Several artificial reefs and wrecks are scattered throughout the Gulf coast, attracting communities of Pelagic Fish
like…Goliath Grouper, Nurse Sharks, Barracuda, and Blue Fin Tuna. Southern stingrays, loggerhead turtles, cobia, and
even an occasional hammerhead can be seen. Also, be on the lookout for the…Gulf toadfish…found Only in the Gulf of
Rental Equipment / Charters
Blue Water Explorers
Bradenton Scuba Quest
Florida Underwater Sports
Aristakat Dive Charters
Easy Kayaking Lessons/Tours
Jim’s Dive Shop
St. Petersburg 727-393-3483
Cape Coral Scuba Quest
Cape Coral 239-458-1999
Crane Barge - Sarasota
The Crane Barge is approximately 90 feet long
and sits upright in 110 feet of water approximately 29 miles off the coast of Sarasota. Spear fishing enthusiasts
recommend this dive.
Sugar Barge - Bradenton
Known as the Molasses Barge, the remains of this
75 foot long barge lie in 15 feet of water, 100 yards off Bradenton Beach. This site is a popular beach dive and is
easily located because of a metal post that sticks through the ocean’s surface.
The Bayronto - Venice
This old British freighter, built in 1905 sank in
September 1919 during a powerful hurricane that sank a few other ships in the area as well. The Bayronto had recently
finished repairs after being torpedoed by the German submarine UB-88 and was enroute from Texas to Europe carrying a
load of grain. She rests turtled in 105′ about 30 miles west of Venice / Sarasota. Big fish usually surround the wreck,
and there is a large debris field off her stern. The Bayronto was 400 feet long, had a 52 foot beam, displaced 6,405
gross tons and was powered by a 495 nhp triple expansion engine. Visibility: 20 – 100 feet. Large jewfish, nurse sharks,
turtles, amberjack, tuna, dolphins, lions paw scallops, murex, grouper, cowries, blue angelfish, and other tropicals
Coordinates are N 26-45.956 / W 82-50.801 – N 26 46.333 / W 82 51.400
Diving for Shark Teeth - Venice Beach
Beach dives are very popular on the small
reefs at Boca Grande and just to our north at Venice Beach, the “shark tooth capital”. Searching for shark’s teeth
and other fossils is extremely popular here. Aristakat Dive Charters offer a charter just off shore to an area
known as the "Bone Yard", which has been very productive for large shark-teeth. To contact Aristakat Dive
Charters call there number below.
South County Artificial Reef - Treasure Island
The South County Artificial Reef Site lies 11
miles out from the Pass-A-Grille entrance marker and 10 miles from the St. John’s Pass entrance marker. South County
is a quarter-mile square artificial reef area in which two reefs have been developed. The center of the square is
marked by a yellow buoy.
The first reef developed, known as “Site One”, consists of 700 tons of concrete debris, light poles, and
bridge pilings that were placed in 45 feet of water in October 2001. Site One has a round, white mooring buoy. The
main concrete rubble pile is about 90 feet long, 25 feet wide and ranges from 15-17 feet high. About 25 feet to the
south are five smaller piles of rubble and 75 feet to the north are five more satellite piles. These smaller piles
are about 10 feet in profile.
The second site developed in South County is the Tug Orange. This one-hundred-year old tug was sunk in 2003.
The Orange is marked with a buoy attached to its bow.
Near the bottom of the rubble live grouper and black sea bass. Enormous schools of baitfish attract kingfish,
jacks, Spanish mackerel and bonita to the tops of the piles. Underwater photographers love this spot for its fantastic
visibility, water quality and rather tame fish that seem to want to pose for the camera. A friendly six-foot nurse
shark makes its home in South County and even the barracuda seem to enjoy checking out divers.
Indian Shores Reef - Clearwater
Just over 11 miles from the Clearwater Pass
entrance marker #1 and about 13 miles from the John#39;s Pass entrance marker. This artificial reef was started in 1962
with the placement of 125 pillboxes. The reef now includes three sunken ships, each over 200 feet in length.
In 1976, the U.S. Navy Explosives Ordnance Disposal Team from Cecil Field Naval Air Station in Jacksonville,
Florida, filled two World War II Landing Ships (LSMs) with cable and used explosives to sink them in about 45 feet of
water. One LSM lies 100 feet west of the center buoy. The other LSM is 100 feet east of the southern buoy. In 1984, a
240-foot salt hopper barge was sunk 200 feet southwest of the northern buoy. The barge is upside-down and is often
called the “Upside-Down barge”.
Sheridan - Tampa/Clearwater
A fantastic wreck dive. The 180-foot tugboat
lies upright and fully intact in about 75-80 feet of water. The tug lists about 50 degrees to starboard with its
prop in place. The top of the wreck can be reached at 25-30 feet. The wreck is surrounded by concrete culverts and
Home to several Goliath Grouper and barracuda and always has lots of marine life to observe. Spanish mackerel,
amberjack, crevelle jack, trigger fish, snapper, and even the occasional shark frequent the reef site. This is a
great spot to take pictures of some large grouper. Advanced wreck divers will enjoy exploring the open compartments.
