Fort Pierce Inlet State Recreation Area
The reef at this area consists of several smaller reefs that are parallel to shore. The description of these reefs is similar to Vero Beach but the topography of the outer most reef at Ft. Pierce is more dramatic. The reef can actually be seen from satellite imagery on the Google maps link below. Http://www.google.com/maps?q=Vero+Beach,+FL,+USA&ie=UTF8&ll=27.482823,-80.299201&spn=0.013877,0.022659&t=h&z=16&om=1 Patches of sand exist between the reefs and can be used as navigation aids. The first reef is a couple hundred yards from shore but the outer most reef that faces the ocean has the most fish life and structural variation. Another difference in diving Ft. Pierce as compared to Vero Beach is that parking is plentiful and the facilities are extremely clean and diver friendly including drying racks by the showers-- this is what your fees help pay for. Something to keep in mind diving this area is that it is near an inlet that leads to the intracoastal water way. As such, pay attention to weather and currents for visibility conditions and use a good diver down flag. Furthermore, this is a popular site for surfing for stay cautious during the ascent and surface swim.
Ft. Pierce Inlet State Recreation area is located on A1A just before it heads west towards the mainland. A road from the gate house, this is a fee area, leads to several access points on the beach. The reef off the beach is a part of the larger reef that parallels the FL Treasure Coast all the way to just north of Miami - the name Treasure Coast derives from the numerous Spanish galleons that wrecked just offshore on this large reef system spilling their contents on and off the local beaches.
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08/04/2010 Anonymous (Avg: 3.53 Review) -
01/31/2009 Eightreale (Avg: 3.66 Review) - I dove this site only once, a while ago. I dove it with my newly certified stepson. Unfortunately I cannot offer any info on the outer reef. Not knowing the area and being with a novice diver dissuaded me from venturing out that far. It is quite a ways from the beach to the first reef but there are many things to see if you go slow. We had the misfortune of having two curious barracuda circling us along the way. Would not have been a problem except for the tightening circles as we swam. With one eye on the barracuda and the other on my son we ventured out to the reef in search of sunken Spanish treasure! That's right, gold and silver! Less than a half mile north of the jetty area lies a wreck. One of appx. eight Spanish Galleons that sank during a hurricane in July 1715. The ships are sunk all along the 'Treasure Coast' north of Sebastian inlet to south of the Fort Pierce inlet. Treasure is still being found on a regular basis yearly since the fifties. The sunken ship north of the jetty is commonly known as the 'Wedge' wreck, for the numerous wedges of silver, kinda like large cheese wheel wedges that were found on the wreck. Anyway the state park dive is nice especially if you know the history of the area. We came across a few sets of train wheels. I mean the entire set off of like a boxcar. You can find many interesting things there but be careful. This was the first site for the training of the newly formed Navy underwater dive team or the SEALs. They actually trained right there off that beach and along that coast. There are still some submerged tank barriers in some areas along the coast and you are warned about unexploded ordinance on the beach as well as in the water. The SEALs actually have a Museum on the beach about two miles north of the park open year round. The wedge wreck is a designated state park therefore a protected site. You can dive it but you cannot take anything off it. At one time there was a marker buoy so you could swim out and drop down the marker cable onto the wreck but the buoy is long gone after the last hurricanes. The site can be accessed from between the tall buildings, but without the buoy you will need a local to direct you to the right spot. After three hundred years on the bottom, the wreck is long gone and you have to look hard for evidence that it was even there, unless you are familiar with 17th century Spanish wrecks. There were a number of cannon on the wreck but the state has long since taken them away, but they did replace them with some nice cement replicas you can check out :) NO METAL DETECTORS ALLOWED IN THE WATER FOR OVER 20 MILES ALONG THE COAST!! ALL RIGHTS BELONG TO SALVAGE COMPANIES. However should you happen to stumble across treasure without the use of electronic aid you are entitled to a share from the salvage company. Anything found on the beach is considered 'Treasure Trove' and you are entitled to it free and clear! You can dive inside the 'outer reef' all day due to the less than twenty foot depths. Even though I dove there in 1995 I am very familiar with the area because I own a house there on the Island and travel there frequently. I have a friend who dives there in front of our house every week (4 miles north of the state park) and he comes home with lobster and fish dinner. I don't dive there because I don't have any gear there (being a New York diver and all) and I'm not particularly fond of the occasional stray shark that happens by :( I'm not a fraidy cat or nothin) I just feel that diving should be a relaxing enjoyable sport filled with fun :) With all the inherent risks associated with diving in itself I don't need to add unfavorable factors. And please remember, don't 'drink and dive'.
06/26/2008 Mike Walsh (Avg: 3.28 Review) - Ft. Pierce is another place to go diving ..While the family plays on the beach, the divers play under the water!! This is another of Florida's great places to dive! The best time of year to dive at this site from June to September. Try to catch the outgoing tide.
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