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Blue Heron Bridge aka Phil Foster Park, BHB - Riviera Beach FL


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Day in and day out, this Riviera Beach location may well be the best shore dive in Florida. It has two distinct sites, tons of small critters for the macro person, enough big fish to keep you looking around, and best of all, it’s free, dawn until sunset.

You never know what may show up, Manatees, schools of whatever and even a Manta ; facebook.com/ForceEScuba/videos/960319150645629/?fref=nf

Dive on high slack tide. You can enter about 30 minutes before high tide and get in an hour dive before currents become a problem. The park closes at dusk so the high tide must be during the day however Force-E, the LDS on Blue Heron Blvd and Pura Vida which is a few blocks east (look on map below) of the park sometimes get permits for a dusk dive, check with them for dates and how to get on the permit. With Pura Vida you get an after hours parking permit to leave on the dash. On night dives it’s some different fish and starfish, more shrimp and squid.

Like all areas in the lagoon system, to get clean water and low current, it should be dived near high slack tide. This means to schedule it, you have to avail yourself to NOAA tide tables. Be at the water’s edge ready to enter 30 minutes before high tide.

Tides; sinkfloridasink.com/blue-heron-bridge-tides-chart-riviera-beach-florida/

Park in Phil Foster Park as near to the bridge as possible. Under the bridge you will see the swim area, divers must stay outside the swim buoys. Suit up and walk down to the water, there is boat traffic here so a diver down flag is a must.

Option 1, swim straight south into the mooring field, there are things living on those moorings but watch your flag doesn’t get tangled on the mooring rode. Starting 7/9/2012 they will be creating an artificial reef here. Pro; less current change here. Con; less to see.

Option 2, swim right under the west span but do not go into the boat channel, there is even a history of boat traffic short cutting between the boat channel and the next bridge piling. Pro; short swim. Con; boat traffic and more current change.

Option 3, either long walk east to the end of the beach or long swim out and around the swimming area toward east span. Here you get more choices, under the east span is macro heaven, shrimp, arrow crabs, seahorses, frogfish, jawfish but it’s dark so you will need a light.

2nd choice at east end of beach, turn right, there is an old fiberglass boat with outboard sitting in 15’ with good marine growth, grunts to arrow crabs.



3rd choice at east end of beach, turn right and head south past the old boat, past the can/spar bouy marking the swimming area, at 19’ is what looks like an old wooden ship hull upside down but isn’t. Great marine growth, lots of fish inside and out, cleaning stations, macro stuff.



Option 4, New reef and snorkel trail puravidadivers.com/blue-heron-bridge-dive-park

More info on snorkel trair with video; floridarambler.com/florida-best-beaches/snorkelin.../?platform=hootsuite

At the end of the dive there are two showers and two bathrooms in the park One west near the channel and another toward the boat ramp.

Yes, the bridge has a FB page! facebook.com/?ref=hp#!/pages/Blue-Heron-Bridge-D...ve-Club/291908803047

Sport Diver magazine sportdiver.com/photos/blue-heron-bridge-secret-mecca-muck

Park info; pbcgov.com/parks/locations/philfoster.htm#.U7yFr5RdWGM

Snorkeling info puravidadivers.com/snorkeling-at-phil-foster-park

More snorkeling info with map: palmbeachillustrated.com/PhilFosterSnorkelTrail

From SportDiver magazines Planet’s 50 greatest dives, #1 on the list: Blue Heron Bridge

West Palm, Florida, USA
If you’re a fan of the Cantina — the fictional bar from Star Wars — and its freakish alien patrons, you’ll love the weird marine life lurking in the shallows of West Palm Beach’s Blue Heron Bridge. Flying gurnards, bandtail sea robins and striated frogfish commonly populate this South Florida site, a critter hunter’s paradise in only 12 feet of water. Time the dive for high tide, and when you’re finished, head to the Riviera Beach Marina and order the catch of the day. — Patricia Wuest

sportdiver.com/photos/planets-50-greatest-dives?c...ortId=MjEwMzc3MDk1S0

A good video tour on YouTube; youtube.com/watch?v=hLIjYX0Mk2s&feature=youtu.be...6LiWUdDSNEhXQUwpcx1U

