Reefs of Ft. Lauderdale

The Local Reefs of Fort Lauderdale:

The reefs of South Florida are superb! They are healthy and thriving in most areas. In the Greater Fort Lauderdale area in particular, our reef system is very unique. Most of our ledges run North / South, meaning that there is a nice ledge facing either East or West. This makes navigation very easy. To make it even better, on most days if there is a current, those also typically run North /South. Almost all reefs can accommodate all levels of divers from beginners to advanced. If you are a photographer, spear fisher, underwater naturalist, lobster hunter, there is a reef for you. Let us know what you want to do and we will see if we can make it happen!

Abby Too

Abby Too (depth 45' - 55')

This ledge runs North-South but it is not a solid ledge for the whole run. It is a bit hard to follow, but it is great for lobstering! There are loads of little caves at the top in some parts, and little nooks along the sand for lobsters to hide in. The fish love it too as it is abundant with tropicals. There is a smaller reef just west of it to the north that is quite nice as well.

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Anglin Pier Reef

Anglin Pier Reef (60')

Named after Anglin Pier, this is a single ledge that runs North / South to the shore. The relief is about a 10' - 12' drop. There is also a false ledge just West of the main ledge, so if you are looking for lobster, that is a good place to hunt. You can also hit the deeper East side of this ledge where you can wander in and out of the spur and groove. Butterflyfish, Scrawled Cowfish, Yellow Goatfish all lounge about on the ledge here. Again, this ledge system is great for beginning open water divers and photographers.

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Ants Bed

Ants bed (160')

This again is a Western facing ledge. It is called the ants bed because at the north end of the reef top is peppered with holes and crevices, and it looks like it should be inhabited by an underwater colony. You are on the North West apart of the ledge where you can turn around and hit the other ledge on the way back. Loads of fish-life, good lobstering.

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Copenhagen

Copenhagen Preserve (15-30')

The 325 foot Copenhagen sank in 1898 lies in about 30' of water, her hull has mostly fallen apart and fanned out over this sand and reef. Coal from the ship's cargo, is completely camouflaged by marine growth, and is scattered along the bottom near the wreck. Most of the ship's body has become part of the reef, and it provides shelter for a host of sea creatures. The hull is covered with hard and soft corals sponges, and macro critters. Fish have made it their home, it is a super historical easy beginner dive.

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Crab Cove

Crab Cove (55-70')

This western facing ledge is a great lobster dive. There are loads of nooks and crannies to hide in. Snappers and Grunts teem amongst the red rope sponges and barrel sponges. There are undercuts of the reef at the bottom AND at the top of this reef providing lots of havens for juvenile fish, eels, and lobsters. Beginning divers will love this reef.

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Hillsboro

Hillsboro Ledge (45')

This strip of ledge is a nice long run. If there is a current, this is the reef to be on as you will probably not run out of reef. It has a nice North South run, facing west. The ledge has some nice undercuts where lobsters love to hide. If you are headed North, and you run out of reef, keep heading North and you will run into several good size reef patches where large green morays swim about freely and lobsters think they are hiding.

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Horseshoe Reef

Horseshoe Reef (45')

This part of the reef does not follow the normal Florida reef-line North to South. It has 3 horseshoe shaped areas that go in from the ledge. There are a lot of mini swim throughs although just for the fish. Because of this, there are hoards of fish always hanging there, especially glassy sweeper fish. Great for lobster hunters as well as photographers. Best way to dive it is not to worry which direction you are facing, just follow the ledge you are on, hit the crevices and keep going. You will probably not run out of reef.

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Labonte Reef

Labonte Reef (40')

This reef is super because it has 2 ledges, and Eastern and a Western facing ledge. They are both beautiful and have some good relief. This site is filled with fish and lobster. You will often see nurse sharks on this dive as there is a nice sand spot with a lower outcropping of ledge on the Western ledge. The kedge is a bit winding and has a few gaps, but just keep heading in the North or South direction and you will continue along it. Lots of schooling fish on this reef and a super beginner dive.

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Lighthouse Ledge

Lighthouse Ledge (50')

This western facing ledge is named after the Historic Lighthouse which is due West from the ledge. It is a very alive reef, lots of corals, lots of fish. This is because the reef has a few different tiers of ledge.

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Mark's Ledge

Mark's Ledge (60')

This is a very beautiful sheer 10' drop on the Western ledge. Loads of crevices hide loads of fish. On the top there are barrel sponges, soft gorgonians, tube sponges, sea fans, life everywhere. Schools of French Grunts, Scrawled Cowfish, and the occasional shy White Spotted Filefish and Spotted Drum can be seen here. Hogfish frequent the bottom sandy areas here.

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Moorings Drop Off

Moorings Drop Off (35')

The Drop Off is part of The Broward County mooring buoys which includes sites such as the Nursery & the Copenhagen. The main ledge faces to the east. This is a great open water certified dive due to the shallow depths and the little to no currents. There is not as much color on this reef though as it is covered with a bit of silt but there are some nice finds towards the bottom in the crevices. There is also a nice little ledge due West where you can sometimes find lobster hiding.

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Opal Towers

Opal Towers (45')

This strip of ledge has about a 10' drop profile. You will see eels, turtles, parrotfish, angelfish, as well as other tropical fish. This reef is nicely covered with sponges and corals (Yellow Pencil Coral, Boulder Mound Coral & Boulder Brain Coral, Great Mound Coral, Maze Coral, Elliptical & Smooth Star Coral). The reef has the tallest ledge at the South end. It is a great dive for beginning divers as well as lobster hunters. Nice for photographers & beginner divers.

