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diving in panama city, florida

Panama City Diving

USA Panama City dive guide
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Scuba diving in Panama City

Panama City is located in half way between Tallahassee and Pensacola. It attracts tourists from all over the world with its beautiful white sandy beaches and Panama City exciting dive sites. There are many beautiful natural reefs waiting for you to explore as well as historical and artificial wreck sites that adds new experience to your diving knowledge.

Always dive according to your level of training.
Never enter the water without checking with Panama City dive centers for safety, additional information, level required for each dive site and without being accompanied by a professional.
All the information provided is purely informative for our readers and shouldn't be used as is to plan your immersion.

Average annual temperature:  26°C. (77° F)
Average water surface temperature: Between 19° C and 30° C (67°F)
Visibility often averaging: Visibility is between 30 and 50 feet (9 to 15 meters)
Coldest time: January
Warmest time: July
Possible to dive all year round.

The warm water and the variety of sea life make Panama City the number one dive destination in Florida. Snorklers and shallow divers will enjoy shallow reefs in the area with its beautiful nature and colorful sea life. The area is the natural habitat to a wide variety of shells, various crab species, and small tropical fish also you may see dolphins swimming near by. As for advanced divers Panama City's dive sites are quite astonishing. Panama City has more that 50 artificial reefs suit all levels of expertise. Sites like Benjamin H. Grierson, Grey Ghost and Leroy are home to abundant sea life from coral heads and gorgonians to barracuda, spiny lobster, moray eels and grouper.

Some of Panama City dive sites.

Benjamin H. Grierson (Liberty Ship) was built in 1943 during the World War II. It was named after an officer of the civil war. Now it lies in 60 - 77 feet (18 - 23 meters) as an artificial reef. It is home to abundant sea life.

Black Bart is an artificial reef in a depth of 65 - 75 feet (20 - 23 meters). A 185 foot (56 meters) oil field supply ship was sunk there to be part of the reef. It is now home to a large variety of aqua life such as turtles, catfish, flounder and grouper.

Chickasaw is a 107 feet (10 meter) tug sank in the 70s. It lies now in a depth ranging from 75 to 77 feet (23 - 24 meters). Large schools of baitfish inhabit the wreck. Visibility range is from 20 to 40 feet (6 to 12 meters) and can be zero in cloudy days.

E. E. Simpson Tug is a tug boat built in 1877. The 93 feet (28 meters) long boat sank in 1929 and now lies at a depth of 18 - 20 feet (5 - 6 meters). The wreck’s broken parts are in about 1/2 mile (0.8 km) off shore. A large variety of marine life was spotted in the area like squid, stingrays, sea turtles and stone crab as well as large schools of baitfish and angelfish. Divers also report seeing Spanish mackerel, flounder, grouper, and mangrove snapper living in the area.

Grey Ghost is an artificial reef in about 105 - 110 feet (32 - 34 meters) deep. Being part of the Artificial Reef Program, the site developed a large variety of sea life and became a favorable spot for underwater photography. Visibility is about 20-50 feet (6 to15 meters), so divers must be cautious entering the area.

Leroy was built in 1874 and sank in 1926 during bad weather conditions. The wreck is at a depth of 100 - 120 feet (30 - 37 meters). The area is home to large snapper, grouper and amberjack.

Tarpon is a ship wreck located in about nine miles southwest of the St. Andrews jetties. The ship sank in 1937 and now lies in 90 - 95 feet (27 - 29 meters) of water. This site is home to many kinds of aqua life such as spiny lobster, moray eels, grouper and spadefish as well as angelfish, amberjack, flounder and remoras.

USS Chippewa is a ship wreck at 70 - 100 feet (21 - 30 meters) deep. It was sunk in the year 1990 to form an artificial reef. It is one of the largest artificial reefs in Panama City. The ship is intact and upright and waiting for you to explore.

USS Strength is a 184 feet (56 meters) ship sank in 1987 to form an artificial reef. It is at a depth of 65 - 76 feet (20 - 23 meters). Now it became home to abundant sea life.
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