Hey all you SCUBA divers out there in cyber land! Florida’s Panhandle has a new attraction for your underwater enjoyment! The Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research, Division of Historical Resources and their many partners recently launched the Florida Panhandle Shipwreck Trail. This underwater trail includes twelve shipwrecks off the coast of the Panhandle from Pensacola to Port St. Joe. Each of these wrecks has a different, interesting story to tell and is home to a wide variety of marine life. The Trail includes fascinating dive sites, such as USS Oriskany, the world’s largest artificial reef, and the FAMI Tugboats, with one piggy-backed atop the other. The twelve wrecks are located in varying depths, and you can start the Trail on any wreck and go in any order you like. The official website, www.floridapanhandledivetrail.com, provides divers with all the information needed to plan a trip. The website gives details about the sites, including photos and exciting video, with links to current weather conditions and much more. To help guide visitors along the Florida Panhandle Shipwreck Trail, an official passport is available at participating dive shops and charter boats. You can find the location of all participating dive shops and charter boats on the website as well. The passport contains a dive log to record each stop along the Trail and includes a place to validate your visit with an official sticker and signature! This makes a great souvenir of your underwater adventure along the coast of the Florida Panhandle. You can also join the Florida Panhandle Shipwreck Trail’s Facebook page to share photos and stories of your visits to the various dive sites!
Of course, we want to ensure these sites remain in pristine condition so marine life can flourish and other divers can continue to enjoy these beautiful shipwrecks into the future. The Florida Panhandle Shipwreck Trail aims to promote underwater cultural heritage tourism and stewardship. It focuses on responsible diving and local stewardship to ensure that these resources are sustainable and that we can all continue to enjoy them for years to come. Remember, take only pictures and leave only bubbles! Strap on your fins and suit up! The water is beautiful, so dive on in to your next underwater adventure along Florida’s Panhandle!
FPAN North Central Region