in Fort Lauderdale is excellent. The warm waters of the Gulf
Stream keep the water temperatures averaging around 72-75 degrees
in the winter and 84-87 in the summer so there is no end to
the dive season. Visibility averages around 40 feet and improves
in the winter with the reduction of algae.
The reef system is comprised of three bands that run parallel
to the shore ranging from 15 feet to 100 feet deep. These reefs
are made up of coral growth on top of an eroded base of ancient
reefs in an ideal depth and location for coral proliferation.
Currents tend to be mild on the shallow reefs but can get strong
on the deeper sites. Some of The American Dream's favorite reef
- Reef depth: 25' - 35'
Oakland Ridges - Reef depth:
25' - 35'
Barracuda - Barracuda Reef
is 15 foot west-facing ledge starting at 15 feet deep and reaching
the sand at 30 feet. The top of the ledge is covered with sea
fans and sponges and there are usually lots of tropicals.
Hammerhead - Large grouper,
rays, and sharks are found on the backside of Hammerhead Reef
which is at a depth of 80 feet while the front side at 60 feet
is full of grunts, snapper and some friendly green moray eels.
Minecar - Reef depth:
45' - 65'+
Paradise - Reef depth: 45'
Tuna Alley - Reef depth:
45' - 65' +
The Fort Lauderdale coast is one the world's premiere wreck
diving destinations. Since 1982 the Broward County Department
of Natural Resource Protection with the help of various private
companies has created more than 75 artificial reefs sunk at
various levels. Most are sunk at 65 feet or deeper and are intact
and covered in soft corals. Many of the them have a colorful
The American Dream visits:
Hog Heaven - This 180 foot
long barge was sunk on Sept. 19, 1986 and rests upside down
in 64 feet of water.
Robert Edmister - This 95
foot Coast Guard cutter was built in 1953 and was resold at
in auction in Fort Lauderdale to a businessman who renamed her
Robert Edmister after a friend who had passed away. The newly
named Robert Edmister was sunk on Dec. 11, 1989 and sits upright
in 70 feet of water. The Edmister has already attracted a good
variety of marine life including coral.
Jay Scutti - This
95 foot harbor tugboat was built in the Netherlands in 1961
and confiscated during a marijuana smuggling mission. She was
purchased at auction by a local businessman and renamed Jay
Scutti in memory of his son. The wreck was sunk as an artificial
reef on Sept. 19, 1986 and is attached to the wreck of the 95
foot steel work boat Pride with a cable. Divers can explore
both vessels on one dive.
M/V Tracey aka Ken Vitale
Rebel - The Dutch
freighter Rebel was built in 1947 and was 128 feel long. After
being confiscated for drug smuggling, she was purchased at a
federal auction by a Fort Lauderdale attorney and environmentalist
who donated her to the county reef program. The Rebel sits in
110 feet of water intact and upright and visibility has been
reported to exceed 100 feet. Divers can reach the deck of the
Rebel at 85 feet.
Mercedes - The freighter
Mercedes I was built in Germany in 1952. On Nov. 23, 1984 while
the Mercedes I was sitting peacefully at anchor a storm ripped
the freighter from her anchor and sent the vessel towards shore
where it was beached against the sea wall of a wealthy Palm
Beach socialite. After the accident, the Mercedes' owners abandoned
her leaving the state of Florida to pull her off the beach.
On March 30, 1985 she was loaded with 350 pounds of TNT and
now rests in 97 feet of water surrounded by abundant marine
life. Average visibility ranges from 50 to 60 feet and the current
can sometimes be strong so the wreck is for more advanced divers.
Jim Atria - This
Dutch freighter was built in 1961. She capsized and sank in
the Miami River and was raised and sunk as an artificial reef
on Sep. 23, 1987. She sits on the port side in 112 feet of water.
Peter B McAllister