In 2018, a record-breaking 126.1 million tourists visited Florida.
Of those millions of out-of-state visitors, many are traveling to Florida for its splendid scuba diving opportunities. Florida has colorful tropical marine life and even has areas where you can swim with local manatees.
Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced diver, there are bountiful scuba diving tours in Florida to cater to you.
In this guide, we’ll go over all the essential details you need to know before you go scuba diving in Florida.
Things to Know About Scuba Diving in Florida
Each year, millions of people travel to Florida to scuba dive its warm waters filled with large marine life and colorful corals.
There are numerous dive sites to choose from in the Florida Keys. The locations are so numerous that you’ll be able to visit Florida multiple times and still find somewhere new to explore each time.
Training and Certification
Your first step before you visit Florida to go scuba diving is to take the proper training courses and get certified.
There are several different courses to choose from depending upon what type of scuba diving you want to do. There are courses for beginning divers new to the experience, and then certifications for more advanced and dangerous diving expeditions.
There are a few types of scuba diving where a standard certification won’t work. More advanced scuba diving areas that require additional certifications are:
- deep sea diving
- shipwreck diving
- cave diving
If you plan to do standard scuba diving in shallow waters, then an introductory beginner’s course should get you started off well.
Every dive tour operates differently. Before you arrive, check with the touring company on what equipment you need to bring. Some tours offer all the equipment you’ll need, while others might require you to bring your own oxygen tank.
If you’re looking to make scuba diving a primary activity you enjoy often, then it will be worth it for you to buy your own gear. If you’re frequenting diving tours, you’ll save money in the long-run by having your own wetsuit and gear.
When to Go
For the most part, Florida offers ideal warm waters to go diving all year long.
You’ll want to keep in mind that the peak hurricane season for Florida is between the months of August and October. While planning your scuba diving trip, be sure to keep an eye on the weather for the week leading up to it.
From March to November, the waters in Florida are at their warmest. During this season, you can dive with ease in a 3mm wetsuit without any worry of getting cold. Between December and February, the temperatures tend to drop into the low 70s. These lower temperatures mean the water will be cooler, so you’ll most often need a 5mm or 7mm wetsuit with a hood.
If you’re hoping to go swimming with manatees, be sure to visit Florida during its warmer season. Manatees are warm-blooded mammals and are a somewhat migratory species. However, even during the winter season, you’ll be able to find manatees frequenting several of Florida’s shallow river systems.
Florida Dive Sites
There is a multitude of unique spots in Florida to go to for dive tours. Each destination has something unique and wondrous to offer you:
- Blue Grotto – A cavern that is 80 feet wide and plunges down to a maximum depth of 100 feet. The Blue Grotto earned its name from its crystal clear blue waters with exceptional visibility all year round.
- Devil’s Den – This prehistoric dry cave is filled with an underground spring. Many fossils dating back to the Pleistocene Age have been discovered in the Devil’s Den, and you can find most on display at the University of Florida’s Museum of Natural History.
- Ginnie Springs – This diving location offers a wide assortment of different areas to visit. The Ginnie Springs is made up of the Devil’s Spring System, the Ginnie Ballroom, and the Santa Fe River. Whether you want to go scuba diving in the river, explore an intricate underwater tunnel system, or see a huge underwater cavern, you can find it all here.
- Manatee Springs State Park – Home to an ancient cypress forest, there’s an 800-foot boardwalk you can walk on to enjoy the sights. It is home to a magnitude spring that releases over 100 million gallons of water each day. If you’re wanting to go diving with manatees, this is the perfect location to do so.
- Peacock Springs State Park – This park offers two major springs, a spring run, and six different sinkholes. The park also offers one of the longest underwater cave systems you can find in the United States to dive in.
The listed locations are a small sampling of the areas available to explore. If you’re wanting to go scuba diving to see shipwrecks or sharks, you’ll be able to find specific spots that are ideal for that purpose.
Be sure to remember that certain diving locations do require more advanced certifications. If you’re wanting to go visit an underwater cave system or a sunken shipwreck, you’ll need the appropriate certifications to prove you’re capable of the trip.
Spectacular Sights Under the Sea
Scuba diving in Florida is an excellent way to explore the vibrant wildlife found underwater and to build memories that’ll last you a lifetime. If you’re trying to think up something new and fun to do for your next vacation, then consider booking a dive tour with Bird’s Underwater, Inc.
With Bird’s Underwater, Inc., you’ll be taken on a tour with diving and boating experts who have your utmost safety in mind. There are multiple diving sites to choose from with Bird’s Underwater, Inc. to ensure there’s something to thrill everyone.
Book a dive tour today for your next exciting adventure!