Shallow reefs can be found within 100 yards of nearly any beach, between Sebastian and Fort Pierce Inlets. The reefs off of Vero Beach are not the coarl reefs that many see pictured on post cards and in tourism books. Instead, these reefs are made of limestone and coquina rock with organisisms of opportunity living on these hard surfaces. The organisms include various types of seaweed and soft corals. These rocks, soft corals and weeds provide habitat for a diverse range or sea life which includes lobster, grouper, snapper, tropical fish, etc.

 The water depth along these near shore reefs fluctutates from 3-6 feet in the Riomar Beach area to 10-15 feet in most other areas.

 Underwater visibility is typically best during the summer months when the ocean is calm. During the winter months, offshore sea conditions can lift sediment from the bottom and this turbidity will restrict what a diver can see underwater. It is suggested that snorklers and scuba divers call dive stores in the area to determine if visibility is favorable for diving.

 NOTE: The turbid conditions that are typical during the winter months are a blessing for the local ecosystem. Unlike areas in the Florida Keys, the reefs in Vero Beach and the surrounding area are not over fished so there is a huge abundance of marine life!

 State law and safe diving principles require that snorkelers and scuba divers display a diver down flag while wearing a face mask. These flags are red with a white diagonal stripe and are displayed on boats or floats that are towed by the diver(s). These flag/float assemblies can be purchased or rented from local dive stores. Divers who plan to harvest fish or lobster are required to have a valid fishing license and follow all laws as it relates to the number of fish/lobsters, size, and season.

 Snorkeling and free diving is a fun activity that the whole family can enjoy. There are some great wrecks that are swimming distacne from the beach. The Breckenshire Wreck is located between Sexton Plaza and Humiston Beach and during low tide can be seen from the beach. While it is slightly closer to swim from Sexton Plaza (adjacent to the Holiday Inn), most prefer using the Humiston Beach access because there are fresh water showers, public restrooms, adequate parking and a lifeguard that can provide good information.

 There are many wrecks from the 1715 Silver Plate Fleet that lie within swimming distance of the beach. Divers are prohibited from taking souveniers from these protected wreck sites but pictures and good memories are allowed and encouraged!

 A guide to local diving can be found online at: http://www.deepsixintl.com/PDF/BeachD...