Scuba diving in Pensacola
Pensacola is one of the most
popular vacation spots in the world. Pensacola's offshore
diving has developed greatly since the beginning of the
Escambia County Artificial Reef Program in the 1970s.
Pensacola is where you can enjoy diving in the USS Oriskany;
the largest vessel ever sunk as an artificial reef.
sites are home to
variety of sea life like, snappers,
groupers, and triggerfish.
Always dive according to your level of training.
Never enter the water without checking with
centers for safety, additional information, level required
for each dive site and without being accompanied by a
All the information provided is purely informative for our
readers and shouldn't be used as is to plan your immersion.
Average annual temperature: Between 19°C and 31°C. (67° F
and 87° F)
Average Water surface temperature: Between 14° C and 29° C
(58°F and 85°F)
Visibility often averaging: Visibility is from 80 to 100
feet and in some sites like USS Oriskany can reach 200 feet
(24 to 30 meters and 61 meters)
Coldest time: January
Warmest time: July
Possible to dive all year round.
Pensacola's spectacular white beaches offer a great dive
opportunity for snorkelers as well as divers. Natural and
artificial reefs are easily accessible from shore allowing
divers to enjoy Pensacola's beautiful dive sites. Pensacola
offers a large variety of wreck sites, both historical and
artificial sites are available including the most famous USS
Oriskany. The reefs' beautiful structure is home to a
variety of aqua life with the most beautiful colors.
Some of Pensacola dive sites.
USS Oriskany is the world greatest artificial reef. The
888-foot aircraft carrier was sunk in May 17, 2006. It now
lies at a depth of 130 - 200 feet (40 - 61 meters). The
visibility is great about 100 feet (30 meters) and divers
reported seeing the tower from the surface. It is a very
attractive site that's worth seeing and it helps the growth
of marine life in the area.
Brass Wreck is a 250 foot wooden hull and lies in 90 - 95
feet (27 - 29 meters) of water. It became a very popular
spot because it has a wide variety of marine life. Flounder,
grouper, and snapper swim alongside the wreck as well as
amberjack and barracuda.
Catherine was built in Canada in 1869. The 200 feet (60
meters) long ship sank in 1894 and now lies in 15 feet (5
meters) of water. This site is not far from the shore of
Santa Rosa Island, swimmers can reach this spot swimming
Pete Tide II is an artificial reef formed by a 180-foot (55
meters) long oil field supply boat. The ship is at a depth
of 80 - 102 feet (24 - 31 meters). This site is home to
schools of snapper, grouper, and amberjack as well as
dolphin, wahoo, and blackfin tuna.
San Pablo / Russian Freighter sank in 1942 while unloading
cargo. The ship was raised and sunk once again to be used in
target practice. The remains lie in 75 - 85 feet (23 - 26
meters) of water. The site became home to a variety of aqua
life, grouper, snapper, cobia, flounder, and schools of
baitfish frequent the area. The visibility is great at this
spot, about 100 feet (30 meters) which makes it great for
Soule Barge was a ship sunk to form an artificial reef at a
depth of 70 - 83 feet (21 - 25 meters). Grouper, snapper,
flounder, and amberjack can be seen in the area along with
many other kinds of underwater life.
Three Coal Barges is 300 feet (91 meters) long coal barge
sunk in 1974 to form an artificial reef. The wreck lies in
40 - 50 feet (12 - 15 meters) of water. It makes a great
home to vast amounts of marine life. Loggerhead turtles are
spotted in the area.
USS Massachusetts served during the Spanish-American War and
was sunk in 1921 in shallow water as a target for coastal
artillery batteries. It now lies in 20 - 30 feet (6 - 9
meters) of water. The current is very strong in this area,
therefore divers should beware when planning dives on this