West Palm Beach
Palm Beach County, Florida, has much to offer scuba divers and snorkelers. The coastline of Florida presses eastward into the Atlantic Ocean at the Palm Beaches. The mighty Gulf Stream makes its closest pass to Florida here. The strong current brings crystal-clear, warm waters and large marine life to the region.
Divers won’t find the same reef environments as in the Florida Keys, but the reefs of West Palm Beach are a mere two miles offshore and covered with colorful sponges and corals. The two reef systems that are running parallel to the coastline are built of ancient coral beds and limestone ledges. The ledges at 60-90 feet are particularly popular with several species of sea turtles. The Palm Beach region boasts the largest sea turtle population in all of Florida and is also home to the second largest nesting beach in the world.
Divers who dive regularly on the reefs and wrecks of West Palm Beach routinely spot hawksbill and loggerhead turtles. Green turtles and giant leatherbacks have also been spotted during the Spring mating season. As you dive, keep in mind that all sea turtles are on the endangered species list. It is against the law to harass a sea turtle, so please stare in awe at these magnificent, ancient animals, but do not touch them.
While many would say the treasure of Palm Beach is the rich marine life in its waters, there are many divers that have found gold and silver too. During the 1700s ships often wrecked offshore of Florida. At least two of these wrecks were Spanish ships transporting treasure. Salvage companies have contracts with the State of Florida to recover what they can from any treasure ships underwater, but any coins that wash up on beaches are free for the taking. At times, divers hunting lobster on the reef line have uncovered gold plate and the State has allowed them to keep it.
For those who love wrecks, Palm Beach County has a well-developed artificial reef program. Several barges and ships have been scuttled to make interesting dive spots. And where else but Palm Beach would you expect to find a 1985 Silver Cloud Rolls Royce resting on the ocean floor? The brand new car was donated and sunk to inaugurate the Artificial Reef Program.
With warm waters, sea turtles, treasure ships, reefs, and wrecks, every diver should be able to find dive spots to enjoy in West Palm Beach!