Diving and Snorkeling

a sea turtle in the foreground with a scuba diver in the background
The green sea turtle is an endangered species. Divers should follow responsible wildlife viewing guidelines while in the water. Photo: Olivia Williamson/Get Into Your Sanctuary Photo Contest

As home to the only living coral barrier reef in the continental United States, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is an ideal destination for snorkeling and scuba diving. From shallow coral reefs to historical shipwrecks, there's something for every diver, from beginner to technical level.

Every year more than 700,000 divers and snorkelers take to the water to discover the wonder and beauty of coral reefs in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. This much activity can take a toll on the environment, but the dive and snorkel communities are among the most environmentally-conscious in the world, proactive in their belief that to whom much is given, much is required.

From the water's surface a dive boat readies passengers.

Blue Star Dive Operators

Look before you book! Blue Star dive operators have pledged sustainable practices.

A diver swims with a handful of discarded rope

Responsible Diving Practices

There are a few things you can do to ensure you leave no trace while exploring the underwater world.

A diver peaks under the remnants of a wreck on the seafloor


Many of the maritime heritage resources protected by the sanctuary are accessible to scuba divers.

An aerial view of dive boats tied to mooring lines over a reef

Mooring Buoy Locations

Know where to go. Mooring buoys are maintained by the sanctuary to keep you and the corals safe while visiting popular sites.

divers hold a sign underwater that says goal clean seas

Volunteer Opportunities for Divers

Volunteers have the opportunity to make a difference in the sanctuary, even while enjoying a recreational dive with one of our partners.