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Scuba Diving in Tampa – Ultimate Guide

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Scuba Diving in Tampa - Ultimate Guide

If you are interested in scuba diving, then Tampa is a great place to do it. There are many scuba diving spots in Tampa, and each has something different.

In this guide, we will go over some of the best scuba diving spots in Tampa, as well as what you need to know before you begin your trip.

Why It Is Great for Scuba Diving in Tampa

With crystal clear waters, abundant marine life, and year-round warm weather, Tampa is great for scuba diving.

There are many dive sites in the Tampa area, including shipwrecks and reefs. The average water temperature is a comfortable 75 degrees Fahrenheit, making it possible to dive all year round.

Tampa is home to several scuba diving schools and dive shops, so it is easy to find instruction and equipment. There are also many divemasters and instructors who are familiar with the local dive sites and can guide you on an exciting dive adventure.

Tampa’s Best Spots for Scuba Diving and Dive Sites

Tampa is home to some of the best diving spots and dive sites in the country. From world-renowned reefs to hidden coves, there is something for everyone. Here are just a few of our favorite places to dive in Tampa:

U.S.C.G. Blackthorn Shipwreck

In 1980, the 180-foot-long buoy tender S.S. Sunshine Skyway Bridge sank after colliding with the 600-foot-long ship S.S. Capricorn. To scuba divers, it is one of the best-known spots in the Tampa/St. Petersburg region. It was determined that neither ship was on its side of the channel throughout the transit and that both were at fault.

The Blackthorn was relocated to the Pinella’s number 2 artificial reef. It’s a sizable ship, measuring in at 37 feet in width and 20 feet in height. The dive itself is fantastic, but you shouldn’t go inside the ship since it’s falling apart. The sea turtles and angelfish might be there to greet you.

Sheridan Artificial Reef

Sheridan Artificial Reef, a famous diving spot, is located approximately 575 feet from the Blackthorn wreck. Barracuda, Goliath grouper, snapper, amberjack, and Spanish mackerel all call these waters home. A tugboat that sank in 1988 is still upright and completely undamaged, despite being 180 feet in length. Divers with experience and the proper certification may penetrate the wreck.

Gunsmoke Shrimper Wreck

The Gunsmoke Wreck is famous for its history of gunfights and marijuana smuggling. Approximately 20 miles south of St. Petersburg, it may be found sunken in 68–78 feet of water. The little shrimp trawler is half submerged and leaning to one side. Since there are so many baitfish in the region, it is popular with spearfishing enthusiasts, freedivers and scuba divers alike. There are still many shrimp nets around, so proceed with caution. You may have the spot to yourself since this is a less-known wreck off the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

Indian Shores Reef

One of the first artificial reefs, Indian Shores Reef was established in 1965. The Clearwater Pass is approximately 11 miles away, while the John’s Pass entry marker is around 13 miles away. It is one of the nicest inshore reefs in the region, and it was built out of concrete slabs, shipwreck bits, and culverts. You may dive with barracudas, blacktip sharks, goliath groupers, and Spanish mackerel, and there are also two WWII landing ships and a 240-foot barge that is flipped over.

South County Artificial Reef

Being set up from 2001 to 2003, the South County Artificial Reef may be found 11 miles west of St. Pete and the Pass-A-Grille entry sign. Though the thought of swimming around bricks and heaps of debris may not appeal to some, the fish find it to be rather enticing, which makes the artificial reef quite interesting for scuba divers, freedivers and snorkelers alike. This Florida dive site is easily accessible from any port on Tampa Bay or a nearby canal.

Veterans Reef

The Circle of Heroes Monument at Veterans Reef is a one-of-a-kind dive site in Tampa located around 40 feet below the surface, about 10 miles west of Clearwater. There are now 12 statues of service members shown at life size.

They represent the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard. There are scrub brushes connected to the sculptures, and they are placed in a circle for divers to use if they so desire. A number of more sculptures are scheduled to be added to the area soon.

