DESTIN DIVE SITES

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Introduction

Destin diving offers a unique underwater experience. Its crystal-clear water and abundant sea life are what attract both snorkelers and divers to explore its unique structure in Destin dive sites. Destin has deep and shallow reefs, wrecks and coral reefs which make up a good variety of dive sites catering for both novices and experienced divers. There is abundant marine life among which you will find many kinds of tropical fish as well as loggerhead turtles, and dolphins. Always dive according to your level of training.

Destin offers a great variety of dive sites. Both day and night dives are available all year. Destin's crystal-clear water is great for underwater photography. The miles of sandy beach make Destin a great location for family vacations. There is deep water close to the shore making good diving quickly and easily accessible. The reef system in Destin attracts a lot of soft corals and sponges. The area is also home to abundant sea life such as spiny lobster, shovelnose and grouper.

All the information provided is purely informative for our readers and shouldn't be used as is to plan your immersion.

Statistics

 Average annual temperature: Between 27C to 31 (80F to 88F)

Average Water surface temperature: 24C (75F)

Visibility: Visibility is between 35 to 45 feet, sometimes it reaches 80 feet in winter (11 to 14 meters 24 meters in winter)

Coldest time: January

Warmest time: July

Possible to dive all year round

Reef Diving

 White Hill Reef (80-87 feet in depth): Located approximately 6 miles southwest of Destin’s East Pass. White Hill Reef is a single limestone ledge approximately 5 feet tall running east and west and facing south. This reef is home to many fish and numerous sea critters. It is not uncommon to see frog fish, brittle stars, anemones, toad fish, scorpion fish, octopus, spotted eels, along with an abundance of tropical fish. White Hill Reef is very close to the Thomas Hayward Liberty Ship, therefore making it much more abundant with game fish such as, gag and black grouper, scamp, red snapper, white and black snapper, flounder, trigger fish and much more. Common to see the large southern sting ray, sharks and in August the large eagle rays.


Amberjack Rocks (80-87 feet in depth): Located approximately 4 miles south of Destin’s East Pass. Amberjack Rocks is a single limestone ledge approximately 6 feet tall running east and west parallel to the shoreline. This reef faces to the north with a J curve on the west end. This reef is home to amberjack, grouper, snapper, flounder and trigger fish along with an abundance of tropical fish, octopus, eels and more. A good first-time dive because it’s easy to navigate.


Shoreline Reef (80-87 feet in depth): Located approximately 4 miles south from Destin East Pass, very close to Amberjack Rocks. This is a single ledge with many large boulders with deep cracks and crevices. Shoreline Reef is approximately 5 feet tall and runs north and south then turns east and west. It faces west and south and is shaped like a boomerang. Shoreline is home to octopus, scorpion fish, toad fish, eels and an abundance of game fish such as, amberjack, grouper, scamp, snapper, trigger fish and more.


Long Reef (80-87 feet in depth): Located approximately 4.5 miles southeast from Destin East Pass. This reef has a lower profile, approximately 2 to 4 feet tall and runs north east, southwest, primarily facing northwest. It has a short double ledge running parallel to the main ledge. The experienced diver generally likes this reef better because it is home to frog fish, many tropical fish and is good for macro photography. Also, home to shovelnose lobster.


Triplets (80-87 feet in depth): Located approximately 4.5 miles southeast from Destin East Pass. This reef has a lower profile, approximately 2 to 4 feet tall and runs north east, southwest, primarily facing northwest. It has a short double ledge running parallel to the main ledge. The experienced diver generally likes this reef better because it is home to frog fish, many tropical fish and is good for macro photography. Also, home to shovelnose lobster.


Labor Day Rock (84-91 feet in depth): Located approximately 5 miles from Destin East Pass. This is a large round rock with many cuts and crevices. This reef is approximately 4 feet tall, very easy to navigate, and is usually very fishy. It is home to many black snappers along with grouper, red snapper and amberjack. Not uncommon to see nudibranchs here and shovelnose lobster.

