Navarre Beach Marine Sanctuary
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. These reef sites offer an easy and inexpensive option to increase your diving abilities or check out a new piece of equipment.
Diving the Navarre Beach Marine Sanctuary
Gulf Side Reef
The Gulf site is located on the Gulf of Mexico 2,000ft east of the fishing pier directly south of the Sea Oat pavilion. This is the furthest southeast parking area of the park. Follow the boardwalk to the beach and immediately head east approximately 100ft. The site is marked (on shore only) by two large PVC posts positioned on the sand dune. The site is 340ft south of the mean tide line and consists of 30 structures in three columns of ten spaced 20ft apart and is ideal for snorkeling and diving for any skill level. The site is immediately beyond the second sand bar. Depths range from 9 – 15ft with tops at 6 – 10ft below the surface. Visibility ranges from 8 – 30ft depending on sea conditions. The site is adjacent to the public swimming beach.
West Side Reef
The west sound side site is the largest of the three sites with a footprint approximately equal to a football field. To get to this reef, take the first left after entering the park. It is located directly north of Red Drum pavilion and the Navarre Beach Science Station. The site can be seen from the beach. This site is more conducive for diving than for snorkeling and is identified on all four corners by pilings and marked with “”SNORKELING REEF” “NO MOTORIZED VESSELS”. At 700ft from shore this site consists of 77 structures spaced 10ft apart in 20ft of water with the tops of each structure at 14ft below the surface. Visibility ranges from 2 – 4ft in the summer, to 7 – 10ft in the winter. Water temperatures range from 65 – 85 degrees. We recommend a compass and flashlight at this site and buddy lines might be helpful.
East Side Sound Reef
The east sound side reef is the smallest of the three sites located northwest of Sandpiper pavilion. This site is the most accessible of the three sites and is identified on all four corners with pilings marked with “”SNORKELING REEF” “NO MOTORIZED VESSELS”. The site is about 150ft from shore and consists of 28 structures spaced 10ft apart in 12ft of water with the tops at 7ft below the surface.
Important Reef Info
- Florida law requires use of Divers-Down Flag for diving or snorkeling and divers must make a reasonable effort to stay within 100′ of dive flag.
- No lifeguards on duty. Be aware of boat traffic, hazardous marine life, and potentially dangerous wave action and currents.
- Alway dive with a buddy, NEVER ALONE!
- Personal floatation device or buoyancy aid strongly recommended for snorkelers.
- Snorkelers and Divers should adhere to beach warning flags.
- GREEN FLAG – Low hazard/Generally calm conditions.
- YELLOW FLAG – Medium hazard/Moderate surf and/or currents
- RED FLAG – High hazard/High Surf and/or strong currents
- PURPLE FLAG – Hazardous Marine Life (generally jellyfish in late summer months)
Getting to the Navarre Beach Marine Sanctuary
The Marine park is located just east of the Navarre Beach Causeway close to the end of Gulf Blvd near the Lifeguard 1 station (Gulf Side), see brochure for more information.
Marine life seen around the Navarre Beach Marine Sanctuary
When diving the sanctuary you will see a lot of different marine life, some of them are:
- Moon Jellyfish
- Stone Crab
- Blue Crab
- Orange Filefish
- Sea Robin
- Cocoa Damselfish
- Gray Triggerfish
- Loggerhead Sea Turtle
- Striped Burrfish
There are many other types of marine life that are around the sanctuary, if you want to identify the species you can look at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Saltwater identification page.