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a diver's paradise

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Fort Lauderdale, FL

A Diver's ParadiseFort Lauderdale ranks among the state's top scuba diving destinations, largely due to three parallel natural coral reefs interspersed with artificial reefs lying just offshore. The shallowest natural reef is within 100 yards of the shore at a depth of about 20 feet, making diving here extremely attractive to snorkelers and novice divers. In fact, Greater Fort Lauderdale's 23-mile coastline is the only place in Florida where divers can approach a reef right from the beach.

Artificials Reefs in Fort Lauderdale

Artificial reefs—typically comprising submerged concrete or steel—function much like the rocky substrate of natural reefs and serve a two-fold purpose. First, they quickly attract marine organisms essential to the establishment of a food chain, which organisms are then followed by invertebrates, crustaceans, small fish and large predators. In turn, these undersea communities provide divers with alternative neighborhoods to explore, thereby reducing potentially damaging boat and human traffic around natural reefs.

Broward County launched an artificial reef development program in the 1980s. To date, there are more than 100 deployed freighters, tugs, barges, cutters, yachts, dredges, airplanes and scrapped construction materials at various depths. One of the most spectacular dive sites is Tenneco Towers, a retired oil derrick resting in segments near Hallandale Beach.

Ghostly shipwrecks add mystery and excitement to a dive, and Fort Lauderdale's reefs hold the crusty remains of nearly 20. Popular sites include the Glasgow steamer Copenhagen, which slammed onto a reef in 1900 and remained partially submerged for several years before slipping into a shallow grave; the German freighter Mercedes, beached in front of a multimillion-dollar mansion during a 1984 winter storm and later towed offshore; and the Hydro Atlantic, a 300-foot-long dredge that sank off Deerfield Beach en route to salvage in 1987. If hulls could talk, the Ancient Mariner off Pompano Beach might whisper of stalking German U-boats during its service as a U.S. Coast Guard cutter. Technically, the Mercedes and the Ancient Mariner are classified as artificial reefs because they were sunk intentionally at their present locations.

Water Activities in Fort Lauderdale

With marine life ranging from sponges and sea fans to a neon kaleidoscope of tropical fish to amberjack, grouper and other game fish, Fort Lauderdale's reefs hold wonders for divers of every skill level. A list of dive sites and operators is available from the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau; phone (954) 765-4466.

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Fort Lauderdale, FL

AAA Inspected & Approved TOP Hotels

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Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa

3030 Holiday Dr. Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316

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Renaissance Fort Lauderdale Cruise Port Hotel

1617 SE 17th St. Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316

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Best Western Plus Deerfield Beach Hotel & Suites

1050 E Newport Center Dr. Deerfield Beach, FL 33442

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Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina

1881 SE 17th St. Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316

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Travel Information

City Population

165,521

Elevation

7 ft.

Sales Tax

The sales tax in Broward County is 6 percent. A tourist development tax of 5 percent is levied on rental accommodations.

Emergency

911

Police (non-emergency)

(954) 828-5700; Sheriff (954) 764-4357

Fire (non-emergency)

(954) 828-6800

Time and Temperature

(954) 748-4444

Hospitals

Broward Health Imperial Point, (954) 776-8500; Broward Health Medical Center, (954) 355-4400; Holy Cross Hospital, (954) 771-8000.

Visitor Information

512 N.E. 3rd Ave. Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301. Phone:(954)462-6000

Air Travel

Airline tickets, information on flight reservations and flights are available at

Rental Cars

Hertz, at the airport, offers discounts to AAA members; phone (954) 764-1199 or (800) 654-3080.

Rail Service

The Amtrak station is at 200 S.W. 21st Terr. For trip information and reservations phone (800) 872-7245.

Buses

The bus terminal serving the destination is Greyhound Lines Inc., 515 N.E. 3rd St.; phone (954) 764-6551.

Taxis

Cabs are plentiful. Fares are metered and are $4.50 for the first mile and $2.40 for each additional mile (plus 40c per minute during stops). The largest company is Yellow Cab, (954) 565-5400 or (954) 777-7777.

Public Transportation

Broward County Transit, (954) 357-8400, provides transportation to all sections of Fort Lauderdale and its outlying areas. Buses also are available between the downtown area and the beach. Sun Trolley offers many routes that service the downtown and beach areas; for information phone (954) 761-3543.

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