Egmont Key State Park

Snorkeling fans and scuba divers alike should make their way to Egmont Key State Park. It sits on Tampa Bay’s southwestern tip. Explore the vibrant coral, sponges, and seagrass meadows, and swim beside the ancient remnants of Fort Dade. You could get to view some amazing sea turtles if you visit this park since it serves as a nesting place for these animals. Keep an eye out for groupers, tarpons, snooks, snappers, and shrimp.

Best Dive Shops in Tampa

If you’re looking for the best scuba diving in Tampa, you’ll want to check out these dive shops. From beginner to advanced, these shops have everything you need to get started or continue your exploration of the underwater world.

Adventure Outfitters

This shop is a great choice for those looking for convenience. They offer both group and private lessons, as well as equipment rentals and sales. They also have a wide range of courses to choose from, so you can find one that’s perfect for your skill level.

Calypso Tampa

This shop is perfect for those who want a more personalized experience. They offer private lessons as well as small group classes, so you can get the attention you need to learn at your own pace. They also have a great selection of equipment for sale or rent, so you can get everything you need in one place.

Trilogy Scuba

This shop has everything you need to get started with diving, from classes and equipment rentals to sales and service. They also have an online store so you can buy all the gear you need from the comfort of your home.

Best Time to Scuba Dive in Tampa

The best time to scuba dive in Tampa is between March and October, when the water is clear and the weather is warm. September and October are a little less warm – however, they are great months for diving, as the water is still comfortable but the crowds have thinned out.

November through February are the coldest months, so if you’re not a fan of cold weather, you may want to avoid scuba diving during this time.

In general, Tampa is an all-year-round diving location, especially if you have the right exposure protection (i.e., wetsuit or drysuit). Get yours now at Scuba.com, the leading scuba diving online shop!

Some Interesting Facts About Tampa for Scuba Divers

Tampa is a great place to scuba dive, with plenty of interesting facts and features that make it a top destination for divers. For instance, Tampa is home to the largest artificial reef in the world, the Gandy Bridge Reef. This man-made reef is over two miles long and provides a fantastic dive site for both novice and experienced divers.

In addition to the Gandy Bridge Reef, Tampa is also home to several natural reefs, including the Long Key Reef and the Egmont Key Reef. These reefs offer a more challenging diving experience, with plenty of nooks and crannies to explore. There are also a number of wrecks in Tampa Bay that are popular dive sites, including the SS American Victory shipwreck.

With so much to see and do, it’s no wonder that Tampa is one of the most popular scuba diving destinations in Florida. Whether you’re looking for an easy dive site or something more challenging, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for in Tampa Bay.

Some Interesting Facts About Tampa

Tampa has the longest continuous sidewalk in the world: Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa is 4.5 miles long, making it the “longest walkway in the world.” Cyclists, joggers, and walkers all enjoy this scenic walkway, which is bordered by palm trees and provides unbroken views of the sea.

The highest temperature ever recorded in Tampa was just 98 degrees: In the sweltering heat and humidity of summer, a dip in the Gulf is a welcome relief. However, even though this area is known for its high temperatures and humidity, the thermometer has never gone above 99 degrees.

Tampa is a great culinary space: For instance, the Columbia Restaurant in Tampa is the oldest and biggest Spanish restaurant in the world. The location was opened in 1905, and four and five generations later, the Hernandez and Gonzmart families continue to run it.

What to Pack for Your Tampa Scuba Diving Trip

When packing for your Tampa scuba diving trip, be sure to bring along all the necessary gear. This includes a BCD, regulator, fins, mask, snorkel, and wet suit. You will also want to bring any accessories you want to take on your dives, such as a dive knife and a dive flag. Finally, don’t forget to pack a rash guard, a cap and sunscreen!

Things to Consider Before Going on a Scuba Diving Vacation in Tampa

There are a few things to consider before you head out on your diving vacation.

First, what is the weather like? The average temperature in Tampa is about 72 degrees Fahrenheit, but it can get much colder or hotter depending on the time of year. You’ll want to check the forecast and plan accordingly.

Second, what is the water temperature? The average water temperature in Tampa is about 75 degrees Fahrenheit, but again, it can vary depending on the time of year and the specific location. Be sure to check the water temperature before you dive so that you can be prepared.

