Pensacola Wreck Diving Locations
The M/S Antares is a 387ft freighter intentionally sank on September 27, 1995, and resting in about 140ft of water. At the time of sinking, the Antares was the largest artificial reef in Florida. Today, the Antares is mostly disarticulated, and spread over a wide area, but the stack is still intact offering an incredible 70ft of relief. A great dive, but its distance from shore, and deeper depths put it into the advanced category.
The Avocet is a 247ft long, 40ft wide clamshell dredge built in 1943. The Avocet was intentionally sank in May of 1991. The Avocet has a breach spanning it's beam, and seperating the hull into two sections about seven feet apart. The most forward section of the bow rests in 117ft of water while rearmost section of the stern sits in 110ft. There is about 45ft of relief at her tallest point.
The Brass Wreck is a 250ft long vessel believed to be a 19th Century wooden schooner. The wreck has never been positively identified, and it's unknown how it found its way to the bottom in 90ft of water. All that remains of the ship are the ballast materials, decking, anchors and ribs.
Liberty Ship - Joseph L. Meek
The 480ft long S.S. Joseph L. Meek was a WWII Liberty Ship built in 1942 and reefed in 1976. The Meek now rests in 95' of water. Despite it's advanced age, the Meek is still a popular and productive spearfishing spot.
A steel barge intentionally sunk in 1993 as an artificial reef, the Navy Barge now rests in 82ft of water.
Originally slated as an artificial reef, the Oops Barge sank on October 2, 1995, before it reached its intended destination about 2 miles away. The 65ft steel barge now rests in 75ft of water with about 5ft of relief.
Sank in 1995, The PC Barge is now a deck suspended 6ft from the bottom upon a hollowed-out frame in 81ft of water. Galvanized radio tower sections rest in the sand on each side of the barge.
Pete Tide II
The Pete Tide II is a 167ft long, 38ft wide platform supply vessel built in 1973. She was intentionally sunk as an artificial reef in 1993. Mostly intact, she lies upright in 102ft of water. The roof of the wheelhouse sits at 70ft. This is a beautiful wreck known to hold monster amberjack, and occasionally a goliath grouper or two.
Russian Freighter (aka S.S. San Pablo)
The "Russian Freighter" is actually the Panamanian steam merchant S.S. San Pablo, which was torpedoed by the German submarine U-161 on July 2, 1942 in Puerto Limón, Costa Rica. The San Pablo was raised, and eventually towed to Pensacola, and sank about 10 miles South of the Pass. Today, she is mostly a rubble pile that rests in 83ft of water, with as much as 8ft of relief.
The Tenneco Rig is a retired oil rig jacket deployed in 1982. Depths range 90ft to 175ft. Tex Edward Barge The Tex Edward is a steel barge intentionally sunk as an artificial reef in 65ft of water.
Three Coal Barges
In 1974, three steel coal barges broke free from their transport vessel on their way to reefing at another location. In order to prevent the barges from becoming a navigation hazard, explosives experts from the U.S. Navy sank them at their present location. Bridge rubble was also added to this location. Depths range from 45ft to 60ft.
Tug Born Again
Purposfully sunk as an artificial reef on January 24, 1991, the 65-foot Tugboat Born Again is partially intact with twenty-one 19ft sections of metal pipe extending from her decking. She currently rests in 95ft of water with her upper sections settled at about 65ft.
The USS Oriskany (CV/CVA-34) is a 904ft long US Navy aircraft carrier. The Oriskany saw significant combat service in both the Korean and Viet Nam wars. She was intentionally sank as an artificial reef on May 17, 2006. The USS Oriskany is a world-class dive for recreational and technical divers alike. She rests in 215ft of water with her upper sections settled at 84ft.
Originally built in 1942, the YDT-14 is one of two U.S. Navy dive tenders sank as artificial reefs in the year 2000. YDT-14 is mostly intact. In order to make the wreck safer for recreational divers, decking has been removed fore and aft of the bridge. The YDT-14 sits in 100ft of water with the top of her wheelhouse at about 70ft.
Originally designated YF-336 in 1942, this vessel was assigned to the New York and Potomac River Naval Commands before reassignment to the Naval District of Washington, at which point her name was changed to Suitland. In 1965 Suitland was assigned to the 5th Naval District at Norfolk, Va. In April 1971, Suitland was redesignated as dive tender YDT-15. In the year 2000, YDT-15 was sank as an artificial reef South of Pensacola. The YDT-15 is significantly subsided, with most of the bridge missing. She currently sits in 100ft of water.
Pensacola Reef Diving Locations
Greens Hole is a natural limestone reef resembling a tabletop sitting a few feet above the sandy bottom with scattered ledges, overhangs, and coral heads. Depths range from 95ft to 115ft.
Paradise Hole is another natural limestone reef with sections and heads spread over a wide area. Depths range from 80ft to 110ft, and there's usually one to three feet of relief.
The Timber Holes are similar to other natural limestone reefs in the area. It gets its name from the numerous holes stamped into the face of the limestone. It is believed that these holes were caused by the growth of ancient trees that have long since rotted away. Depths range 120ft to 130ft.
Pensacola Shore Diving
Ft. Pickens Jetty
The rock jetty at Ft. Pickens appears small from the surface, but it anchors a deceptive large dive site that also includes concrete culverts, airplanes, jeeps, golf carts, and other artificial habitat for a huge variety of underwater denizens. The jetty at Ft. Pickens is a wonderful dive site for daytime and after-dark diving, but it is tide-dependant. Park hours and rules, including dive-flag regulations must be observed, and are strictly enforced.
The remains of a fishing pier sit to the East of the current pier, and offer habitat for all manner of sea creatures. Be sure to observe dive-flag laws, and stay well-clear of the working fishing pier. This dive is not tide-dependant, but current, surf, and surge can be significant. You should carefully access conditions prior to suiting up.
The Portifino Reef consists of about a dozen "Christmas Tree" reef modules sitting in about 12ft of water. It's not tide-dependant, but current, surf, and surge can be significant at this location. You should carefully access conditions prior to suiting up.