More info and video; aquaviews.net/scuba-dive-destinations/check-action-fl...0730670014-409007109

(Dive shop at west end of bridge) ForceE’s BHB page has info, video and map; force-e.com/blue-heron-bridge-diving/

(Dive shop at east end of bridge) Pura Vida’s BHB page; puravidadivers.com/dive-blue-heron-bridge-phil-foster-park

Dive shop in the park at North End. Blue Heron Bridge Scuba & Watersports 561-839-5130 available for air and NITROX fills and gear rentals. While your tanks are being filled there is a hot shower outside next to the compressor door and a garbage can full of water to rinse your gear (Rinse tank is gone as of 3/2017 Ray/LA). This shop is why I list the site as having rental gear and fills, RayC/LA



AlertDiver story and photos; alertdiver.com/Blue-Heron-Bridge

4/20/2015


Being added to the underwater park June 2015


Now on the west side of the snorkel trail.


Map showing location of sharks


Snorkel trail, those yellow squares are square steel pilings installed in 3/2017


Reef modules added to snorkel trail

Comments

EAustin494 - 4/04/2018 9:50 AM
I went scuba diving here on 6/26/2017. Average viz: 61-70ft/19-21m.
EAustin494 - 4/01/2018 6:23 PM
Rating Added: 5
This was on my bucket list and thankfully I went just before the Hurricane. Viz was 50’ with 80 degree water. The current is no joke! you want to go at exactly slack tide or if you go a little early you can do the snorkel trail which is shallow and does not burn much air and then work to deeper water as the current slacks. There is so much to see you don’t want to leave. Get there very early or there will be no where to park, like get there at least an hour early. I highly recommend this dive.
DP - 8/30/2017 8:05 PM
Went diving at BHB on 8/22/17. The visibility was about 30’, lots of colorful fish, couple of stingrays, sea horses, starfish. My son found a stingray barb on the bottom. Started at high tide and dove for an hour. The current was strong in some places. Plenty of parking available during the weekdays. Rented a dive flag for $5 at the local dive shop.
Buddy6968 - 7/09/2017 11:17 PM
Rating Added: 5
This is one of the best Florida dive sites I’ve been to. Easy entry and a great site for beginners to advanced divers... Great spot photography...
JimKoz - 6/27/2017 11:29 PM
Rating Added: 4
Great spot. We saw a lot of sea life (even a batfish!). Very shallow but hey, longer dive. The trick is to get in just before high tide when the water is at it’s height and clarity.
cbm369 - 5/22/2017 2:10 PM
I went scuba diving here on 4/19/2017. Average viz: 36-40ft/11-12m.
cbm369 - 5/22/2017 2:09 PM
I went scuba diving here on 7/3/2016. Average viz: 31-35ft/9-11m.
bsharp117 - 5/08/2017 6:47 PM
Rating Added: 3
Decent Dive
LatitudeAdjustment - 3/26/2017 12:10 PM
I went scuba diving here on 3/25/2017. Average viz: 31-35ft/9-11m. Water temp: 71-75°F/22-24°C.
3mil, DSS BP&W Dusk dive with Pura Vida. Walked down beach to east channel, went to fallen wall, then down into channel and up east side, got lost in the pilings. Then left to bridge and exit at lifegaurd stand. Lots of good finds out in the muck. Octopus in pipe, crabs in the open, bigger crabs hiding under stuff waiting for it to get darker, a small spotted moray in a pipe, a fair sized lobster, Searobin, an orange shrimp I couldn’t ID, lots of Arrow crabs, Trunkfish and the smallest juvi Drum? I’ve ever seen. Above the muck there were the usual French and Gray Angels, Barracuda, Grunts, Parrots that hadn’t gone to bed yet, Sergeant Majors, Sheepshead and Triggers. Great Dive!
ScubaSteve321 - 3/26/2017 7:28 PM
Sounds like a productive dive!
ScubaSteve321 - 3/13/2017 8:19 PM
Would love to dive BHB sometime this weekend, either March 18, 19 or 20th. Will be my first time at BHB so if you’ve got experience, that’s a plus! Let me know if you’re interested.
LatitudeAdjustment - 3/14/2017 8:27 AM
