Remarkable scuba diving occurs in the St. Pete / Tampa Bay area. Whether you like wreck diving, the Gulf of Mexico shoreline, or exploring the area’s gin clear freshwater river springs, there are some outstanding snorkeling opportunities and dive sites waiting for you. The Tampa area is also world famous for spearfishing. An abundance of large game fish such as cobia, snapper, kingfish, bonito, mackerel and grouper can be found in the Gulf waters.
If you’re not dive certified, private or group classes can be arranged for open water scuba certification for anyone over 10 years of age. To be dive certified means you have passed industry training requirements and have received a certification card (more commonly known as a c-card). A c-card is required by dive shops and operators for air tank refills and participation in dive excursions. The good news is certification lasts a lifetime and your c-card will be recognized the world over. If you’re looking for just a taste of diving, a “Discover Scuba” class in our pool can also be arranged. In this class you’ll learn the basics of scuba diving techniques and the gear that’s used. Hopefully you’ll have so much fun you’ll be eager to become a certified diver. Call the Guy Harvey Outfitter Shop at 855.GH.OUTFITTER or 727.329.1408 for information on area dive adventures and training.
Book a snorkeling trip that visits the pristine waters surrounding historic Egmont Key State Park, accessible only by boat. Go ashore and explore the Lighthouse, constructed in 1858, or Fort Dade, built forty years later. All are situated within a National Wildlife Refuge. There’s fun for the entire family! Contact concierge for more information on snorkeling adventures.
One of the most extensive, well-maintained artificial reef systems is located in this area of Florida’s Gulf Coast. Reef building first began here in the 1960s to improve the marine environment, encourage the growth of fish, and to provide areas for recreational diving and fishing. The reefs consist of bridge rubble, concrete culverts, specially constructed fish havens, shipwrecks and even army tanks. Limestone ledges, the ancient shoreline of Florida, make up the natural formations offshore. Currents have created deep undercuts where fish hide in huge schools. The ledges vary in height from 2 to 12 feet and are found at depths of 35 to 60 feet.
Some of the more popular scuba dive sites immediate to St. Pete Beach include:
Tugboat and Barge
A 105-foot tug and 80-foot barge sank in 85 feet of water during high seas. The tug rests upside down, while the barge is one mile north.
Sheridan and Blackthorn
Sheridan, 180-foot ocean-going tug, is one of our coast’s most spectacular dives. The tug sits upright in 80 feet of water. The Blackthorn Coast Guard cutter lies nearby. Barracuda frequent this superstructure.
The 200-foot wreck rests in 120 feet of water and is for experienced divers only.
Betty Rose/Permit Barge
The 75-foot barge, broken up, is located in 45 feet of water. The dive site is very active with marine life. Caution: fishermen trolling for kingfish.
Tramp Steamer and 10-Fathom Wreck
This is the broken remains of a 150-foot tramp steamer in 60 feet of water. You’ll see a lot of hogfish, barracuda and jack around the site.
With walls that lunge to 130 feet, this Gulf Coast sink resembles a pond and is only for experienced divers with advanced certification. However, this is a good spot for deep-water experience for beginners under the supervision of a dive master or instructor.
This very popular freshwater dive site is one of the best in the world. Water temperature is 72 degrees (F) year round, which attracts the manatees during the cooler months.
Chassahowitzka River Springs
The freshwater river is fed by more than a dozen freshwater springs.
With two non-connecting holes, this peanut-shaped sink is one of Florida’s coldest freshwater diving spots. Only experienced cavern and cave divers should attempt this low-visibility dive.
Local legends speak of modern-day pirates as this 65-foot shrimper was scuttled by her crew while being pursued by the Coast Guard.
Weeki Wachee Run
This is a great place to snorkel or drift dive back downstream.