Third, what is the visibility like? The visibility in Tampa can range from 10 feet to over 100 feet depending on the time of year and location. Check the forecast and be prepared for anything.

Fourth, what are the tides like? Tides can have a big impact on your dive, so be sure to check them before you go out.

Fifth, what is the current like? The current in Tampa can range from mild to strong depending on the location and time of year. Be sure to check it before you dive so that you know what to expect.

Sixth, what are the conditions like? The conditions in Tampa can range from calm to rough depending on the location and time of year. Be sure to check them before you dive so you can adjust your dive plan accordingly.

Finally, make sure you have all of your gear with you and that it is in good working condition. If it needs servicing, check out the convenient, worldwide equipment maintenance and repair service from House of Scuba!

What To Do When Not Scuba Diving in Tampa?

Whether you’re a local or just visiting Tampa, there’s plenty to do when you’re not scuba diving. Here are some of our top recommendations:

  • Visit the Florida Aquarium: The Florida Aquarium is one of the best in the country and is a great way to learn more about the underwater world.
  • Take a tour of the Tampa Bay Brewing Company: The Tampa Bay Brewing Company offers tours of their facilities so you can see how they make their delicious beer.
  • Explore Ybor City: Ybor City is a historic neighborhood that’s full of character. There are plenty of shops and restaurants to keep you busy.
  • Check out the Lowry Park Zoo: The Lowry Park Zoo is one of the top zoos in the country and is perfect for a day trip.
  • Take a walk or ride bikes through Bayshore Boulevard: Bayshore Boulevard is a beautiful waterfront street that’s perfect for an afternoon stroll or bike ride.


Is Tampa good for scuba diving?

Yes, Tampa is good for scuba diving! The dive sites around Tampa offer a variety of reef and shipwreck dives, as well as many other interesting underwater features. The waters of Tampa Bay are typically clear and warm, making for comfortable diving conditions year-round.

Can you scuba dive in Tampa without certification?

Yes, in theory you could, but it is definitely not recommended. We strongly recommend you to have a valid certification card from a recognized scuba diving organization in order to dive in Tampa. There are many scuba diving schools and instructors in the Tampa area that can help you get certified.

Can you scuba dive in Tampa in December?

Yes, December is a great time to scuba dive in Tampa! While it is not the warmest water temperature, it is still a comfortable 72 degrees and the visibility is excellent.

Where is the coldest place in Tampa?

While the water temperature in Tampa Bay averages around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, there are some spots that are significantly cooler. For example, the waters off of Clearwater Beach can dip down into the 50s during the winter months.

Where is the warmest place in Tampa?

The warmest place in Tampa is where the Gulf of Mexico meets Tampa Bay. The water here is typically about 10 degrees warmer than the surrounding area, making it a perfect spot for scuba diving.

What are the pros and cons of scuba diving in Tampa?

The clear, warm waters of Tampa Bay make it an ideal place to scuba dive. There are many scuba diving operators in the area that offer lessons and guided dives. The main downside of scuba diving in Tampa is the potential for strong currents below 30 feet depth.

What is the average water temperature in Tampa?

The average water temperature in Tampa is around 75 degrees Fahrenheit. This makes it a great destination for scuba diving all year round. The best time to dive in Tampa is typically during the summer months when the water is at its warmest.

Final Thoughts

After reading this guide, we hope you feel more confident and excited about scuba diving in Tampa! The city has so much to offer divers of all levels, from beginners to experienced. There are plenty of dive sites to explore, both in the bay and off the coast. And with year-round warm weather, it’s a great place to dive any time of year.

If you’re new to diving, be sure to take an introductory course before hitting the open water – you should not dive without certification. Once you’ve got your feet wet (literally), there are plenty of dive centers and charter companies offering day trips and courses for all levels. If you’re an experienced diver, there are still plenty of options for you in Tampa. Offshore dives offer the chance to see some amazing marine life, including turtles, rays and reef sharks. Whatever your level of experience, we hope you’ll enjoy scuba diving in Tampa as much as we do!

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