Why drive for hours and take a 45 minute boat ride just to reach a reef when stellar sites are only 15 minutes away? In Pompano Beach, awe-inspiring reefs and dive sites begin just 1/4 mile off shore. Step out of your front door and dive into these spectacular underwater escapes.
For the top 8 snorkeling and diving sites in Pompano Beach, keep reading.
Pompano Beach Snorkeling Spots
The Pompano Beach coastline is great, but some of the most beautiful sites are out of eyesight, beneath the waves. The good news is, you don't need to be an expert diver or even wear scuba gear to visit some of the best reefs and ledges Pompano Beach has to offer. If you're a confident swimmer, most snorkeling locations are in less than 20 feet of water.
Grab your mask, snorkel, and fins, and check out these four Pompano Beach snorkeling spots.
1. Pompano Beach Drop Off
Just a half mile south of the Pompano Pier, the Pompano Beach Drop Off is a hot spot for novice snorkelers and students. The reef varies from 6 to 22-feet deep and runs parallel to the shore, just 350 yards from the beach. Plus, there is usually very little to no current, making for an easy drift along the reef's ridge.
The Pompano Beach Drop Off is blanketed in marine species. Flat rock masses, some 100 feet wide, have become home to dozens of native Floridian wildlife. Some of the rocks have crumbled over the years, creating holes and caves that have become hiding spots for lobsters, crabs, and small fish. An array of corals, sea whips, and sponges rest feet below the water's surface.
2. Suzanne’s Ledge
Once you warm up to the Drop Off, make your way to Suzanne's Ledge. This scenic spot is actually a continuation of the same tract as the Pompano Beach Drop Off, and still runs parallel to the shore. The ledge is about 10 to 20 feet in depth, and typically has little to no current disrupting the wildlife.
Suzanne's Ledge is full of small nooks and crannies that lobster and even moray eels have made their home. Here you can see plenty of juvenile species, schooling bait fish, and occasionally, tarpon. To the west of the ledge, you can even see clusters of staghorn coral, branching, stony coral that's built that larger part of the Caribbean coral reefs over the last 5,000 years. If you visit following the winter months, keep an eye out for amazing shells in the sand flats.
Labonte is the perfect example as to why you don't have to stray far to find excellent Pompano Beach snorkeling spots. Located just 1 mile north of the Hillsboro Inlet, this reef is easily accessible. The top of Labonte is in 35 feet of water and reaches 45 feet at its sandy sea floor.
While Labonte is deeper than both previous snorkel sites, it still makes an excellent beginner's reef. It's relatively close to shore, meaning you won't need to swim or boat for miles to reach it. Plus, it's easy to find and is home to a wide variety of invertebrate life and native fish species. Pay close attention to the reef's small holes: lobsters, snapper, and grouper can all be found.
4. Razzle Dazzle
If the name of this reef alone doesn't want to make you visit, we have a few other reasons. Razzle Dazzle is a great location for drift snorkeling, meaning you allow the gentle currents to carry you across the water's surface. The sheer size of this reef means you can drift north or south and still have plenty of reef to spare.
In terms of what you might see while snorkeling Razzle Dazzle, expect anything from rays and moray eels to schools of fish and turtles. Depth ranges from 45 feet at the top of the reef to over 70 feet at the sand. Take your time and explore this reef, it never disappoints.
Pompano Beach Scuba Diving Sites
Pompano Beach is home to some of the clearest and warmest waters in Florida, making it a diver's dream. Natural coral reefs and wrecked ships line the sandy sea floor, close enough that you can actually swim straight from the shore. In fact, some actually call Pompano Beach the "Wreck Capital of Florida" for how many ships have made its waters home.
For the diving enthusiasts, check out these Pompano Beach scuba diving sites.
1. SS Copenhagen
Along the eastern side of Pompano Beach Drop Off lies the SS Copenhagen. Originally a 325 foot long steamer with a beam of 47 feet, the SS Copenhagen is partially buried, but you can still make out many features of the infamous wreck. The site is over a hundred years old, and a plethora of species have long claimed the vessel as their home.
The SS Copenhagen was a British cargo ship originally built in 1898. While en route from Philadelphia to Havana she ran aground on the Drop Off, creating unsalvageable damage. The Copenhagen remained partially visible above water until World War II naval fighter pilots used her for target practice, sending her plummeting to the ocean floor where she still lies today. Approximately 15 to 30 feet underwater, you can see large school of bait fish as well as an array of coral species along the ship's surface.
2. The Nursery
A scuba diving site located along the Pompano Beach Ridge, this spot got its name from the family of nurse sharks that made it their home. Full of large under cut ledges, the Nursery is an excellent habitat for the sharks as well as dozens of other species. Hundreds of fish and even moray eels swim in this shallow dive.
The Nursery is often an anchor dive, meaning that instead of continuing along the ridge, a diver stays to interact with the nurse sharks. For the most part, nurse sharks are harmless to humans, and those situated in the Nursery are acclimated to divers and snorkelers alike. Only 15 to 30 feet deep, open water and novice divers would love this experience.
3. Lady Luck Wreck
Despite being one of the newer ship wrecks in Pompano Beach, the Lady Luck Wreck is surely a sight to see. Sunk July 23, 2016, the Lady Luck is 324 feet long and 50 feet wide. But, she's so no ordinary vessel. Donated as a dive site from the Isle Casino Racing and the City of Pompano Beach, Lady Luck has been transformed into an underwater casino with octopus dealers, mermaid waitresses, card sharks, and fish working the ropes.
Swim along larger than life dice stacks and five foot starfish in this wacky and wonderful wreck. The best part? The Lady Luck is only a mile and a half from shore making it easily accessible. Plunged 126 feet below the surface, this wreck is for those comfortable taking longer and deeper dives.
4. Jim Atria Wreck
The deepest dive in this round up is the Jim Atria wreck, plunged 135 feet below the water's surface. Originally a 1961 Dutch freighter named Poinciana, the Broward County Artificial Reef sank the 240-foot ship on her port side in 110 feet of water in 1987. Her name was soon changed to Jim Atria, after the Broward County diver, sport fisherman, and developer. In 1992, Hurricane Andrew shifted the ship more than 1/4 mile offshore and to an upright position at 135 feet. Both masts are intact, rising to 70 feet.
Divers are encouraged to the explore the inside of several openings at the wheelhouse. as well as the masts themselves, which are covered with sea fans and coral. Multiple variety of fish can be found among the wreck: black groupers and hogfish under the hull; squirrelfish and glassy sweepers in the cargo hold; snappers and grunts hiding in the shadows, and barracuda and amberjacks hovering as you descend. With over 27 years of growth, the Jim Atria wreck is a stunning site, brimming with sea life and a favorite among local divers.
Exploring Underwater Pompano Beach
With dozens of ship wrecks waiting silently beneath the warm waters and miles of colorful reef to explore, endless sites rest underwater in Pompano Beach. Whether you're checking out Pompano Beach scuba diving sites or Pompano Beach snorkeling spots, the water is waiting for you to jump in. But, before you go slipping on your fins, make sure your body's up to the task.
At ChiroCare of Florida, our Pompano Beach wellness center offers soothing therapies, strengthening exercises, and preventative treatment plans to keep you and your body in the best shape possible. Before you head off to your next aquatic adventure, give us a call today.