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BLUE HERON BRIDGE DIVING

Great Snorkeling & Diving On Palm Beach County’s Intracoastal Waterway

Location: East side of the Intracoastal Waterway at the Blue Heron Bridge (Singer Island/Riviera Beach.)  North of Peanut Island at Phil Foster Park (900 E. Blue Heron Blvd.)

See Photos Of Diving Area

Photos from Blue Heron Bridge

This area is special for the fabulous sea life that lives around the Blue Heron Bridge pilings.  You can see schools of large fish, colorful tropical fish, urchins, huge starfish and barracudas. It is also renowned for it’s many tiny critters like nudibranchs, frogfish, and seahorses.

The Blue Heron Bridge is a favorite of scuba instructors.  It’s an easy first shore dive.  The water depth ranges from about 4-18 feet.   Sea creatures are abundant amongst the bridge supports and a small reef near the Intracoastal Waterway channel.

Water clarity varies greatly here.  It’s best to visit on an incoming tide.  This is when clear ocean water comes in the nearby Lake Worth Inlet (aka “Palm Beach Inlet.) The entire area is flooded with clear blue water. It looks like the Caribbean!  Plan to dive from about an hour before high tide until about an hour following.  This is when the current is manageable.  An outgoing tide forces brown brackish water out of local canals.  Visibility is poor during an outgoing tide.

There is snorkeling at Phil Foster Park, too! With the recent addition of a snorkel trail at the Blue Heron Bridge, even those who are not scuba certified can enjoy this amazing marine park. Opened in August 2012, the Phil Foster Park Artificial Reef and Snorkel Trail  is an 800-foot-long tract of artificial reef incorporating more than 600 tons of Anastasia rock boulders in a depth ranging from six to ten feet. In the short span of time since it was created, the Phil Foster Park Artificial Reef and Snorkel Trail has attracted countless marine life. All kinds of juvenile tropical fish can be seen flirting in and out of this artificial reef.

The entrance to the park is on the East side of the Blue Heron Boulevard Bridge.
Park in the southwest corner of the Phil Foster Park lot. Do not park in the boat trailer area.  You will be ticketed.  Police will close the gates when parking is full.  When closures happen, they’re usually on sunny weekends during the late morning.

The dive site is separated into two distinctive parts: the smaller bridge on the southeastern side, and the larger bridge on the southwestern side of Phil Foster Park. Both areas are separated by a long stretch of beach containing the snorkeling trail and the public’s guarded swimming area.
Enter the water under the bridge via the small beach on the west side of the park. 

Phil Foster Park can be very crowded on weekends with picnickers, swimmers, divers, and boaters (who use the park’s ramps.) For safety reasons, the lifeguards ask that no diving be done in the guarded swim area near the eastern side of the park. It is okay to enter the water there, but stay afloat until you are out of the guarded swim area, which is marked, by large orange buoys and signs on the beach.

You will be required to carry a dive flag; the authorities are usually in the area ticketing the divers who don’t.   A boat channel runs parallel with the shore about 30 meters from shore and under the center of the large bridge. The channel begins after the fourth set of bridge pilings. Make sure to stay clear of those areas! Fishing is allowed on both bridges so watch for fishing lines and be respectful of their right to fish there.

Many divers like to dive right out front of the beach under the moored sailboats. Out in these areas you’ll find sunken rowboats and shopping carts, which make great hiding spots for fish and lobsters. Under the big bridge the pillars are teaming with life. Some of the most amazing creatures hang out under the bridge.

By boat, anchor south of the bridge’s southeast landing.  You will see a guarded swimming beach (buoys mark the swimming area.)  Drop anchor west of the swimming area.  Diving is east of the bridge’s boat fenders.

The Phil Foster Park is open from sunrise to sunset. Night diving is allowed until 10 pm with a special permit from the county. Force-E and Pura Vita Divers have permits to dive there and offer FREE Blue Heron Bridge night dives every 2 weeks. Pre-coordination is neccessary.   At night all divers must have their own dive light and their dive flag must be lit with a glow stick or dive beacon.

The park has open-air freshwater showers, restrooms and pay phones.

Enjoy!  This is a very fun place!  More quality snorkeling can be found across the water at Peanut Island.


 

© Lockheed Martin Dive Club 2014