Boxcar & Hopper Car Reef - Charlotte County
This reef site consists of old railroad Box and
Hopper cars laying in 72 feet of water, west of Gasparilla pass. Some of these cars are placed in piles and some are
individually placed. Most of the Boxcars have collapsed and only show about 2-3 feet of reveal, but still attract a
large fish population. A lot of the Hopper cars are intact but slowly sinking into the natural hard bottom. With
car numbers between 25-50 you can dive this site many times and still find new areas to explore.
Palm Island Ferry Reef - Palm Island
The Palm Island Ferry Reef Site consists of the
ferry, which is setting upside down in 58ft of water, approximately 15 miles West of Gasparilla pass. Also on the
site is a 70ft x 24ft barge setting upright within 150ft of the Ferry. Scattered between the two barges are about
40 tons of concrete culvert modules providing excellent habitat. This is a great dive site with little or no current
and lots to see. Bring a dive light to look inside the barges. Penetration is not recommended unless properly
trained! This reef site is home for 15-30 Goliath Grouper in the 100-500 lb. class, and many other exciting species
of sea life. What you will see depends on the season.
Power Pole Reef - Charlotte County
The Power Pole Reef Site consists of a track-mounted
crane (less tracks) and a 50 ft steel barge sitting within 75 ft of each other attracting a wide variety of fish
life with the homesteading Goliath grouper inside the barge. Also on the site is a 30-35 ft fishing vessel sitting
upright but badly deteriorated, however, still holds quite a few species of fish. There is large area of scattered
concrete power poles, some of which have large racks of isolators left on the providing a home for large quantities
of snapper. Gag grouper lay on the lee side of the poles until divers come by. This section of the reef is normally
done as a drift dive because it is hard to navigate. There is, however, maximum benefit and enjoyment by just
wandering around and knowing that the boat will pick you up.
Big Carlos Triangle - Fort Myers
The lucky scuba diver that dives in the Big Carlos
Triangle finds three wreck dives in only 30 feet of water, allowing long bottom times. Covered in soft corals of
vibrant greens, yellows, oranges, blues and reds, a variety of juvenile tropical fish, nudibranchs, sea urchins, and
starfish also make their home on these wrecks. Many shells not typically found on the beach can be seen on the
sandy bottom, as well as nurse sharks napping alongside the wrecks. A large variety of schooling fish, Barracuda,
Snook, Atlantic Spadefish, Sheepshead, the unusual Lookdown, and the familiar groupers and snappers add to the
beauty of the scene. At times, these fish are so plentiful that you#39;ll feel as if you#39;re part of the school itself!
During September and October, groups of Spotted Eagle Rays can be seen gracefully swimming over the wrecks.
Edison Reef - Fort Myers
Since there are no natural hard coral reefs in this
area, Lee County has supplied us with many artificial reefs. The largest and most interesting is Edison Reef,
consisting of the remains of the old Edison Bridge, which spanned the Caloosahatchee River between Fort Myers and
North Fort Myers. When the bridge was dismantled, 25,000 tons of concrete and other remnants were dropped in 40 feet
of water. As the huge concrete slabs fell towards the bottom, many of them stacked on top of each other, creating
10-15 foot high piles with swim-throughs and overhangs. A fun and fascinating coral-encrusted site, it#39;s difficult
to discern that this is not a natural reef! The fish are abundant and there#39;s also a good chance to see Manta Rays
San Carlos Bay - Fort Myers
Snorkelers can experience a beautiful, thriving reef
located in San Carlos Bay in only 5 to 10 feet of water, covered with hard and soft corals, teeming with tropical
fish and a few of the big game fish that are typically found in this area. And occasionally a lobster is spotted!
The bottom is covered with huge barrel sponges and sea grasses that at times reach the surface.
Crystal River - Citrus County
The Crystal River is a very short river in
Citrus County, Florida flowing into the Gulf of Mexico. It is just seven miles (eleven kilometers) long, and has a
drainage basin of five square miles (thirteen square kilometers), joining Kings Bay to the Gulf of Mexico. The
river's significance is in the thirty natural springs that add an average of 300 million gallons (1,135 million
liters) of warm water to the river every day. These springs include Three Sisters Springs.
The warm water in the river attracts large numbers of manatees, and Kings Bay, at the head of the river and
the location of 28 of the springs, harbors approximately 350 manatees during the winter. Some biologists consider
Crystal River to be the most important refuge for manatees in the United States.
Yes, you can dive with the manatees.
Ginnie Springs Cavern - High Springs
Spelunkers, take a glimpse: Florida has an
extensive underwater cave system that stretches for thousands of miles.