The Aqua-Zoo/Sea Emperor

Type of Dive

Standard Wreck Dive.

Skill Level

Beginner: Open Water Diver 15 years and older or jr Advanced Open Water Diver 12 to 14 years old.

Dive Site Depths

55 feet on top of the Wreck & 70 feet to the sand.

Dive Site Location

Deerfield Beach. 1.00 Nm @ 150 Degrees from Boca Inlet & 4.10 Nm @ 022 Degrees from Hillsboro Inlet. 0.82 Nm off-shore of Stratford Arms Condo.

Ship Description

The Sea Emperor is an upside down hopper barge 171 feet long, 45 feet wide and approximately 20 feet tall.

Aqua-Zoo/Sea Emperor Reef Smart Guide

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Dive Site Information

The sea Emperor is resting on a sandy bottom upside down. The bottom of the haul is cut out from bow to stern which allows light and access to penetrate the four chambers. There are large concrete drainage culverts that are still located on the inside of the ship and about 60 or so drainage culverts that are located on the east side of the barge. Some of the drainage culverts can be used as swim through however they are tight. The drainage culvert area is the area referred to as the Aqua-Zoo.

There is a rock pile located to the southeast of the wreck about 100 yards off the southeast corner. This rock pile will take you to the southeast towards the United Caribbean wreck. You will need to be good on air in order to make it over to the United Caribbean.

The Dive Plan:

2 Dives 2 Locations

We start off the day with our first dive on the Wreck site. Then it's off to our second dive which is typically a drift dive somewhere on the third reef system. The drift dive location is selected based on conditions and visibility.

Dive Times

Divers will have one hour at each location, air and bottom time permitting.

Departure Location

The departure dock location for this dive trip is located in Pompano Beach.

Ready to go in this dive trip?

Aqua-Zoo/Sea Emperor video.

Ships History

The sea Emperor was formally used as a hopper barge for re-mediation of sand in the Palm Beach County area during the 1980s. The dredging company that was operating the barge ended up destroying some reef habitat off of Palm Beach County.

There were consequently found guilty of destroying the habitat and find for their actions. Due to the fines levied on the company the barge was donated and decommissioned to be used as part of the Palm Beach County artificial reef system. The barge was filled with concrete drainage culverts and intentionally sank in 1986.

The site was used for a while by local charter operators as a feeding location for nurse sharks and stingrays however due to the fact that this is the legal the feeding stopped by most operators in the late 90s. It is a very popular dive site due to the abundance of marine life and its relative shallow depth.

Resident Marine Life

There are usually large schools of fish around the barge and the drainage culverts as well as the rock pile to the southeast. It is not uncommon to see nurse sharks, giant stingrays and Goliath groupers on this wreck. Large schools of grunt and yellow tales also hang around the rock pile area. Giant green moray eels can be found in and around the drainage culvert area.

Ready to go in this dive trip?

Extend your bottom time with Enriched Air (Nitrox)

The PADI Enriched Air (Nitrox) diver course will certify you to use Enriched Air (Nitrox) to stay down longer during your shallow water dives.

 Also by breathing a higher concentration of oxygen during your dive, you will come back feeling refreshed and ready for more diving.

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