Smith Shoal

Smith Shoal is probably one of the more obscure dive sites in the Florida Keys. It's easy to find, however, being marked by a forty-nine-foot-tall light tower. The water depth is relatively shallow, ranging from 18 to 30 feet. You may anchor in the area since there are no mooring buoys, but you'll need to look carefully before you do so that you don't harm any coral formations. The site is not a Sanctuary Preservation Area (SPA), so you can remove fish or lobster if you have a fishing license or lobster stamp. You'll find Smith Shoal at 24'43.101N 081'55.050W, eleven miles from Key West.

The picturesque light tower was constructed out of steel in 1933 and is unmanned, running off of automation. The tower is located in 20 feet of water and is identical to those located in the Marquesas Keys, Dry Tortugas, and the Tennessee Reef. Visibility around Smith Shoal is not always the best, which is one reason that it is not as popular a dive site as many others. There also are fewer coral than there were in past years, which may be the result of red tide which came through the site some years ago. Still, if you are a novice diver, this can be a great place to get started since the depth is relatively


Another advantage of Smith Shoal is its proximity to Alexander's Wreck, one of the better-preserved shipwrecks in the area. The shipwreck has been converted into an artificial reef which is home to many different creatures and which has played a principle part in the restoration of the Jewfish, an endangered species of large grouper. It's a great idea to plan to dive both sites in one day since they are located so close together.

Need A Hotel?