Steve, the tides are right but unforetunetly we are heading up to Homosassa this weekend for my gran-daughters birthday
ScubaSteve321 - 3/14/2017 10:35 AM
We’ll have to try to connect next time Ray!
LatitudeAdjustment - 3/12/2017 12:41 PM
I went scuba diving here on 3/11/2017. Average viz: 21-25ft/6-8m. Water temp: 71-75°F/22-24°C.
3mil, DSS BP&W Night dive with Pura Vida. Never seen the parking lot this busy before, one of the reasons I usually don’t do BHB on weekends! About 40 divers in the water. We started early and the incoming tide swept me farther south than I planned. Saw a few yellow stingrays, lots of sleeping fish, small shrimp on the sand, arrow crabs, assorted stars, Peterson shrimp and a neat feather duster type worm near the exit.
LatitudeAdjustment - 3/08/2017 5:29 PM
I went scuba diving here on 3/7/2017. Average viz: 21-25ft/6-8m. Water temp: 71-75°F/22-24°C.
3mil, DSS BP&W Headed south and then east around swim area stopping little, just a few rock piles and the wall and made east channel in 15 min. Viz was a little cloudy but I’d entered a little early. Explored pilings before moving north under east span. Hull that used to be in east channel is now wedged under bridge. Too many divers under the bridge :( On the way back I saw a woman photoing an octopus, waited my turn and then found another closer in to the east beach. Surfaced to see a rainbow over the east span :)
DiverfromBaskingRidge - 3/09/2017 8:10 AM
Love BHB - great shot.
LatitudeAdjustment - 3/03/2017 7:31 AM
I went scuba diving here on 3/1/2017. Average viz: 21-25ft/6-8m. Water temp: 71-75°F/22-24°C.
3mil, DSS BP&W Headed south to Publix and then east, viz a little cloudy, near the east channel the thing that looked like a wall has fallen on its face. A few barracuda, no big schools but the usual BHB suspects. Under the east span I saw some colorful subjects but the main light died :( On the way back in I found a squid :)
LatitudeAdjustment - 2/16/2017 9:10 AM
I went scuba diving here on 2/15/2017. Average viz: 26-30ft/8-9m. Water temp: 71-75°F/22-24°C.
3mil, DSS BP&W Headed south and the east, a little cloudy, sea hare on the way out but had seaweed on him so no photo. a few barracuda, plenty of jacks, grunts, angels, damsels defending their eggs, a large crab under the reef and a lot of arrow crabs
LatitudeAdjustment - 2/16/2017 9:05 AM
I went scuba diving here on 2/3/2017. Average viz: 26-30ft/8-9m. Water temp: 71-75°F/22-24°C.
3mil, DSS BP&W Out to Publix reef and then east. New rock has been added to some of the low reefs. Plenty of sheepshead, grunts, angels, damsels defending their eggs, arrowhead crabs, a few cleaner shrimp, one eel, a big Sea Hare nudi and a yellow spotted stingray
LatitudeAdjustment - 1/11/2017 7:51 AM
I went scuba diving here on 1/6/2017. Average viz: 16-20ft/5-6m. Water temp: 71-75°F/22-24°C.
3mil, DSS BP&W Busy today with an overflow of student divers parking in the trailer parking. Good viz until a student came by :( The usual cast of critters from a big southern stingray down to tiny shrimp, lots of grunts, sheepshead, cuda, juvi angels Queen and French, arrow crabs, hermit crab and damsels guarding their eggs. Went from Publix reef to east channel and back.
MermaidAshley15 - 9/03/2016 9:14 PM
I went scuba diving here on 8/8/2016. Average viz: 41-50ft/12-15m. Water temp: 71-75°F/22-24°C.
MermaidAshley15 - 9/03/2016 9:11 PM
I went scuba diving here on 8/8/2016. Average viz: 41-50ft/12-15m. Water temp: 76-80°F/24-27°C.
Always a great spot to dive. So much to see!
Bhutas - 7/11/2016 2:38 PM
I went scuba diving here on 7/8/2016. Average viz: 21-25ft/6-8m. Water temp: 81-85°F/27-29°C.
Did the trail from west beach to east bridge. Will dive west bridge next time.
JJL - 4/12/2016 11:58 PM
Rating Added: 4
Have done 2 dives in last few weeks. Bit of a drive from Orlando but worth it.

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