Wreck Diving

 Thomas Hayward Liberty Ship: At 80 - 90 feet deep, it was sunk at 1977 and now it became one of the most popular dive sites in Florida. Divers reported seeing southern stingrays, amberjack, grouper and flounder in the area. Located 7 miles southwest of Destin’s East Pass. This wreck was put down as part of the artificial reef program in 1972. She is approximately 380 feet long and lays on the ocean floor running north and south. She has no super structure, therefore like diving a large bathtub with bulkhead dividers. The mid ship has a crack running across the ship, where the fire furnaces were located. You can still find bricks although they were scattered during hurricane Opal. The north end has a second crack running across, although one side has fallen, and the end is now twisted. The ocean floor is 87 feet and the top of the deck (wall) is 68 feet. Common to see sharks, southern sting rays and eagle rays. In the summer there is an abundance of barracuda, amberjack and spade fish. Common to see goliath grouper and an assortment of other critters.


The Janet Tugboat: Located 11 miles southeast of the Destin East Pass. This 85-foot tugboat sits in 100 foot of water and sits upright with a top depth of approximately 70 feet. The tugboat sits on the seabed facing north to south. This wreck normally has schooling amberjack and at the right time of the year it’s not uncommon to see cobia and the large southern sting rays. High profile so it’s a great computer dive.

Mohawk Chief/Sand Dollar Artificial Reef Complex: It consists of six patch reefs arranged in a hexagonal shape; its center is a tugboat named Mohawk Chief. It is 100 - 124 feet (30 - 38 meters) deep. The complex is home to both small and large fish.


Barrel Barge: This barge was sunk as part of the artificial reef program. It sits in approximately 74 feet of water and lays on the sea floor pointing northwest/southeast. This barge was deployed with round fuel tanks on top with holes cut in them for a fish habitat and a dump truck bed welded on top of the tanks. When hurricane Andrew came through all the fuel tanks rolled off, surrounding the barge and the dump truck bed was never found again. This dive is easy to navigate, it is a good second dive since its approximately 60 feet to the top and is good for new divers. Usually an abundance of amberjack, spade fish, red snapper and flounder. In the spring there is usually a lot of shovelnose lobster, making this a great night dive.


Destin Bridge Rubble: The bridge rubble was sunk in the mid-70s to form this reef at a depth of 60 - 70 feet. The reef became home to a variety of sea life like large schools of baitfish. This is the old Destin Bridge which was brought out and turned into a reef as part of the artificial reef program. The site has three distinct reefs. The Main Stack, East Stack, and North Stack. The Main Stack has a profile of 58 feet to 69 feet. It has big slabs of roadway along with concrete rubble. Lots of hiding places for fish, lobster, eels and octopus. A favorite for many divers, because you never know what marine life you will encounter. Turtles, manta rays, sharks along with an occasional whale shark have been seen on the bridge rubble. The other stacks of rubble are not as large, but interesting in their own way. Great for beginners and experienced divers.


Miss Louise Tugboat: Miss Louise is at a depth of 55 - 60 feet. It is a tugboat sunk in 1997 as part of the Artificial Reef Program. It became home to crabs as well as gray snapper, angelfish, belted sandfish, and puffer fish. The Miss Louise is located approximately 7 miles down the east beach from the Destin East Pass. It is ¾ of a mile off Crystal Beach and sits in 57 feet of water. This wreck was put here as an open water training site for beginner classes. The Miss Louise was sunk in 1997, she is an 85-foot push tug with 25-foot push pads on the north bow of the wreck. She sits pointing north to south and she used to have a profile of 25 feet to her top. Unfortunately, after many storms her wheelhouse has been torn off never to be seen again. Her top deck is now 45 feet deep and great for training dives. Miss Louise is great place to see goliath grouper, angel fish, Spanish mackerel, spade fish, octopus and more critters. We have seen whale sharks, turtles, and lots of barracuda here as well.


The Tanks: Is part of the Okaloosa County Artificial reef program. It is at a depth of 65 - 70 feet. This site is a great spot for underwater photography.

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