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Blue Heron Bridge Scuba Diving Guide

Table of Contents

Blue Heron bridge is a shore dive that every Floridian or tourist should try at some point in life. Rated the #1 shore dive in the USA, and for a good reason, hundreds come out every weekend to do this dive.

Did I mention it’s also a FREE dive?

I moved to Florida recently and had always heard people mention the dive, but I wasn’t sure exactly how to do it.

After a bit of research, I figured out the answers to these questions, and I decided to put together a guide for you all.

Where is Blue Heron Bridge Dive Located?

Austin at Blue Heron Bridge

Blue Heron Bridge is located in Phil Foster park, in Riviera Beach, Florida. The exact address of the Blue Heron bridge dive site is: 900 Blue Heron Blvd, Riviera Beach, FL 33404.

There is free parking available, and it fills up quickly, on the weekends. Try arriving around two hours early if you’re planning to come then.

The park is open from sunrise to sundown unless you have a special permit from the county, so keep this in mind when planning a trip here.

An Overview of Blue Heron Bridge

As we can see from the map above, the park is located on E Blue Heron Boulevard, on an island. This island is where you’ll find parking, where you’ll set up your gear, and where you’ll enter the water for your dive.

Surrounded by the white border is where divers are allowed to go. Divers should stay in the zone between the buoys and the poles and fly a dive flag in order to stay safe from boats.

The path you would want to follow here is the entry point out towards the rocks trail, east towards the bridge.

What Should You Bring to Dive?

In order to dive Blue Heron bridge, you’ll need a few things. 

It goes without saying, you’ll need a full set of scuba gear unless you’re just planning on snorkeling or skin diving. If you don’t own a set of gear, you’ll need to rent some as well.

Most divers don’t own weights or scuba tanks, so you’ll need to get those from somewhere. I rented mine from Force-E scuba right next to the dive site.

You’re required to carry a dive flag when diving Blue Heron bridge, in order for boat traffic and lifeguards to know where you or your group is, at all times. If you don’t own one, buy one yourself.

I didn’t bring a dive torch when I went for the first time, but it would have been super nice to have that, as some of the rock piles, and under the bridge can be dark.

Dive Overview

You’ll want to enter the water from the Beach area under the large bridge. From here, swim out past the buoys and find the rock snorkel trail. You can follow this trail east or west to either bridge. 

On these rocks, you’ll find an abundance of reef fish, corals, small critters, moray eels, and more!

The dive is super shallow, between 5 feet and 20 feet at its max, towards the bridges. Due to this extremely shallow depth, divers can easily have over one hour of bottom time.

Visibility on the dive can be hit or miss. Considering it’s located in the Intercoastal Waterway, tides can bring in murky water.

When is the Best Time to Dive Blue Heron Bridge

The best time to dive Blue Heron bridge is whenever slack tide is. Slack tide occurs one hour before, and one hour after high tide.

During this period, current is at its weakest, making for an enjoyable, safe, dive. In order to find out when slack tide is, you’ll want to reference local diving resources or tide charts. You can download the Tides scuba diving app, or reference this websites charts.

Example of a Tide Chart

Let’s go over an example using the chart. On Monday 10/17, high tide occurs at 2:01 AM and 2:45PM. Considering that the park is not open to dive at 2 AM, the only option would be the second high tide, at 2:45PM. As we states above, slack tide occurs one hour before and after high tide. So we’d aim to enter the water at around 1:45PM, and exit by 3:45PM.

What Will You See At Blue Heron Bridge

What’s great about Blue Heron bridge is the incredible biodiversity and variety you get each time you do the dive. Below I’ll share some shots from my most recent dive. 

Great Barracuda

Stumbled upon this Great Barracuda under the East bridge. They may look menacing but they will not harm you.

Group of Spadefish on Shipwreck

Under the East bridge you’ll find one of the many sunken boats here, along with a large group of Spadefish who now call the place home.

Huge Spotted Stingray

Came across this beauty on the way toward the East bridge. Completely caught me off guard and I was the only one in my group who got to see it.

Other Wildlife

Arrow Crabs

For the muck divers out there, expect to see tons of micro critters. Shrimp, crabs, seahorses, nudibranchs, and so much more. 

Safety Tips for Blue Heron Diving

Let’s go over a few safety tips you should know when it comes to diving on Blue Heron Bridge. If you ask me, the three largest hazards would be getting swept out by the tide, entanglement from fishing lines, and boat traffic.

In order to avoid getting swept out by the tide, be sure to do your dive during slack tide. You should also be a somewhat competent swimmer. Don’t go scuba diving alone if you’re worried about this, and find a group.

To prevent entanglement, keep your eyes out for fishermen from the bridge, and carry a dive knife or cutting tool to cut yourself free in case you get snagged.

Fisherman on Blue Heron Bridge

Lastly, in order to prevent any boat traffic incidents, stay in the marked zone we mentioned above, in between the pylons and buoys, and fly a dive flag.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a Wetsuit Recommended for the Dive?

This really depends on how cold you get and your comfort level with being cold. As the site is located in Florida, it’s pretty warm year-round. In Spring and summer I definitely don’t think a wetsuit is needed but could see the argument for it in winter and fall. If you’re going to use one, no more than 3mm is needed.

Is Spearfishing Allowed?

No spearfishing or harvesting of any kind is allowed at Blue Heron Bridge. If everyone did, there would be no dive site left for everyone to enjoy!

Can you Night Dive Blue Heron Bridge?

It is possible to dive Blue Heron Bridge at night, but it can be kind of tricky for a few reasons.

The first challenge is that it’s by permit only. Most of the local dive shops can help you get. 

The second challenge is that you must be out of the park by 10PM. Considering that you’re trying to time the tides perfectly to go at slack tide, it gives you super tight windows in order to attempt this.

It can be done but requires a bit of planning. But it would be super worth it and something I’ll be trying shortly.

Conclusion

That’s all we have for now when it comes to scuba diving Blue Heron Bridge!

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the video guide that I made going over everything you need to know about scuba diving this incredible shore dive.

  • Welcome

    My name’s Austin Tuwiner, a PADI Divemaster based in South Florida. With nearly 10 years of diving under my belt, I’ve accumulated the knowledge to help readers become better divers, buy their next piece of gear, and plan their dream dive vacation!

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