Key West Vandenberg Dive Trips

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Key West Artificial Reef Diving

The USNS General Hoyt S. Vandenberg has become famous as “the best artificial reef dive site for recreational divers worldwide!” The 500-foot Vandenberg served as a troop transport ship and missile-tracking ship. It was the dream of local dive boat captain, Joe Weatherby, to transform the Vandenberg into an attraction for recreational divers and a home to sea life, and his dream has been realized. Since the ship was stripped clean and sunk in 2009, the Vandenberg has become a habitat to hundreds of species of fish, coral and other marine life.

The Vandenberg is located approximately 6 miles SSE of Key West in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS). She sits in 140 feet of water, though the superstructure of the wreck reaches to within about 40 feet of the surface. The artificial reef presents a variety of challenges to divers of all experience levels, so a professional guide is required for all dives. Please read the important terms and conditions of diving on the Vandenberg (below) before booking this dive trip.

About Your Vandenberg Dive Boat

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Built in 2000, the M/V Phoenix is a 46′ Newton Custom Dive Boat with state-of-the-art electronics. The Phoenix features two dive ladders and a large swim platform at the back of the boat for easy giant stride entries. She also comes equipped with camera table, camera buckets, two fresh water showers, fresh water hose, head, ample storage space for gear and dry bags. Though she is licensed for 40 divers, she never carries more than 27 to ensure your comfort and space.

What’s Included In Your Vandenberg Dive Trip?

  • Professional Guide (Required for All Vandenburg Dives)
  • Full Gear
  • Wet Suit

Check-In Time

    • 8:00 am

Your boat arrives back at the dock at approximately 12:00 noon.

Vandenberg Dive Trip Cancellation Policy

You must call 888-667-4386 at least 72 hours before your reservation time to cancel, or your credit card will be charged the full price of your trip.

Important Medical Information

You are responsible to make sure you are medically qualified to participate in this activity. No refunds will be given to those deemed medically unqualified. This is for your safety. A medical history form must be completed by all divers prior to participating in this activity.

Vandenberg Dive Trip Terms and Conditions

The dive tour operator has initiated protocol that will determine the level of experience of each diver. This will help them monitor safety while placing each diver in a group with similar experience and not penalizing divers who may be more qualified.

An accurate and working log book gives the tour operator a much better idea about a diver’s level of experience and the date of their last dive. A current diver is one who has dived within the past year. For your safety, the dive tour operator reserves the right to evaluate each diver and place them in the proper group. Certification cards and log books are required to show your experience level.

Safety is everyone’s primary concern. Because of the scale and complexity of this wreck the tour operator will be taking all the necessary precautions. Not all divers will be allowed to penetrate the wreck. The Vandenberg has pre-designed and pre-constructed swim-throughs. The protocol for these areas will be specified in the tour operator’s site briefing. Many times conditions will determine the difficulty of the dive therefore the crew also reserves the right to reevaluate each diver’s skill level as well as the guided diver ratios while at the dive site.

Book Vandenberg Dive Trips on ToursKeyWest.comA Guided Diver: A current open water diver within the recreational limits. This level will be under direct supervision of a professional guide. This will allow the group to explore the navigation-bridge deck, radar deck, the 2 satellite dishes, and most of the superstructure. Because of the extra crew, there will be an additional guide fee of $30 per diver. Programs are set up for divers at this level who demonstrate proficiency to qualify as a Vandenberg approved diver.

A Qualified Diver: Advanced diver or above with documented experience, with the proper functioning equipment, and within the recreational limits. The dive profile for this level can range from 40-120 feet, and because of the diversity of depth and time allowed, each diver will be required to have a dive computer. Exploring the wreck will be at your discretion, yet keep in mind there is too much to see in one dive!

A Technical Diver: The deep, technical, mixed gas, or rebreather diver. Divers at this level will be accommodated on a private charter basis. The size of your group will determine the crew, the boat, the equipment required, and the cost. A broad range of dive profiles including wreck penetration exist within this group, most outside the range of recreational diving. For this reason it will be difficult to set a standard for this level. The dive tour operator has the staff to accompany, supervise, or teach at this level. Please contact ToursKeyWest to discuss your needs.

Departure Location

610 Front St., Key West
View Larger Map features one-stop booking for the best dive and snorkel trips in Key West. Looking for more things to do in Key West? Check out our home page for Key West tour discounts and attractions.

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