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Scuba Diving In Miami, Florida (Ultimate Guide)

Table of Contents

Miami, one of South Florida’s premier best dive locations with great weather and a little bit of something for everyone.

It features beaches, art, history, culture, sports, and let’s not forget about diving!

With most of our dive sites located only 3 miles off the coast, you can enjoy the underwater world with the Miami skyline as your backdrop.

Interested in diving in Miami?

Keep reading to learn about the dive sites, dive charters, where to stay, and more.

Beginner Miami Dive Sites

As stated above, all of Miami’s dive sites take place on the southeast coastline.

Depending on your dive experience, certain dive sites may or may not be off-limits to you.

Neptune Memorial Reef

Miami scuba diving wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the famous site Neptune Memorial Reef.

Just 3.25 miles off Key Biscayne, designed to look like the Lost City of Atlantis, Neptune Memorial Reef is an underwater 40ft under the sea.

The man-made structures create a marine habitat to promote coral and marine growth while creating a burial opportunity creating life after life. Once complete, the reef will cover 16 acres of once-barren ocean floor.

The reef is enjoyed by scuba divers of all levels especially photographers for the unique structures and abundance of marine life. There is about 20ft of relief on the site allowing for freedivers and snorkelers to admire the beauty of this underwater site.

While diving through the columned hallways, you are likely to encounter schooling fish, Rainbow Parrotfish, Angelfish, and Butterflyfish, Barracudas, Southern Stingrays, Green and Spotted Moray Eels, and so much more!

Emerald Reef

Emerald Reef is the second most visited site of the Miami dive charters. Taking place at a depth of only 30 feet at its max, it makes it the perfect option for snorkelers and freedivers. Given the right conditions, you can see straight down to the bottom perfectly.

This is the largest and healthiest reef Miami has to offer, with endless reef fish, nurse & lemon sharks, barracuda, and more. Depending on the season, this can make for a fantastic spot for lobstering.

RJs Reef and Ledges

Next on the list is RJs Reef and ledge. These are another common dive site for Miami charters to visit, given its proximity to the other sites and shallow depth of only 30′.

Advanced Miami Dive Sites

Army Tanks

Two M-60 Vietnam era Army Tanks were sunk in June of 1994 and the tanks have quickly become a home for hard and soft coral growth all over.

It’s easy to navigate from one tank to the next with their guns pointing towards each other and massive limestone boulders in between.

This can be a great dive for Open Water Divers when there is no current but is more common for advanced divers to enjoy. There are three additional wrecks you can venture to all connected by a trail of limestone boulders.

You can reach Matthew Lawrence, Billy’s Barge, and the Police Barge.

As you swim from wreck to wreck, you may be accompanied by schooling fish, Southern Sting Rays, a variety of Parrotfish, Angelfish, and Butterflyfish Nurse Sharks, or even a friendly Turtle!

Pink Floyd Wall Drift

Off the coast of Key Biscayne, the Pink Floyd Wall Drift runs miles from North to South with a maximum depth of 90ft, the top of the reef ranges from 50ft to 60ft.

Drift in the mild current along a ledge full of schooling fish, a variety of Parrotfish, Angelfish, and Butterflyfish, with plenty of crevices and nooks for Moray Eels, Lobsters, and plenty more critters.

This is a great dive for Open Water and Advanced divers due to the range of the depth. Having your Enriched Air Diver certification can help extend your bottom time and allow you to potentially see the whole ledge.

Expert Miami Dive Sites

DEMA Wreck

The D.E.M.A wreck is a 165-foot cargo ship that was intentionally sunk in 2003. Originally known as the GGD trader, it was a Belizean ship seized by the US after it was caught trafficking drugs to the USA. 

It is now one of the most popular and large shipwrecks that Miami has to offer, and sitting in about 80 feet of water.

Scuba Diving Charters in Miami

Considering Miami and South Florida have little to no shore diving, you’ll need access to a boat to get any diving done. These dive charters make it easy to get out on the water at a fair price.

Depending on what days you have available to go diving, and the type of diving you’re trying to do, check the following charters’ schedules to see if it lines up with you!

Divers’ Paradise is the largest dive charter in Miami, located on Key Biscayne in the Crandon Park Marina. They have two tank trips leaving every single day, with a three tank trip most sundays.

Check their schedule to see when they are visiting each of the dive sites we mentioned above! Their most common dive sites are going to be Neptune Memorial and Emerald Reef.

If you’re trying to do night diving, hunting trips, drift diving, or other types of diving, they offer that as well.

Located directly in the Miami Beach Marina, Tarpoon Lagoon Dive Center is a PADI 5-Star Center and a no brainer for scheduling classes or recreational dives.

Established in 1952, this family-run business knows how to cater to vacationers and locals with the convenience of their training pool right next door and the boat dock across the parking lot.

The center offers scuba diving classes from Discover Scuba Diving & Open Water through Divemaster and everything in between! Their calendar for classes and recreational dives is easily accessible from their online calendar.

When to Dive Miami

The best time to visit Miami is in our summer months, June-September. Expect calm, flat seas and Bahama blue water.

Water temperature ranges from 84-86 degrees F (29-30 degrees C) in the summer, so no wetsuit is needed.

What You'll See Diving in Miami

There’s plenty to see in Miami! 

While Miami doesn’t necessarily compare to somewhere like Indonesia or the Philippines when it comes to biodiversity, it does have plenty to offer.

In addition to schools of reef fish, you’ll get to see nurse, lemon, and sometimes hammerhead sharks. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Coming from someone who has dived with them all, my pick for the best dive charter in Miami is Divers’ Paradise, with daily trips.

They teach all PADI specialty courses along with some extras like a hunting course.

As far as specialty dives, they do night dives, drift dives, hunting trips, and more.

  • 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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