Part of the world’s 3rd largest coral reef, the reefs of South Florida are the northernmost in the Florida reef tract. The reef system is actually three reefs running parallel to the coastline extending approximately 350 miles and five counties and they vary from full reefs to isolated patch reefs.
The first reef system is a distance of 100 to 300 yards from the beach and depths range from 10 to 15 feet.
The second reef is approximately half a mile from shore with depths of 30 to 40 feet.
The third reef system starts about a mile offshore and it’s depths range from 60 to 100 feet.
The Florida reef tract provides habitat for over 6,000 marine species and the scuba diving here in Fort Lauderdale, FL is not to be missed. Underwater photographers and fish watchers alike will be treated to several varieties of sponges, corals and gorgonians as well as colorful fish, rays, eels and occasionally we are treated to dolphins! This variety in coral reef sites makes diving Fort Lauderdale, FL an excellent choice for all level of scuba divers.
Hammerhead Reef 45ft – 90ft
Hammerhead is a reef that extends for over two miles from the Dania Pier almost to Port Everglades Cut. A great spot for a reef drift dive. In places, this coral reef reaches to 24′ from the sand and has nooks and crannies, ledges and overhangs that are great hiding spots for lobsters, turtles, eels and fish. Southern Stingrays are frequently spotted here as well.
Willie’s Way Reef 20ft – 30ft
In the 1980’s Willie Cline was teaching IDCs on Captain Bill’s dive boat on a regular basis. Willie wanted a nice sandy bottom in 30′ of water. Bill knew a lot of reef locations but not one that totally met Willie’s needs. One day Willie came up during a drift dive and yelled to Bill, “This is it!” It was a large area of beautiful sand surrounded by amazing coral and rock formations. Willie got his “Way!” Since then many divers have been trained at this site.
Sunrise Ledge Reef 20ft – 30ft
Located offshore near Sunrise Blvd., Sunrise Ledge Reef is a patch reef that houses a large variety of marine life. Lobsters and eels make stake their territories in the holes and under the ledges in this area. This is a great dive for photographers!
Fisher’s Pedestal Reef 20ft – 30ft
Bill Cole and Brent Fisher were diving from the vessel EXPERIENCE with Capt. Steve Westervelt in 1980. They came upon a group of coral heads that were unique, like a pedestal. It was an underwater cleaning station. They surfaced to record landmarks and Bill was gracious enough to let the site keep Brent’s last name: Fisher’s Pedestal.
Oakland Ridges Reef 20ft – 30ft
A series of 15 mooring buoys marking a ledge in 18-28 feet of water with several caves and crevices. This is a great reef dive site for fish spotting. Look for glassy sweepers and snook under the ledges and check the sand for yellowhead jawfish and blennies. Click here for a video!
The Caves Reef 20ft – 30ft
A shallow series of ledges located about 2 miles north from the Port Everglades Inlet. A system of 16 mooring buoys mark a broken ledge varying in depth from 20 to 30 feet. This coral reef has great ledges and overhangs which are hiding places for lobster and a large variety of fish.
Barracuda Reef 20ft – 35ft
A series of 29 mooring buoys, Barracuda Reef is a fairly shallow reef off Broward County that offers a dive experience similar to diving on reefs in the Florida Keys. Excellent for fish-watching.
Twin Ledges Reef 15ft – 20ft
This is our favorite snorkel location in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and also is great reef dive site. There are two ledges, one on the east and one on the west. There is a valley cut out in the center that runs about 150′ the length. Tons of fish and other critters hang out here!
Hall of Fame Reef 20ft – 30ft
North of Oakland Ridges and south of the S.S. Copenhagen are a shallow series of ledges. A system of 9 moorings varying in depth from 20 to 30 feet. Ledges and undercuts make this coral reef home to a wide variety of marine life.
Pompano Ledge Reef 15ft – 25ft
Marking the “Pompano Drop-off” there is a system of 34 moorings. This is a great ledge to dive for beginners and all diver enthusiasts as there are tons of critters. Look for sailfin blennies and yellowhead jawfish!