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The best (and worst) weather for scuba diving and snorkeling in Key Largo

June 2, 2021

You’re coming to Key Largo with high hopes, right!? Exploring our amazing coral reefs and wrecks. Saying hello to coolest sea creatures. Enjoying the sun, the sea and the sky of the Florida Keys.

Basically, making happy memories that will last a long time.

At Lucky Fish Scuba, our private scuba, snorkeling and eco tours are designed to deliver those memories, with our amazing boat, fun crew, and all the snacks!

One key ingredient for a magical day on the water in the Florida Keys is the weather.

The best kind of weather for scuba diving and snorkeling on the reefs off Key Largo is calm and clear. A little breeze is great in the summer to keep us cool. Sunny skies light up the coral and all the creatures — and spotlight the famous underwater statue of the Christ of the Abyss.

Our catamaran-shaped boat is designed for stability and handles waves very well for a vessel its size.*

By itself, rain in the forecast is not a dealbreaker — you’re probably planning to get wet anyway! But strong wind and waves can still spoil a day on the ocean.

Good times

Here’s how we keep track of the weather, and the guidelines we use when planning trips from day to day.

Where we look for Key Largo diving and snorkeling weather conditions:

Our go-to forecasts are

When we start watching the weather:

About a week ahead of each private charter trip.

When there is a big bad weather system on its way, it tends to be fairly slow-moving and predictable. We’ll let you know as soon as we see anything that might negatively impact your trip so you can start thinking about options. Sometimes the systems break down and conditions improve. Other times they get worse.

We’ll stay on top of it and keep you up to date. We’ll also let you know what alternatives we might be able to offer, such as a different day or bayside eco tour when available.

If it looks like it could go either way, we’re happy to hold the trip for you until the last possible moment.

Our current weather guidelines:

For any type of trip:

We will not go out if the National Weather Service has a Small Craft Advisory in effect for our area or if the wave forecast is for 3 foot seas or more.

For snorkeling on the reef:

2 foot seas at most, less for newer snorkelers.

Depending on the way the wind is blowing, we can sometimes ‘hide’ behind the reef where it’s a little calmer. If it looks like it might be okay, we can always go out to give it a quick try. If it’s not fun, we’ll make a quick U turn back to shore and spend the rest of the time exploring some of the mangrove rivers and historic canals of Key Largo.

For scuba diving:

3 foot seas at most. 2 ft or less for newer divers.

Our experience is that many strong divers do just fine in conditions over 2’. We can choose dive sites that may have less surface surge, and once we’re underwater it’s usually a lot more comfortable than on top.

For diving, we also offer a ‘look-see’ in that gray area of 2-3′ waves: We gear up and head out to the reef. If doesn’t look good to you when we get there, we can always turn around without diving and there won’t be a charge for that.

For combination scuba/snorkel trips:

We revert to the snorkel limits or encourage you to make it a trip for divers only.

For eco tours, snorkeling in the mangroves and other bayside cruises:

No worries about wave height on Florida Bay because the island mangroves protect us from the wind! However, if there are thunderstorms in the forecast, we will try to move the schedule around them.

Bottom line:

We have a pretty conservative policy when it comes to the weather: If we look at the weather and don’t think you’re going to have a good time, we’re going to recommend you postpone your trip with us.

We want you to remember your Lucky Fish private charter in Key Largo with fondness, not regret!

*Our 29′ World Cat boat is designed for stability and handles waves very well for a vessel its size. However it is smaller and rides the sea differently than larger dive and snorkel boats here in Key Largo. They will often run scheduled trips on days when we opt to stay on shore.

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