Diving Fort Lauderdale

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Fort Lauderdale, USA

Yellow wrasse

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Country: USA  Area: Florida

Water Temp: 22 - 30°C (72 - 86°F)

Visibility: 5 - 40m (16 - 131 ft)

Depth Range: 5 - 35m (16 - 115 ft)

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Fort Lauderdale is located on the South East Coast of Florida, and is known mainly for the huge amount of college students who flock to the destination during Spring Break, which is in March and April each year.

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Young people are attracted to the sun drenched beaches, vibrant nightlife, and week long parties, however Fort Lauderdale has a multitude of wreck dives and coral reefs which offer diving for all levels of experience. The water is warm, and the visibility is excellent, making it both a relaxing dive destination, and a fun vacation spot. 


Marine Conservation

The National Marine Institute participates in several ocean cleanup events throughout the year, and the Annual Waterway Cleanup is one of the largest environmental events in the United States. In 2014 alone, almost 1,700 volunteers and 70 boats removed trash and debris from the waterways, rivers, and canals, and the Broward County’s canals and waterways are usually cleaned up in March each year.

Little fish hiding,Credit


Fort Lauderdale has a warm, tropical rainforest climate, and both a wet and dry season. Most of the rainfall is in the hot, humid summer months from May through to mid October, and tropical downpours are common.

The dry season is from November through April, and divers can expect sunny, warm, dry weather.

The beach, Credit

The average high temperatures in the wet season are 30-32ºC (86-90ºF), and the average high temperatures in the dry season are 24-28ºC (75-82ºF). The water is consistently warm throughout the year, with a minimum of 22ºC (72ºF) in winter, and a max of 30ºC (86ºF) in summer. The warmest month is August, and the coolest is February.           

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The Diving

The diving is excellent in Fort Lauderdale year round, with ocean temperatures remaining warm throughout the year. For the past 20 years, Broward County has been placing more than 75 artificial reefs on the ocean floor, making Fort Lauderdale home to the largest amount of warm-water wrecks in the world.

Lucky dive! Credit

The Greater Fort Lauderdale area is the only place in the continental USA where people can dive and snorkel on a coral reef straight off the beach. This makes diving easy, and the huge amount of wrecks is sure to please even the most avid wreck divers.

Here are some of the best dives in the Fort Lauderdale area:

The Captain Dan

This ship was a U.S Coast Guard tender, and the reef is home to goliath grouper, large barracuda, parrotfish, amberjack, and schools of small fish. Certified wreck divers will love this dive, as it was prepared with large access holes for easy penetration.


Hammerhead is the place to see sharks, rays, and large grouper at 24m (80 ft), as well as snapper, grunts, and green moray eels at 18m (60 ft).

Sea Ranch Lakes underwater, Credit

Crab Cove

Crab Cove is a section of outer reef which runs parallel to the shoreline. The highest concentration of coral cover and sea life is found on the western ledge, and the reef resembles the shape of a crab when viewed from the air. Whale sharks are sometimes spotted in this area, and the western ledge is full of marine life.

Aqua Zoo

The Aqua Zoo was given its name due to the size and diversity of the marine life that inhabit the wreck of the Sea Emperor on the site. Expect to see huge goliath groupers, southern rays, nurse sharks, and eels, along with stingrays and hundreds of other fish. This site has been featured on many different television shows around the world due to the amazing amount of fish in the area.


Named for the family of nurse sharks that live here, the sharks are used to snorkelers and divers, and hundreds of other fish will surround the snorkelers closer to the surface. It’s known as the best shallow dive in Southeast Florida.

Lobster, Credit

Horseshoe Reef

This site has three horseshoe shaped re-entrants to the reef, and it’s common to see large moray eels, grouper, trumpet fish, spotted drums, snapper, and barracuda here.

Labontee Reef

Labontee Reef is a shallow dive site with plenty of tropical fish. The area is also known for lobster, with nurse sharks often seen hanging out under the western ledge. There’s a good training area for novice divers on the western edge, although navigating can be challenging as there are gaps in the reef in places.

Marks Ledge

This site is located in the outer reef of Fort Lauderdale, and has a 10 ft drop on the Western edge. There are plenty of overhangs and undercuts which make excellent havens for many different types of tropical fish, and divers can sometimes spot Hogfish in the sand.

