With the tight economy forcing American boaters to reconsider expensive trips abroad, the appeal of Florida yacht charters has increased dramatically in the past two years. Perhaps not on par with a Virgin Islands yacht charter, there are still plenty of points of interest while cruising along the South Florida coast, especially for charterers who also enjoy scuba diving.
While the Florida Keys may be known for their fishing and scuba diving locations, both Broward and Miami-Dade counties have some of the best spots to scuba dive in the nation. From natural reefs to sunken ships, it’s amazing what can be found off the shores of Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Many of the reefs and wrecks can be found in 60 to 80 feet of water, making South Florida a great choice for both novice and advanced divers.
Here are some of our top picks:
TUGBOAT JAY SCUTTI
First, Tugboat Jay Scutti (off Ft. Lauderdale)
Sunk in Sept. 1986, this 95 foot tug was seized by the government in a drug smuggling operation. It was bought at auction by a man who renamed it the “Jay Scutti,” after his son. The wreck lies in 70 feet of water and is centered between a 45 foot wreck named “Moonshot” and another named “Pride,” a 95 foot sailboat. All three wrecks are tethered together by a cable. Divers can usually explore two of the wrecks in one dive. Lots of fish inhabit the Jay Scutti, and it’s possible to enter the wreck through various openings.
Second, Hammerhead Reef (off Ft. Lauderdale)
Located just south of Port Everglades and running to the Dania Pier, this two and a half mile reef is famous for its sharks, rays, and large grouper. The front portion of the reef is in 60 feet of water, while the back side plunges to 80 feet. In some spots, the reef rises to nearly 20 feet. Tons of marine life call this reef home and make it a great spot for reef diving.
MIAMI BEACH WRECK TREK
Third, Miami Beach Wreck Trek (off Miami Beach)
It’s pretty impressive how artificial reefs have been created by linking multiple wrecks together via a guide cable. The Miami Beach Wreck Trek is a shallow dive, about 50 to 60 feet of water. It begins with a pair of army tanks on the southern end. As they swim north, divers encounter several tons of limestone boulders and more wrecks like the “Rio Miami,” a 105 foot tug which sits upright in about 65 feet of water.
THE BELZONA TRIO
Fourth, also off the Miami Beach coast is a trio of sunken tug boats. The “Belzona Ona,” lies in 85 feet of water. About 75 feet away is the second tug, “Belzona Two,” in 60 feet of water. The deepest of the trio, “Belzona Three,” is a 100 foot tug at a depth of 85 feet.
Finally, not far away is the “Belcher Barge #27,” a 195 foot steel barge that was sunk in 1985. The barge flipped on its way to the bottom, but experienced divers can penetrate it and swim the ship’s entire length.
PLEASE CONTACT US WITH YOUR THOUGHTS
Please comment to let us know about your experiences diving these awesome Florida dive sites!
In addition to cruising in south Florida, Bahama yacht charters are great options for closer-to-home getaways. Contact our local charter guides for more details in Miami, the Florida Keys and nearby Bimini, Bahamas.
Are you a Trinity, Benetti, or Feadship enthusiast? How about Abeking & Rasmussen? FLIBS 2009 cites a record number of luxury yacht charter superyachts attending. FLIBS stands for Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show.
Andrew Doole of Show Management reports that this year’s FLIBS Golden Anniversary attracts an amazing 149 superyachts over 30m to be displayed. Thousands of people attend the show, and the internet buzzes with uploaded photos of one gorgeous yacht after another.
WHAT IS A SUPERYACHT?
The standard definition of a superyacht is a luxury yacht over 24 meters long. The FLIBS show attendance increases from 149 to 209 yachts to celebrate the anniversary.
WHICH SPECIFIC YACHTS WILL ATTEND THE SHOW?
Among many others, the list is headed by Feadship’s mighty 65m TRIDENT. Another is the 62m FORTUNATO. Finally, Trinity’s 54m KATHERINE and Heesen’s 50m MAN OF STEEL are also in attendance.
There is a Prime Time preview on Thursday, October 29th from 10 am EST to 7 pm EST, and the show is open to the general public at the same times from Friday, October 30th to Sunday, November 1st. The show closes at 5 pm EST on Monday, November 2nd, with all superyachts bidding farewell with the blowing of their horns. It reverberates in the air!
You are the chef onboard a St. Barts yacht charter vessel, and your guests have asked you to create a lavish meal at sea with hard-to-find ingredients. Where do you turn?
The answer is a specialty food supplier such as The Grateful Palate.
Since 2009, the South Florida-based caterer has offered provisions to discerning customers in the nautical industry. From their 10,000 square foot distribution center in the Fort Lauderdale area, the provisioning company has always sourced and shipped food items, toiletries, and other premium goods to chefs and crew on mostly Caribbean and Bahamas yacht charter vessels. They have also serviced private yachts as well.
The company has always specialized in working with clients seeking custom orders of the highest-quality products. Expectations have always been high, as charter chefs need items delivered fresh and on time to specific destinations.
But, sadly, The Grateful Palate is no more…..until the Fall of 2014, when they reopen in a larger facility so that they can continue servicing their discriminating clientele!
According to owner Meghan Leckey, being able to meet customers’ demands and deliver the goods resulted in a strong repeat clientele and the company’s continued growth. She said, that it was “…a growing business that [has] picked up substantially over the years.”
For Passover this year, Leckey’s company supplied a 200-foot Virgin Islands yacht charter vessel in St. Thomas with kosher meats, sodas, dry goods, and ceremonial supplies for the religious holiday. It also sent specialty kosher caviar flown in from Paris.
“The secrets of our success are, first of all, really understanding the amazing level of quality demanded by the wealthiest yacht owners in the world and, secondly, anticipating everything the crew will need for the trip,” said Leckey. “There is no other industry in the world that demands this level of attention to quality, from Beluga caviar to toilet paper (as the luxury yacht charter industry), and few other companies in the world that can meet those expectations.”
The company, as does 1-800 Yacht Charters, relies on customer referrals to spread the word. “We thrive on good remarks, and repeat business is key in this specialized industry,” Leckey said.