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Dive Review of Pro Dive Shop in
The Continental USA/Fort Lauderdale, FL

May, 2009, an Instant Reader Report by Mort Rolleston, DC, United States
Sr. Reviewer   (11 reports)
Report Number 5114
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Key Largo, Pensacola, North Carolina wrecks, Thailand, Great Barrier Reef,
Bonaire, Puerto Rico, Providenciales, Nassau, Catalina Island CA, Monterey,
St Lawrence River wrecks
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

windy, cloudy  
choppy, surge  
Water Temp
73   to 78    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
30   to 50    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
On wrecks, I don't think there were limitations except for the "Wreck
Trek" - in which you had to form into groups of four, with one
carrying a dive flag.  In shallow reef dives, they imposed an hour limit,
but you could explore whereever you wanted.   
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
Large Pelagics
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
3 stars  
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
3 stars  
Shore Facilities  
2 stars  
I seem to recall separate tubs of water for cameras.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Service and Attitude
Environmental Sensitivity  
4 stars
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars    
4 stars   
3 stars    
My wife and I were looking for a relatively inexpensive place for a long
weekend of diving and decided to take advantage of free lodging at a friend
of ours in Fort Lauderdale.  We had read that diving off of Floridas south
Atlantic coast was pretty decent.  We went with Pro Dive Shop, which is
located only a few blocks south of the main drag of beach hotels at Fort
Lauderdale Beach and 10 minutes from where we were staying.   As we had not
dove within the past year, they required us to do an orientation dive
with a divemaster, which we did the first afternoon we were there.  It
turned out that it was by far the best of the shallow reef dives we dove
(Barracuda Reef).  Indeed if you go shallow reef diving, go south of the
Lauderdale Cut if you can, not north of it in front of Fort Lauderdale
Beach.  It had impressive numbers of the usual suspects of small Caribbean
reef fish, though nothing large, plus some rockfish, lobster, and
lizardfish.  The coral was OK, but not great.  They contained overhangs
similar to Key Largo.  

For the rest of the two days we were there, we did the normal routine of
first diving on one of the many small wrecks (generally 60-70 feet deep) a
mile off Fort Lauderdale Beach followed by a dive on one of the nearby
shallow reefs (30 feet deep).  We dove the Tracy wreck, a small, somewhat
interesting wreck with good easy swimthroughs loaded with grunts and a
resident goliath grouper than one group flushed out.  The second day we did
their Wreck Trek, which consisted of being dropped at the end of a line
of five small wrecks (including Tracy, Jay Scutti, Moon, and Mercy Jesus)
all near each other in groups of four (one lugging a line to a flag on
surface) and visiting as many of the wrecks as you want.  The boat then
would go and pick up the groups as they surfaced.  Unfortunately, there was
not really much time to explore any wrecks (granted they were pretty small)
as you had to keep pressing if you wanted to see most of wrecks in one
dive. While we were fortunate to have been paired with two excellent
divers, I never like being dependent on the least common denominator and
feeling rushed to get through the dive to cover so much at once.  It didnt
help that the wrecks mostly lacked many fish.

The second dives each day on shallow reefs were at Lauderdale Caves and
Oakland Ridge, which were basically the same.  There are three widely
spaced fairly straight lines of reefs off the coast, so most reef diving is
heading against the current one way and coming back with current after you
hit half of your air (generally pretty easy navigation).  Fish life was
decent, but not as good as Barracuda Reef on first day.  Visibility was
decent on the wrecks further out in deeper water (maybe 50-60 feet?),  But
it was probably more like 30-40 feet on the shallow reefs, possibly because
we were there during an extended period of thunderstorms whose waves,
current, and surge probably kicked up the sand some.  They imposed one hour
limits on bottom time, but allowed you to explore on your own.

Pro Dive Shop had excellent staff and service and operated a nice, fairly
large boat.  It had little in the way of equipment sales in its very small
shop (so dont count on getting a lot of equipment if you need it).  There
is a nice casual restaurant on the water right next to the shop  which was

An interesting bonus is that the ride out to the ocean goes past a bunch of
almost obscenely plush mansions and yachts in Fort Lauderdale.

In sum, while Im not sure I would go to Fort Lauderdale just to dive, if
you are local or are in the neighborhood anyway, it is definitely worth
bringing your dive gear as any diving in pretty clear water with some reef
fish is a good day.  But it is clearly a step below Key Largo to the south
and Palm Beach to the north.
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