Diving in July on the Treasure Coast is all about getting ready for and participating in lobster mini season. This two-day ‘sport season’ allows a recreational diver a chance to collect spiny lobster for the first time since the end of March and is considered a tradition by many locals. Consider the following ideas to ensure a successful and safe experience out on the reef
Night divers always do best by splashing right at the stroke of midnight partaking in what is affectionately known as ‘Midnight Madness’. For many, this is the most anticipated dive all year. Consider scouting dive sites during the day and ensure you’ve got alternate spots picked in advance in case your honey hole is already taken by another boat. Peck Lake and the shallow reefs off the beach north of Fort Pierce Inlet are usually PACKED opening night and being considerate of others while out on the water after dark can go a long way. Consider running outside the reef and idling into the ledges versus running the beach/inside of the ledge to keep proper distance from other boats; divers in the water are hard to see, especially at cruising speed. Conditions should be ideal with an overnight high tide around 3 a.m., allowing for incoming tide after midnight.
Freshwater runoff can be a concern if the area experiences heavy rain. Watch for the tide line to find good visibility; sometimes it can be 3-to-4 miles south of the St Lucie inlet to hit clear water. Reefs further offshore, like Loran Tower area and the Six Mile Reef, are generally unaffected by runoff since they are far enough offshore.
If you launch from public ramps close to the inlets like Sandsprit Park or Stam Blum Boat Ramp, consider an obligatory stop by FWC par for the course this time of year. Everyone knows about basics like boat safety gear and proper licenses but consider rechecking lobster for eggs, correct size and bag limits before headed back to the dock. This should be done underwater but couldn’t hurt to double check. Don’t forget to bring down your dive flag before heading in.
July is a great time of year to dive and provided tropical activity remains low, conditions should be spectacular. Whether it’s offshore or off the beach, the summer dive season is here.