Pensacola is home to the world’s largest artificial reef, the former Attack Carrier, USS ORISKANY (CVA 34). In addition to the “Mighty O” there are over 100 additional dive sites in depths within the full range of recreational dive limits as well as additional technical diving sites. Pensacola can accommodate your diving needs, whether you are beginning your diving adventure or are a seasoned veteran who has been around the world. Contact us and we will assist you in planning your trip, regardless of your requirements.
Pensacola Dive Sites
The “Mighty O” was reefed 23 nautical miles southeast of the Pensacola Pass on May
17, 2006. Depths on the wreck range from will within recreational limits at 80 feet
to advanced technical diving at depths of over 200 feet.
Oriskany was commissioned into the US Navy in 1950 and during the 25 years of her
active service in both the Korean and Vietnam wars she earned seven battle stars
and numerous other awards. Diving a wreck that is over 900 feet long, with an illustrious
battle history, is truly a unique experience.
The of the top of the Oriskany’s island is latitude 30 02.543 N, longitude 087 00.374
W. If you are planning on going to the “O” on a private vessel and it is your first
trip, please contact us so we can provide you with the latest site information and
tips on tying into the wreck. There are no surface buoys to attach to and anchoring
can be difficult due to the size of the wreck. We will be happy to help you anyway
Other Pensacola Sites
There are numerous other dives sites in Pensacola that offer a wide variety of dive
experiences. For beginners there are artificial reef modules and barges in depths
of 70 feet or less. These sites offer opportunities for new divers or great warm
up locations for some of Pensacola’s deeper sites.
Divers interested in historical wrecks can dive the Brass Wreck, a schooner that
was sunk by fire in the Gulf in the 19th century, the USS MASSACHUSETTS (BB 2) archaeological
preserve, or the freighter San Pablo, which was sunk as a target during WW II. All
of these wrecks offer a diverse selection of marine life due to the length of time
they have been underwater.
Other dive sites in Pensacola include oil rig jackets like the Chevron and Tenneco
Rigs. If you want to dive on “ship wrecks” there are sites like the Navy Dive Tenders
(YDT) and the Oilfield Supply Vessel Pete Tide II. There are also numerous reef
modules and bridge rubble piles that have a great deal of life on them due to their
unique structure and relief.
Dive Site Links
One of the most definitive list of Pensacola’s dive sites is located on MBT Diver’s
web site. Their list of GPS Numbers for different locations is located here. As
it says on their site, we strongly encourage you to contact us, or MBT Divers, before
attempting the smaller sites to that we can verify to the best of our ability that
the sites still exist after the hurricanes of 2004-2006.
The official list of Escambia County Artificial Reef Sites is located at the Escambia
County Marine Resources Division’s web site. On this site there is a list of artificial
reef sites as well as .pdf charts of the local site and reef distribution areas.
Should your vacation include Fort Walton Beach or Destin and not Pensacola, here
is a link to Destin’s Public Reefs. It should be noted that it is a longer ride
to the Oriskany from the Destin Pass than from Pensacola.
If you are staying and diving just to the west of Pensacola in Orange Beach or Gulf
Shores, here is a list of Alabama Artificial Reefs.