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About St. Andrews Jetties, Panama Beach Snorkeling and Scuba Diving
1,260-acre coastal park; 110ft, 40ft viz, 60-80DegF; for more information, call St. Andrews State Park at (850) 233-5140<br> <u>Park Fees:</u> Admission Fee--$5.00 per vehicle; $1.00 for the following: Pedestrians, Bicyclists, extra Passengers, Passengers in vehicles with holder of Annual Individual Entrance Permit<br> <u>Facilities:</u> Picnic pavilions, bath-house, restrooms, beach chair rentals (in season), Park store with limited lunch food items for sale plus drinks, snacks and souvenirs. Beach on tidal pool with no waves and beach on main beach area where waves are located. Boat shuttle (fee charged) available to Shell Island (sand island) across channel from park. No facilities on Shell Island.<br> <u>Dive Shop Concession on site:</u> Jetty Dive Shop 850-233-0197 On site air fills when compressor is working. Some rental tanks, but limited availability. Nitrox usually not available.<br> <u>Closest offsite Dive Shop:</u> PC Dive Center at the corner of Front Beach Rd and Thomas Drive just outside the park at the first redlight.<br> <u>Dive Rules:</u> Follow Florida State dive laws. Dive flag required for diving anywhere outside the jetty tidal pool.<br> <u>Best time to dive:</u> At "high slack tide" Check local tide tables for time.<br> <u>Dive Conditions:</u> strong currents can exist due to incoming/outgoing tide. Best time for lowest current and best visibility is at high slack tide. Depths to 65 feet in main channel. Beware of boat traffic above and use a dive flag as required by law. Fishermen sometimes fish on jetty rocks, so beware of line entanglement or being hooked. Best to carry a cutting tool just in case.<br> <u>Accommodations:</u> Camping available at park or hotels/condos available outside park. <u>Hours of Operation:</u> 8:00 AM to sunset<br> <u>Driving Directions:</u> From Hwy 98 turn South on to Hwy 3031 (Thomas Drive) and follow it straight to Hwy 392 and turn left to enter into the gates of St. Andrews State Park. St. Andrews State Park is located approximately 3 miles east of Hwy 392.
Sep 13, 2006, 12:00 AM
I've made this dive several times. It's a long hike from the parking and showers to the water. Most folks dive on the channel side, entering and exiting from the "kiddy pool". I way prefer to dive at slack tide and enter on the Gulf/surf side and swim the whole jetty out to the end, then back on the channel side, exiting through the kiddy pool. The largest flounder I've ever seen live on the surf side of the jetty about a third of the way out; some real door mats! Too bad spearing is illegal in the state park. I've seen ling on the outside, as well as a variety of jacks. Mangrove snappers are everywhere and groupers anywhere close to deep water. Dive on the channel side and descend the barren-looking slope to 60 feet for lots of sand dollars. You can't always rely on the Tide Tables at this site, but learn to use them as they are what counts when diving. This is a great dive, but be prepared to deal with current at the end of the rocks regardless of the state of the tide. Beware that there is sometimes a current running down the coast.
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