A Key West diving trip is your ticket to an unforgettable day. Rarely do you get to explore a coral reef that’s so easy to get to. Get certified in one day at a resort course, or if you’re an expert, join a dive boat and get out to the reef! Because of the great variety of resorts and guest houses who can help guests arrange things, scuba diving in Key West is super convenient and hassle-free. Some of the waterfront resorts have a dive boat docked right out front, ready to take their guests out to the famous coral reef. Other dive boats are docked at Key West’s Historic Seaport, which is just steps away from many of the guest houses on and around Duval Street and Old Town.
Most Key West diving excursions take divers out to the coral reef at one of a handful of popular spots. By far, Sand Key is the most popular place for Key West diving trips. It’s marked by a lighthouse tower so it’s easy to recognize. It’s also very popular with snorkeling trips because some parts are very shallow. Divers will want to dive on the ocean side of the reef, where it is deeper. This area of the reef supports an amazing variety of marine life, including sting rays, barracuda, nurse sharks, and sea turtles. It’s a half-hour ride out to Sand Key Light house, or 20 minutes if you’re in a faster boat. That makes is a very convenient Key West diving destination for dive boat operaters. If you’re considering a Key West boat rental then know your destination ahead of time so you can get exactly what you need as far as horsepower and size go.
Key West diving is also popular at Rock Key, which is just east of Sand Key Lighthouse. It is a Sanctuary Preservation Area (SPA), so you will see large yellow marker buoys. Rock Key also has white mooring buoys for easy Key West diving. Clip on or tie up, and you’re ready to go! There are some twenty-foot crevices at Rock Key, and they are very tight spaces so only one diver at a time. There are two wrecks here but very hard to find any evidence of them.
Ten Fathom Bar
Ten Fathom Bar is one of the most popular Key West divingspots. It is only half a mile south of Sand Key and the depth ranges from 20 to 130 feet.
Eastern Dry Rocks
Located a couple miles east of Sand Key, Eastern Dry Rocks are also a SPA. This means you cannot take anything out of the marked area. This area of the reef is especially beautiful. Depth is 15 to 35 feet. Sometimes this is a good place for beginners at Key West spearfishing.
There are three coral areas divided by white sands. These are the Sambos. Eastern, Middle and Western.
This is an artificial reef created by the sinking of the US Navy destroyer escort “USS Amesbury”. It’s on the Gulf side, for a change of pace on your Key West diving vacation.
This tugboat sank in 65 feet of water near Key West.
Nine Foot Stake
Depth is 15 to 30 feet so it makes a nice beginner’s scuba dive.
This is another artificial reef. It is a sunken 187-foot steel-hulled buoy tender in about 85 feet of water.
Coral caves on coral ledges. Spot grouper and rays.
This is close to the Cayman Salvager but sits much deeper, in 185 feet of water. This wreck is for experienced Key West diving enthusiasts only!