Fish couple, Credit

Moray Bend

Named for the many Moray Eels which reside here, the reef is a favourite among dive operators, especially on rough days. Goliath Groupers have been spotted here, and there is a high concentration of sea life and coral cover on the western facing ledge.

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How to Get there

There are three airports in South Florida which allow tourists access to Fort Lauderdale.

Fort Lauderdale Airport is a popular low cost carrier destination, particularly for Spirit airlines, Jet Blue, Southwest Airlines, Virgin America, Delta Airlines, and Continental Connections.

Miami International Airport is the major international airport in South Florida, and is also known as the “Gateway to the Americas’.” International flights arrive daily, along with domestic flights. If flying into Miami, travellers can take a shuttle from Miami Airport to Fort Lauderdale for around $50 to $70 per person.

Waterfront, Credit

Amtrak trains provide services to cities up the Atlantic Coast, and there are two stops in the Fort Lauderdale Area. There are also Greyhound bus lines which travel from many different cities throughout the United States.

In Fort Lauderdale and South Florida, the easiest way to get around is by car. If you’re renting a car, try to pick it up from a location other than the airport to save some money.

There are public buses available, but the service isn’t great and they’re not very reliable. Miami and Fort Lauderdale are good places to hire a bike as the area is very easy for cyclists, and the city is nice and flat.

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Where to Eat & Drink

Many visitors to Florida assume that all the good restaurants are in Miami. This isn’t true at all, and Fort Lauderdale is home to some incredible chefs and restaurants.

For seafood try Sea Restaurant, which offers delicious meals like tuna bolognese and braised black grouper. 2020 Ocean is also excellent for fish, and has received many awards from the New Times, including Best Chef 2009 and Best Restaurant in Fort Lauderdale 2006.

Crab Scoobies, Credit

Those who don’t want to dress up and would prefer to stay in flip-flops and a t-shirt will want to try Hot & Soul, which is proof that good food doesn’t require diners to be in formal wear. Try the Gnaughty Gnocchi, of the Vegan Yum Bowl which is coconut polenta and mushroom gravy.

Market 17 is perfect for people who dine with a conscious and the menu changes based on what is environmentally conscious, seasonally available, and humane. Travellers craving Italian should head to Valentineo Cucina Italiana, which also has some of the best cocktails around.

In Fort Lauderdale tourists can find sports bars, comedy clubs, wine bars, and plenty of Latin-inspired nightlife. For something casual and classy, try 101 ocean, which has excellent food as well as a huge outdoor bar. Happy hour is from 5-6pm with 50% off drinks so be sure to get there early.

Wine lovers will want to stop by 33rd street wine bar, which has more than 150 wines to choose from, while 595 Tap and Tavern is one of the top sports bars in South Florida.      

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Other Activities

Fort Lauderdale is the perfect place for those who love the outdoors. With consistently warm weather, and a huge beach culture, there are plenty of activities to fit in between dives.

To see how the other half live, take the Intracoastal Waterway, which travels throughout the waterways, so passengers can gawk at the many yachts and mansions in the area. Car enthusiasts will enjoy the Fort Lauderdale Antique Car Museum, which is like taking a step back in time, as the cars are in pristine condition.

The Bonnet House Museum and Gardens are an excellent place to take a stroll, and the 35-acre 1921 courtyard style waterfront home was originally built by an artist, and has a large and interesting art collection.

Wreck diving, Credit

Family Friendly

Fort Lauderdale has many family friendly activities, and almost all of the dive schools offer diving lessons for kids. Stroll along the Fort Lauderdale Beachfront, or spend some time splashing in the water, before heading to Fort Lauderdale Beach Park for a picnic.

The Las Olas Boulevard has plenty of great places to eat, along with unique and eclectic shopping options. A trip to the Everglades is a must, and the kids will love the opportunity to get up close to the many alligators, and may even have the opportunity to pose with a baby alligator.

The Museum of Science and Discovery always has something new happening, and it’s a good place for children to spend a few hours learning about the world.

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Be sure to apply plenty of sunscreen, as it’s easy to get burnt even when the weather is cloudy. Take care to always swim between the flags and in areas where there are lifeguards available to help.

Fort Lauderdale at night, Credit

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