fact, the wreck is named after a local diver that played a large part in getting her placed.

Ebenezer II

Despite the name, you won’t feel like you’ve been Scrooged on this wreck! sunk on purpose in 2002, the Ebenezer II is a 95ft long freighter that lies on her starboard side in about 70ft of water.

While one of the more recent wrecks, there is an abundance of macro marine life to be found here. Just in case you’re looking for even more marine life, this wreck lies on the Florida Reef Tract, which is third largest barrier reef in the world.

A map of the Florida reef tract.
The Florida Reef Tract is the third largest barrier reef in the world.

Other Dive Sites

Wreck divers don’t get all the fun. There are plenty of other attractions to see in Fort Lauderdale’s waters that will make any diver want to get wet.

Tenneco Towers

While not a wreck or a natural reef, Tenneco Towers offers something of a little different diving experience. These five oil platforms were sunk by the Tenneco Oil Company in 1985 to create an artificial reef. Mission accomplished as this is now the largest artificial reef in South Florida!

The three platforms within recreational dive limits range in depths between about 60ft and 110ft and are more for advanced divers. Plenty of soft coral can be found on the platforms, as well as aquatic life like sea turtles and hogfish.

A hogfish underwater in Fort Lauderdale.
The hogfish are frequent residents of Tenneco Towers.
Twin Ledges

Twin Ledges is a popular dive site located just off Fort Lauderdale Beach. This shallow reef system features two coral reefs filled with a massive selection of tropical reef fish.

With depths ranging from 15ft to 22ft, Twin Ledges is the perfect spot for both diving and snorkeling, offering a mesmerizing underwater experience for all skill levels. In addition to the fish look for sleeping nurse sharks, sea turtles and spiny lobster.

A nurse shark underwater in Fort Lauderdale.
You can find nurse sharks sleeping among the coral of Twin Ledges.
Hammerhead Reef

Fort Lauderdale scuba diving would not be complete without a trip to this favorite dive site. The depths here vary from 60ft to 90ft and is more of an advanced dive site.

As the reef runs for about two miles, this makes for a great drift dive to take in all there is to see. Beautiful coral formations will rise and fall before you as you view an abundance of sea life that makes the reef home.

An image of brain coral underwater in Fort Lauderdale.
It doesn’t take a genius to find the brain coral at Hammerhead Reef interesting.
Barracuda Reef

Continuing with reefs, let’s head over to another dive site favorite, Barracuda Reef. This also can be done as a drift dive, but is good for all level of divers as the depths range from 20ft to 35ft.

Among the multitude of marine life here hiding under and among the coral can be found moray eels, schools of grunts, angelfish, parrotfish and trumpetfish.

A trumpet fish underwater in Fort Lauderdale.
The Alien looking trumpetfish usually has a “gig” at Barracuda Reef.
The Erojax

Just off of Dania Beach is a rather unusual dive site called the Erojax or Jax. The name comes from the the numerous submerged 5ft tall jaxs that span about 1,500ft.

At 20ft deep, all level of divers and snorkelers can enjoy this site. A nice shore dive that will give you the opportunity to see spotted trunkfish, stingrays, nurse sharks and French angelfish.

A trunkfish underwater in Fort Lauderdale.
The flat bottom spotted trunkfish is always looking like it wats a kiss while swimming around Erojax.
Beach Diving

No boat, no problem. As you can see from some of the above dive sites, Fort Lauderdale is home to some fantastic beach diving spots. With beautiful coral reefs accessible from the shore, beach diving allows you to explore the underwater world without the need for a charter. simply bring your gear to the beach and dive in!

A pair of goggles and snorkel on the beach of Fort Lauderdale.
No shirt, no shoes and no boat is no problem as Fort Lauderdale has excellent beach diving.

Lauderdale-By-The-Sea and Hollywood, both located in Broward County, are two top beach diving locations in Fort Lauderdale, offering living coral reefs that are just short swims from the shore. Dive into the crystal-clear waters and marvel at the vibrant marine life that calls these reefs home.

Hollywood beach in Fort Lauderdale.
Beaches, like Hollywood, offer great shore diving in Fort Lauderdale.

From colorful corals and tropical fish to sea turtles and stingrays, you’ll be amazed at the underwater treasures waiting to be discovered. Remember when diving from shore to be mindful of currents and to have a float and flag.

Other Activities

While Fort Lauderdale scuba diving is great, there are other things to do to keep you busy in South Florida. Below are a few ideas, but for a more information you can check here.


BugFest is an annual event in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea that celebrates the Florida lobster mini-season with a week-long series of fun events for divers and non-divers. Taking place in late July, BugFest features diving and snorkeling activities, as well as various festivities on land.

A man holding up two lobsters.
The lobster game is afoot at BugFest! (Photo courtesy of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea)

Join fellow divers in this thrilling lobster chase and make lasting memories while exploring the depths of Fort Lauderdale’s underwater world. Non-dives can partake in the landlubber activities…and get the butter warmed up for the feast to come!

Riverboat Cruise

Looking to do some sightseeing by the water, then check out the Jungle Queen Riverboat. You can choose from a basic 90 minute cruise, or, for a more immersive experience, choose the Tropical Isle dinner and show.

An image of the jungle queen riverboat in Fort Lauderdale.
Travelers getting ready to see the sights of the “Venice of America.” (Photo courtesy of Jungle Queen Riverboats)

On these cruises you will head down New River and see the mansions and yachts along Millionaire’s Row. A great way to explore the area without getting wet.

Day Trip To Bimini

If you have your passport, you could travel over to Bimini, the most Western island of the Bahamas, for an exciting day of diving. Getting there is either done by seaplane or fast ferry, which takes about 2 hours.

The fast ferry in the waters of Fort Lauderdale.
Take the fast ferry over to Bimini for a day’s diving excursion.

You can find all sorts of great dives with Neal Watson’s Bimini Scuba Center located at Bimini Big Game Club Resort & Marina. They can take you over to the wreck of the Sapona, the Bimini Road (is it part of the famed Atlantis?) or, depending on the season, diving with hammerhead sharks!

Wrapping Things Up

In conclusion, Fort Lauderdale is a scuba diving paradise that offers a diverse range of underwater experiences for divers of all levels. From exploring artificial reefs, marine life encounters, and wreck diving to participating in special events like BugFest, there’s something for everyone in this coastal city.

So, why wait? Plan your Fort Lauderdale scuba diving adventure today and explore a world of underwater wonders. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a first-timer, the warm waters and vibrant marine life of Fort Lauderdale are sure to leave you with unforgettable memories.

An aerial view of the sunset in Fort Lauderdale.
Your days and nights will be memorable ones in Fort Lauderdale. (Photo courtesy of Fort Lauderdale Stays)

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“How boring would the world be if everywhere and everyone were the same. Safe travels and good adventures.” Scuba Jay

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