St. Andrews Jetties, Panama Beach

Florida, USA East
Entry Map
Not ranked yet
Viz (last reported 35347h ago)
Max Depth
40ft (unconfirmed)

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.
Jan 25, 2009, 12:00 AM
Took the family to PCB for vacation so we could dive the jetties. We had a fantastic time. St. Andrew's is a great place for the family. I swam and snorkeled with my 5 yr. old daughter (lots to see in the kiddie pool all by itself) while my wife and 14 yr old son dove. When they got back they swam while I dove. We made a complete day of St. Andrews almost everyday. However, do not be fooled by claims that the park store has an air station. They quit doing this a couple of years ago. Now you can only rent snorkel equipment. There are several shops in the area where you can rent a tank for under $10 just outside or near the park. The walk to the dive site is a bit cumbersome with all your gear. But it is worth it. We went in mid July and dove on the channel side just across the rocks from the kiddie pool. The sealife was abundant. We saw grouper, queens angels, crabs, sheepshead, sea cucumbers and more that I cannot identify. Jellyfish were also abundant and after 6 days in the water the entire family had felt the effects at least once. The highlight for me was on my last dive. I had a manatee swim up to me and hang out with me for a few minutes. This was unbelievable. Visibility was very good at slack tide; around 40'. However, started to fade when the tide started to go out. The current also started to ramp up at this time as well; pulling out into the gulf. There are lots of other divers there about an hour before high tide so it is easy to find a buddy if you want one and they were all very nice. Be careful of the fishermen's lines. There are quite a few people on the rocks fishing out into the channel. Be sure to carry a knife to cut yourself out of old fishing line in the rare event you might get tangled in it. I have heard many stories of rude fishermen who did not like the divers. We had no issues whatsoever. If you are looking for an inexpensive place to dive ($5 per car to get into the park) this is the place to go. Pack a lunch and make a day of it. I also hear that Shell Island just across the channel is a great place to dive. However, it requires a ferry ride to get there. We will return to the jetties this summer to do some night dives and hopefully see some octopi.
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