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DIVE TIPS: Beach Dives Tips | Florida Scuba Diving

Beach DiveThe water is warming up and it’s time to go scuba diving!
South Florida offers scuba divers countless reefs to explore by means of beach diving. With minimal planning and little cash, you can log some bottom time. While most charters charge $60+, you can do a single tank beach dive for as little as $3 for parking. With South Florida beach dives being shallow, you can easily do a 60+ minute dive.

If you haven’t done a beach dive before, or need to brush up on your skills, here are 15 useful tips for beach diving in South Florida.

  • Know the rules of diving off the beach. Many beaches with lifeguards don’t permit scuba diving. There’s a simple away around this: night dive or get to the beach early before the lifeguards do!
  • Always check the weather and the South Florida beach cams before heading out to go scuba diving. You don’t want to drive all the way to the beach only to find that the weather is bad or that it’s too choppy to dive.
  • Make sure to bring quarters. While some beach parking zones accept credit cards (Vista Park and South Inlet Park), many still do not. Expect to pay between $1 and $3 per hour for parking.
  • To reduce long walks to your dive site, look for a parking spot near where you want to enter the beach. If there’s no parking close by, drop off your gear near the dive site with your buddy while you park the car.
  • Assemble your gear on the sidewalk or on the grass, NEVER on the sand. Sand in your first or second stage will cause big problems when diving.
  • If parked near the car, load the parking meter at the last possible minute, or right before suiting up.  By doing so, you’ll save yourself at least 15 minutes worth of quarters.
  • Be wary of leaving your belongings on the beach unattended. Leave your valuables in the trunk of your car.
  • When walking to the ocean, watch out for holes in the sand or sea turtle nesting sites.
  • When waist deep, orally inflate your BC, turn 180 so you’re facing land and put on your fins. You are more stable when your back is to the ocean.
  • To save air and have more bottom time, swim on the surface until you reach the dive site. Many divers find it easier to swim at the surface while swimming on their back. To help stay balanced, you may want to hold the bottom of your tank with both hands.
  • When you reach the dive site, remember non-movable objects as reference points. This will help you find the spot next time you go scuba diving.
  • When exiting the water, walk across the beach with your gear on until you’re on the sidewalk or grass. DO NOT SIT YOUR GEAR ON THE SAND!
  • Like with any dive, always be conscious of other divers, snorkelers, beachgoers or spearfishers. Boats can also be a hazard during a beach dive. Many boaters still disregard dive flag rules, and can come dangerously close to shore.
  • Most importantly, don’t forget your dive flag when snorkeling and scuba diving!

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