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Dive Review of Dive Key West/Sigsbee Naval Station in
The Continental USA/Key West, Florida

Dive Key West/Sigsbee Naval Station: "Great Service - Tried Hard to Accommodate Mixed Groups", Mar, 2016,

by Carol D Cox, FL, US (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 20 reports with 13 Helpful votes). Report 8865 has 1 Helpful vote.

No photos available at this time

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations N/A Food N/A
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 3 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 3 stars
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments We visited Dive Key West because of their close proximity to the Naval base where we were staying, and ability to provide Nitrox (albeit at a high cost). They had a reasonable dive package that included four 2-tank dives that fit into our schedule nicely. The price was good but it came with a catch - no refunds, but the dives never expire. We checked the weather and decided to chance it.

We brought all our own gear, but the gear at the shop looked plentiful and well maintained. The staff was very friendly and helpful. They had a menu board with the upcoming dives and we decided to do two trips on our first dive day.

Our first dive was on the Cayman wreck. We were disappointed to find they limited the dive to a 20-minute air profile. This is a common practice on Key West. My husband and I made our decent down the granny line and waited on the mooring line at 15' while the divemaster was busy getting weight sorted out for several divers that probably shouldn't have been on this wreck. One of the divers above us appeared to keep inflating his BC instead of deflating it and was trying to pull himself down hand over hand.

Once the divemaster got it all sorted out, he signaled that is was OK for us to descend. My husband and I quickly made it to the wreck, then took our time circling the wreck, which we easily did in 20 minutes. In the meantime, the divemaster and his followers swiftly made it around the wreck and back to the anchor line long before 20 minutes passed. The visibility was not great for doing photography, and at 20 minutes we were OK with making our ascent and completing our safety stop.

On board, we found the divemaster changing out gear for the other divers, and seemed surprised but grateful that we wanted to take care of our own gear.

There was only a 5-gallon bucket for camera gear, which wouldn't hold our rigs, but there was a freshwater shower that was adequate.

After the first dive the boat moved to a shallow reef. The captain let my husband and me get into the water first to make the most of our time on the reef. We had almost an hour in better visibility to explore the finger reefs.

At the end of the trips, the crew ferried our gear back to the shop where we were able to wash it and put it on special "VIP" hangars used to ID personal gear. They stored our gear for us overnight, which was greatly appreciated so we didn't have to schlep it back and forth.

The next afternoon, the captain did his best to cater to my husband and myself, while accommodating several snorkelers and an Open Water class. He also found a large rinse bin for our camera gear. (Note: If you want to avoid snorkelers and classes, avoid trips that go to the shallow reefs.)

The shop went above and beyond on our last day. We ended up being the only two divers on the large boat, but the captain and divemaster still took us to an outer reef where we were able to dive a full hour at each of the sites. We chose to do two different parts of the same reef, which the captain appreciated because of the fuel savings. We were just happy they didn't cancel due to the lack of divers.

The boat was well maintained and roomy, but we never did have a full load of divers and/or snorkelers. The crew provided plenty of ice cold water and a variety of fresh fruit. Before each dive trip, you meet at the shop to sign forms and prepare gear for loading on the truck. We also saw them shuttling some of the guests from the shop to the dive boat. The divemasters were attentive to the guests that needed help, and willing to let us dive on our own after they saw our capabilities. The boat visits a few wrecks, including the Vandenburg, and reefs that are in 15 to 50 feet of water.

A fringe benefit of using Dive Key West is the free pass you get for the Yacht Club at their marina. You have a small beach, swimming pool, restaurant, bar, showers, gym, and sauna all at your disposal. Also, the boat is berthed near a very popular restaurant on Stock Island called Hogfish.

Key West sea life is OK and the visibility comes and go depending on sea conditions. We saw one nurse shark and the open water class was visited by a small reef shark. The reefs are populated by the usual tropicals; the corals on the outer reefs are healthier than the shallow reefs. I was happy to add a few decent photos to my library. You are also welcome to hunt lobsters when in season and we saw a few legals (I don't know if you need your own license). We stayed in Key West because of the inexpensive accommodations on base for retired military.
Websites Dive Key West   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Caribbean, Bahamas, Florida, Turkey, Palau, Truk, Mexico, Red Sea, Cypress
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, cloudy, dry Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 71-73°F / 22-23°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 15-40 Ft/ 5-12 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Air tables - 20 minute bottom time on wrecks and up to 60 minutes on inner and outer reefs.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics N/A

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Boat added a large rinse bin for our cameras on our second dive day. Divemasters properly handled our camera gear when entering and exiting water.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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