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Dry Tortugas NP


Florida

Park Activities

Snorkeling

Snorkeling is a great way to immerse yourself in the underwater world of the Dry Tortugas. Many wrecks and patch reefs lie in relatively shallow water and are easy to access. Be sure to ask for more information at the Visitor Center!

A designated snorkle area is located near the campground. Snorkeling along the outside of the moat wall or around the pilings of the south coaling dock is recommended. A good place to start is along the outside of the moat wall. Large coral heads are located within the western edge of the designated Snorkel Area, approximately 75 yards from the moat wall. More experienced snorkelers may want to explore the metal pilings of the old coaling docks. Patches of healthy coral reef, some easily accessible from shore and in shallow water, are snorkeling havens. Do not disturb coral or shells. All coral, living and dead, is protected from collection. Shipwrecks and all historic artifacts in the park are protected by law. Remember, you must display an approved dive flag when snorkeling outside of the designated Snorkel Area. For your safety never snorkel alone—always use the “buddy system” when entering the water. Make sure to test and adjust your equipment before you begin snorkeling. If you must make an adjustment while snorkeling, carefully find a sandy bottom on which to stand. Stand in the sand! Never stand on coral or seagrass.

Before snorkeling, make sure that all equipment fits properly. There are no life guards on duty, so swim at your own risk. No swimming or snorkeling is permitted inside the moat.
To re-iterate: Make sure to never touch or stand on coral. Carelessness can destroy years of coral growth in seconds. Seagrass beds are a nursery for small fish and marine life. Please keep off. Stand in the sand. Never stand on coral or seagrass!

Diving

The Windjammer Wreck is one of the most important and complete wreck sites in the Dry Tortugas. In its prime the “Windjammer” was a majestic sailing ship, carrying cargoes to worldwide markets.

The Avanti is one of many wreck sites within Dry Tortugas National Park. These islands, shoals, and reefs, discovered by Ponce de León in 1513, have been the scene of nearly 300 shipwrecks. The proximity of these reefs to the nearby shipping lanes of the Gulf of Mexico has made them a natural “ship trap.” The wreck site lies in approximately 18-21 feet of water. The site is in two main wreckage fields. The bow portion, approximately 110 feet in length, lies in a generally east-west direction. It includes the bow, midships, and foremast. The second field, also roughly 110 feet in length, lies in a generally north-south direction. This second field is composed of midships, stern, mizzen, and main mast structures. The wreckage and its associated coral are fragile. Please do not touch! A mooring buoy is provided for anchoring. If you choose to drop anchor, pick a location that is a safe distance from the wreck site. Make sure that you anchor on a sandy bottom that is free of coral. Fishing is prohibited at the Windjammer Wreck site; you must be at least 100 yards away from the wreckage to fish. Please remember that all shipwrecks, artifacts, and coral are protected within the park. You are the key to preserving this and other important sites. Only with your help will future generations be able to enjoy the park’s rich maritime heritage.


Location: Lat: 24 37.413'
Lon 82 56,548'

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Visitors enjoy the views underwater snorkeling at Dry Tortugas National Park.
Visitors enjoy the views underwater snorkeling at Dry Tortugas National Park.

Diving at the Dry Tortugas National Park
Diving at the Dry Tortugas National Park

   
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Document Information
Source: National Park Service; magazineUSA.com
Last modified: 20070511
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