Skip to Content

SCUBA Diving in Panama City Beach, FL

My dad and I both love to SCUBA dive (it must be genetic.). Thanks to Panama City Dive Center and Jarrod from Manticore Diving, we were able to get our NAUI Advanced Scuba Diver certification together which was really special. SCUBA diving Panama City Beach is a lot of fun and suitable for divers will all levels of experience. 

getting ready for a shore dive at st andrews park

We started out at St. Andrew’s Park in an area between the shore and the jetties known as “The Kiddie Pool.” Since it had been a year since my last dive trip, the nickname definitely put me at ease. Doing a few shore dives was a great way to refresh my skills and learn a few new ones.

In The Kiddie Pool, we worked on:

  • Navigation
  • Search and Recovery
  • Night Diving

I was very nervous about doing a night dive, but Jarrod’s competence, my Dad’s tendency to helicopter-parent a tad, and the shallow water put me at ease. Dad’s crazy-cool dive light didn’t hurt either!

Tovatec MERA1080 1000 Lumen Divelight with Integrated 1080P HD Underwater CameraTovatec MERA1080 1000 Lumen Divelight with Integrated 1080P HD Underwater CameraTovatec MERA1080 1000 Lumen Divelight with Integrated 1080P HD Underwater Camera


All of the underwater video below was captured with his dive light. It’s really nice to have because it’s one less thing to keep up with on a dive if your light and camera is an all-in-one.

Learning to use it as more of a camera than a flashlight that you whip around takes a little practice though. Don’t be too hard on Dad though. I don’t like handling anything but my essential equipment on a dive so big thanks to him for carrying the light/camera so I didn’t have to. <3

Panama City Beach Wreck Diving

Our initial plan was to dive the El Dorada cruise liner that was sunk in May of this year, but the waters were too choppy to make it all the way out to the wreck. Instead, we wound up diving Bridge Span 12 and B&B Barge.

I was a little disappointed not to get to see the El Dorado, but I appreciate a dive center that puts safety first! You can count on Panama City Dive Center to be prudent about surf conditions and other potential hazards. The El Dorado gives me something to look forward to on my next trip to Panama City Beach.

Thanks to Jarrod and Panama City Dive Center, Dad and I are both Advanced Open Water Divers! What does that mean? Well, it means we’re allowed to dive a little deeper (up to 100 feet instead of 60) and that we’re ready to learn even more about diving.

One thing Jarrod stressed to us is that there’s always something more to learn about SCUBA diving so always be teachable!

On our last dive, I was using a neoprene hood I bought at Panama City Dive Center to help with the whole long hair/bangs vs. my mask situation. You can see it pictured above, and while it work great on my first boat dive of the day, it decided to come off during my second dive and bring my mask with it!

I recovered both but couldn’t replace my mask properly. Had I been less experienced I would have felt panicked at finishing the rest of the dive nearly blind. Instead, I followed the blobs that were my dad and Jarrod up from our safety stop and right up to the surface.

Another learning experience happened for me on these two boat dives and that was how to stay calm and take my time getting back on the boat when the surface water is choppy. Under the deep blue sea, it’s as calm and peaceful as can be. However, we took a little beating at the choppy surface and that was a new experience for me. Thankfully the crew of Panama City Dive Center was right there to help me through.  

panama city beach wreck dive

Not sure if SCUBA diving is for you? Want to give it a try before you commit to the time and expense of certification? Contact Manticore Diving at Panama City Dive Center and discover diving in “The Kiddie Pool” to see if open water certification is something you’re interested in doing.

I hope you wind up loving SCUBA diving as much as I do, especially all the ladies out there. Right now it’s estimated that 71% of divers are male. Let’s make the percentage closer to 50/50!  

Lodging, meals, and dives were provided by Panama City Beach. All opinions are my own.