It has been said over and over by many, but it always puts a grin on my face when I can tell someone I live where they vacation. Miami is truly an international city where you’ll find every food imaginable, be immersed in every language, and experience vibrant nightlife–but the excitement doesn’t end there! Miami is also one of the best dive spots in Florida. Since the early 80’s, artificial reefs have been created by sinking ships, tugs, army tanks, an airplane, radio antennae, and even man-made concrete “reefs”. These reefs have quickly attracted the growth of corals and sea life. I haven’t had a chance to discover every reef listed below, but here are a few reefs off the shores of Miami Beach and scattered throughout the keys.
48 – 48 ft.
15 – 15 m.
One of two M60 Army Tanks placed in 48 feet of water in June of 1994 just off Miami Beach.48 – 48 ft.
15 – 15 m.
This is one of two M60 Army Tanks placed in 48 feet of water in June of 1994 just off Miami Beach.15 – 25 ft.
5 – 8 m.
The Arratoon Apcar was a 260-foot iron-hulled screw steamer built in 1861. She ran aground and quickly sank on Fowey Rocks in January of 1878.40 – 50 ft.
12 – 15 m.
The Atlantis Reef Project is a man-made reef off the coast of Miami, Florida, 3.25 miles east of Key Biscayne, in the image of The Lost City of Atlantis. The site will be the largest man-made reef ever built, covering more than 600,000 sqft of ocean floor10 – 15 ft.
3 – 5 m.
A popular shallow patch reef just east of Sands Cut and Elliott Key. Great snorkeling location for the kids.60 – 85 ft.
18 – 26 m.
Belzona America, Inc. acquired these three tugs and donated them to be sunk in the Artificial Reef Program. The three ships lie in a triangle with lines connecting them for ease of navigation from one tug to another.50 – 50 ft.
15 – 15 m.
A barge and concrete structure that has a great deal of coral and sea life50 – 60 ft.
15 – 18 m.
A very popular wreck offshore of Key Biscayne. A vibrant community of fish makes this a great spot for photography and night dives.100 – 110 ft.
30 – 34 m.
This 175-foot passenger freight was sunk in 1983 and is filled with sea life. A great wreck fo runderwater photographers.68 – 68 ft.
21 – 21 m.
The Concepcion is a steel freighter sunk in 68 feet of water in the Sunny Isles Artificial Reef Site in June 1991.65 – 82 ft.
20 – 25 m.
The C-One is an intact U.S. Navy steel tug sitting in 65 feet of water in the Sunny Isles Artificial Reef Site.130 – 145 ft.
40 – 44 m.
The US Customs Reef is located four miles east of Key Biscayne and contains four cargo ships. These ships lie in 130 feet of water.100 – 135 ft.
30 – 41 m.
This 210′ freighter was sunk in 135′ of water in October 1976. She’s a popular site with local fishermen and deep divers.70 – 80 ft.
21 – 24 m.
The DEMA Trader (formerly known as the GGD Trader) is a 165-foot-long freighter in 80 feet of water about 3 1/2 miles east of Key Biscayne.70 – 140 ft.
21 – 43 m.
This large freighter was sunk in 1986 after the Air Force conducted a simulated bombing of the ship.15 – 25 ft.
5 – 8 m.
Emerald Reef is a small shallow-water patch reef one mile east of Key Biscayne. It’s considered by many to be one of the most beautiful reefs in Miami, rivaling those found further south in the Florida Keys.15 – 20 ft.
5 – 6 m.
The vessel Erl King was a 305-foot three-masted, single screw, iron auxiliary steamer with a 34-foot beam. On the December 16, 1891, The Erl King ran aground on Long Reef during a voyage from Swansea England to New Orleans, Louisiana.65 – 70 ft.
20 – 21 m.
The 70 foot Haitian freighter Esjoo was sunk as an artificial reef and sits in 50 feet of water.15 – 100 ft.
5 – 30 m.
This is a great location for a repetitive dive and for snorkeling. The shallow waters underneath the lighthouse are home to an abundance of fish live and coral gardens.45 – 45 ft.
14 – 14 m.
A shallow water artifical patch reef system created with 850 tons of limestone boulders.10 – 10 ft.
3 – 3 m.
Half Moon was a 154-foot steel sailing yacht that was once a floating saloon during Prohibition. The ship sank during a storm in 1930 in just 10 feet of water. It is now an Underwater Archaeological Preserve.