The Florida Keys

The Florida Keys, also called the “American Caribbean”, are made up of approximately 1,700 islands most of which are uninhabited. The islands, or Keys, that are populated are connected by 42 bridges and stretch some 126 miles from the mainland to the last Key, Key West. We separate the Keys into three main areas, the Upper Keys, the Middle Keys and the Lower Keys.

The turquoise-blue waters surrounding the Florida Keys and Key West provide outstanding world-class flats, back country and deep-sea fishing, scuba diving and snorkeling, sailing and other water related activities and makes the Florida Keys and Key West one of the world’s most popular vacation destinations.

Scuba divers come from around the world to enjoy the Florida Keys reef system. Since 1990, the Florida Keys reef system has been protected by the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Because of that protection, the sealife in the Florida Keys is very prolific.

Not only do we offer outstanding reef diving, but the Florida Keys are home to a wide variety of artificial reefs for wreck diving.

Florida Keys Reef System

Florida Keys Reef System

The Florida Keys Reef Tract is the only living coral barrier reef in North America and is the 3rd largest coral barrier reef in the world. The first is the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the second is the Meso-American Reef in Belize. The Florida reef extends approximately 221 miles down the South East coast of Florida and runs parallel to the Florida Keys starting at Key Biscayne near Miami all the way down to the Dry Tortugas which are 70 miles west of Key West. The reef is found from 1 mile to 8 miles offshore.

Because the reef protects the shores of the Florida Keys from the Atlantic surf, the Florida Keys have very few sandy beaches and some are man-made.

Florida Keys John Pennnekamp Park

National Marine Sanctuary

The majority of the reef system off Key Largo was ceded over to the Key Largo National Marine Sanctuary in 1975, which was then incorporated into the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary in 1990. Because of this, the reefs that we visit are now under heavier protection and heavier enforcement of violations. The reefs are showing great benefits from this protection! Many of the most sensitive, healthiest reefs are now protected as Sanctuary Preservation Areas, a designation that was put in place July 1st, 1997. Being designated as an SPA makes it illegal to fish, lobster, stand, anchor on the reef, or even touch anything within the SPA boundaries. This protection has boosted levels of large gamefish on the reefs and greatly stabilized the overall health of the reef tract.

Florida Keys Scuba Diving Charters

Scuba Diving and Snorkeling Excursions

Florida Keys scuba diving & snorkeling charters and Key West scuba diving & snorkeling excursions will take you out to the Florida Keys reef for world class diving and snorkeling in the mostly crystal clear and calm turquoise blue waters.

If you need to rent dive equipment, you won't have any trouble finding a dive shop to rent good, quality dive gear.

Don't want to dive but want to see the reef or go with someone that's diving? Most Florida Keys dive shops offer snorkeling trips to the reef, too. And there are several boat charters just for snorkelers.

Florida Keys Diving Certification

Dive Certification

If you have always wanted to learn to dive, get your Padi, SSI or Naui certification in the Keys! We have many dive shops with facilities, dive instructors and divemasters ready and equipped to train you from beginner classes to instructor courses. Getting your certification in diving in the Florida Keys is perfect because many Keys dive sites are shallow so they're ideal for beginner diving.

Florida Keys Dive Sites

The Dive Sites

In the Florida Keys, divers can choose from a variety of dive sites. We have wreck diving, reef diving and artificial reef diving with different skill levels from beginner to advanced diving. Water temps peak in the low 80Fs in summer, and can drop to the low 70Fs in winter. Visibility is usually good, typically no less than 50 feet, and you'll see more fish life than you might expect.

Florida Keys Boat Rentals

Boat Rentals

If you are very experienced diver and would rather captain your own boat, there are several places to rent reliable boats in many different sizes.

But if you are unfamiliar with the waters of the Florida Keys, please review our tips for Boating. The Florida Keys waters can be tricky to navigate at times and we want you to be safe.

Lobstering, Crabbing and Spearfishing

Read about recreational lobstering, stone crabbing and spearfishing in the Florida Keys. Learn the state rules, regulations and seasons.

Scuba Diving Articles

A variety of interesting scuba diving articles.

Ways to Protect Coral

Do your part to protect coral while boating, fishing, snorkeling or diving.

Average Keys Water Temperatures

One of the most common questions is "how cold or warm is Florida Keys water during each season".

Florida Keys Maps and Brochures

An assortment of Florida Keys Maps and Brochures ready for download or to view on line.

Visitors' Information

Important phone numbers, information on the Florida Keys area hospitals and more.

Florida Keys Scuba Diving Charters - Key West Scuba Diving Charters