Pensacola Area Dive Sites
We are currently re-designing our local dive sites and the new pages should be back shortly. There are a few other dive shops in town that have local dive sites listed and we have provided some links below along with some dive charters to get you on the wrecks to dive.
Shore / Beach Dives
Location: Public Beach Access #1 on Sandy Key Drive, off of Johnson’s Beach Rd, Perdido Key
In March of 2014 Perdido Key Reef was created by placing 32 disc reefs off the shore of Perdido Key. As you arrive to the site you will see the reef map and sign on your right. When you reach the water and you look back you will see a yellow triangle and a blue square line both of these up to locate the reef.
Location: Park West Reef is just before entrance to Fort Pickens on Fort Pickens Road. If you look to the bay side you should see a large parking lot with some large pylons in the water.
The Park West Reef is a short walk from the shore. Most of the time you will be able to walk to the four large pylons which mark the area of the reef. There is a combination of some rubble and concrete reef balls that hide a variety of small fish.
Location: 5 miles east of Casino Beach on Pensacola Beach, Parking Lot H
The Park East Reef also called Snorkel Reef was built in 2011 and draws a lot of snorkelers and divers. Before you walk across the sand dune, look to your left and you will see a map of the site and the 2 range markers. Once you are in the water and looking back at the shore you’re can line up the yellow triangle in front of the blue square.
Location: Gulf Islands National Seashore on Pensacola Beach, Fort Pickens
Although considered a relatively easy dive, depths can range between 10′ – 50′. The site is subject to strong currents during tide changes. Best dive conditions are usually best one hour before to one hour after the peak high tide.
Location: About 100 yards north of Park West Reef near Fort Pickens
Captain Bob Quarles was created from 270 tons of concrete from the Gulf Breeze Fishing Pier creating a large artificial reef area.
Location: Navarre Beach
Navarre Beach Marine Sanctuary is three dive sites, Gulf, Bay and east side. Near-shore reefs allow people of all skill levels to easily view marine life and ecosystems supported by the reefs. The Sound side reefs provide beginners a calm and protected area to learn and develop snorkeling and diving skills, while the Gulf side reef allows more advanced snorkelers and divers to view exotic marine wildlife by traveling only a few hundred feet off- shore.
Location: Ft. Pickens 30 18.710’N and 87 15.940’W
The Catherine was a three-masted ship built in Canada in 1869 and restored in 1870 under the name Eliza. She was nearly 200 feet long and over 30 feet in beam. She was sold to a Norwegian firm in 1890 and continued as a merchant vessel, but under the new name of Cathrine.
InShore Dive Sites
GPS Location: Latitude 30 17.800′ N Longitude 87 18.730′ W
USS Massachusetts sheds light on a lesser-known aspect of Florida’s history: The Spanish-American War. The USS Massachusetts was one of the three most powerful heavy-caliber and armored Indiana class vessels of the time, and part of the newly formed United States “Steel Navy.”
GPS Location: Latitude 30 17.467’N Longitude 87 13.773’W
When Hurricane Ivan stopped by in 2004 it destroyed the Gulf Breeze Fishing Bridge. The remains of the fishing bridge was relocated about 3 miles southeast of the Pensacola pass and names Lane Gilchrist Reef.
GPS Location: Latitude 30 16.138′ N Longitude 87 10.157′ W
The Tex Edwards barge was sunk in 1982 as artificial reef. Over time the barge has been beat up but also remains one of the nicest dive sites to visit.
GPS Location: Latitude: 30 17.330’N Longitude: 87 13.755’W
Sunk in July 2013 the Joe Patti Memorial Reef instantly became of the areas most popular inshore dive sites. The metal artwork welded to the top of the barge truly represent all things Pensacola.
GPS Location: Latitude 30 17.450′ N Longitude 87 13.257′ W
This is a very interesting wreck dive that is spread out over a large area. You can have a few dives on this site alone as this is a lot to see around all the nook and crevasses. This dive site has lots of marine life throughout the remains.
GPS Location: Latitude 30 11.333′ N Longitude 87 13.057′ W
The San Pablo was sunk by the Military during WWII using top secret radio controlled boat in 1944. The wreckage is scattered over a large area which also brings a large amount of marine life.
GPS Location: Latitude 30 10.995’N Longitude 87 12.017″W
One of the latest wreck dive sites is the Ocean Wind Tug. She was sunk in January 2016 and just like anything new it has attracted thousands of divers.
Mid-shore Dive Sites
GPS Location: Latitude 30 08.760′ N Longitude 87 14.020′ W
The Pete Tide II was sunk in 1993 to create an 180′ artificial reef. With the pilot house sitting at 60′ and the bottom being 100′ this create a great dive site for different types of divers. Additionally there is ton of marine life that swarms around the structure.
GPS Location: Latitude 30 05.330′ N Longitude 87 09.640′ W
With the upper part of the dive tender starting at 65′ and the bottom being 100′ YDT-14 (Navy Dive Tender) offers a lot to see.
GPS Location: Latitude 30 08.187′ N Longitude 87 13.684′ W
To create some more artificial reefs in Pensacola the Tug Heron and LCM were sunk right next to each other. However the Tug sat upside down on top of the LCM. However in 1995 Hurricane Opalseparated the two.
GPS Location: Latitude 30 05.267′ N Longitude 87 09.550′ W
When you are visiting the YDT-14 (Navy Dive Tender) is sitting a sister ship YTD-15 (Navy Dive Tender). Mother nature has not been too nice to her and has already taken out the pilot house and most of the roof.
Offshore Dive Sites
GPS Location: Latitude 30 00.582′ N Longitude 87 07.774′ W
Antares was sunk to create an artificial reef in September 1995. A few weeks later Hurricane Opal stopped by in October of 1995 and damaged the newly sunk reef. After Hurricane Opal got done with the Antares she left the stern and scattered the rest of the hull across a large area.
GPS Location: Latitude 30 2.550′ N Longitude 87 0.383′ W
“The Mighty O” and “The Great Carrier Reef” are two nicknames that the USS Oriskany has received. She is one of the most popular dive sites in Pensacola and draws divers from around the world to come see her.
GPS Location: Latitude 30 04.244′ N Longitude 87 02.118′ W
Part of the “Rigs to Reef” the Chevron Oil Rig was sunk in 1993 to create an artificial reef. This is a deep wreck that is a popular dive site for divers with deep diving experience.
GPS Location: Latitude 29 59.733’N Longitude 87 05.111’W
Part of the “Rigs to Reef” the Tenneco Rig site was sunk in 1982 to create an artificial reef. This is actually two 500 ton structures. This is a deep wreck with depths of 175′ that is a popular dive site for divers with deep diving experience.
GPS Location: Latitude 29 58.399′ N Longitude 87 12.630’W
Antares was sunk to create an artificial reef in September 1995. A few weeks later Hurricane Opalstopped by in October of 1995 and damaged the newly sunk reef. After Hurricane Opal got done with the Antares she left the stern and scattered the rest of the hull across a large area. This created a very unique dive. One type of diver that just likes seeing large section of a ship and one that likes to see what a hurricane can do to a ship.