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Pompano 3rd Reef

Pompano 3rd Reef (60')

Pompano 3rd reef is a very nice reef with loads of Coral, Green and Purple Rope Sponges, Sea Whips, and Purple Sea Fans. The ledge has some pretty deep and long crevices where lobsters like to hide. See Spotted Drums, Scrawled Filefish, Atlantic Spadefish, and Grunts. Grouper are seen here and so it is sometimes great for spear fishing. It is a nice night dive, and you can see octopus, crabs, lobster, and basket stars. Sometimes there are strong currents but that usually brings good visibility.

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Pompano Drop Off

Pompano Drop Off (32')

The Pompano Drop Off has 25 mooring buoys in total, which include the popular Nursery & Copenhagen dives. These are super beginner dives as they are shallow. The main ledge faces to the east. If you head to the West, there is another little ledge that is sometimes good for hiding lobsters. There are usually snook hiding here under the ledges, and sometimes you will see nurse sharks. Mostly these ledges are used for training, but they are also great dives. They can be silty at times due to the lack of currents.

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Pompano Ledge Moorings

Pompano Ledge Moorings (30')

This strip of reef is shallow, and 31 buoys have been installed to protect the reef and sea-life. They moorings were installed by the Natural Resources Planning and Management Division, Ocean Watch Foundation, Florida Boating Improvement Program, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, along with the support of local dive operators and volunteers.There are many undercuts here that the sea life love to hide in. Because it is shallower and not as much current, there is a bit of silting on the reef.

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San Remo

San Remo (65')

This strip of ledge has many caves, crevices and overhangs. This attracts a large amount of marine life. Not so many schools of fish but lots of grouper, gags and tropicals. There can be strong currents but it is a great drift dive. It is a super lobster reef as well. It is not a long reef system though, so if there is a really strong current this is probably not the best choice. It is a fantastic night dive. Good for beginning divers.

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Sanctuary Reef

Sanctuary reef (60')

This is not really a sanctuary, but it sure is pretty enough to be one. It is the North / South running ledge, not as tall as some of the others but still nice. Easy navigation, lots of large barrel sponges everywhere, gorgonians, and corals. Trumpet fish, schools of Yellowtail Jacks and Blue Tangs. There are large crevices where tropical fish hide on the top of the ledge. There is great light. This is a nice easy beginners dive as well as good for underwater photographers.

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Separated Rocks

Separated Rocks (45')

This reef-line is a line of about 20 patches of coral reef that are in a row running North / South, sometimes bending a little. There are brief parts where it stops. You just need to keep going along the same course and you will pick up the next one. This is a super dive for hunting for lobsters there is a undercut ledge all around almost every reef. It is usually teeming with life. Great for beginners. Tube Sponge, Barrel Sponge, Wrasse, Parrot Fish, Sergeant Majors, Butterfly Fish, all can be seen here.

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Shark Ledge

Shark Ledge (65')

This is an impressive ledge, about 15'. It is called Shark Ledge because there are a population of Caribbean Reef Sharks that have populated the area. You can expect to see a shark every time you dive there. Turtles and Moray eels are also common. There is also a nice sized cavern to the North end of the reef. Aside from that, this is a very nice ledge, fairly steep and full of crags. Great for all levels of diver.

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Steve's Twin Ledges

Steve's Twin Ledges (45')

This site has 2 ledges, and both run North / South. The Western ledge is shallower and drops about 5'-7' to about 40‘ to the sand. The Eastern slope drops about 10'-15' to about a 45' depth. The ledges are populated with purple sea fans, soft gorgonians, and tube sponges. French angelfish, parrot fish, squirrel fish and trumpet fish are all usually about as well. Yellow striped grunts share the underside of the ledges with glassy sweeper fish. Super open water diver reef and great for underwater photography also.

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Sunkist

Sunkist (45')

This part of the reef has 2 ledges facing both East and West. Barrel Sponges everywhere, Soft Corals, Hard Corals, schools of French Grunts, Puffer Fish, Blue Tangs, Creole Wrasse, Pork Fish, Spotted Drums, and Moray Eels all have found homes on this reef. This is a great spot for Lobster and Lionfish hunters as there are plenty of overhanging reefs with good places to hide. There are a lot of in and outs on this ledge, nooks and crannies.

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The Caves

The Caves (35')

A system of 16 moorings mark a broken ledge varying in depth from 20 to 30 feet. The Caves have protruding pieces of reef and coral out from the ledge and it is quite striking when the light filters down through them. There are also lots of holes through the reefs hence the name “The Caves”. Fish congregate inside these holes. Because this is a fairly shallow reef and part of the buoys, it is great for training and beginning divers as there is not much current. It can be a little silty though.

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Touchdown Reef

Touchdown Reef (40')

This reef just South of the Pompano pier. It is a Western facing ledge and full of fish. It is named Touchdown because when you are looking at the beach, there are 2 tall buildings on each end of the reef that look like a goalpost. This reef is pretty flat on the top but is still a good lobster hunting dive. You can see some larger fish here as well, like groupers and gags. An occasional green moray, but loads of tropical fish. It is a healthy reef and great for beginner divers.

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