SWARA Artificial Reef System

Since July 2015, SWARA has deployed approximately 700 artificial reef structures at 16 different evenly-distributed sites along the coast of Walton County, Florida. All reef sites are conveniently located near public beach accesses with parking and restrooms. Each reef structure is made of a combination of steel, concrete, and Florida limestone.​ The Snorkel Reef towers are anchored by fiberglass pilings driven into the sand.​ SWARA reef structures are specially designed to provide shelter and, with healthy marine growth, a sustainable food source for a wide range of species.

All SWARA reef sites are intended to be reachable from shore. However, SWARA fish/dive reef sites are best reached by boat with use of a GPS device while SWARA Snorkel Reefs are best reached using a kayak, paddleboard, or other personal flotation device.

Every SWARA reef site lies in the State of Florida’s waters and visitors enjoy the reefs at their own risk. Visitors should obey all local and state laws when fishing, diving, boating, and snorkeling. Be advised, SWARA has no control over and claims no responsibility for anything that happens at, on, or around SWARA reef sites. Weather and sea conditions can and do change quickly and often. Visitors should make safety their highest priority.

Snorkeling Reefs

SWARA snorkel reefs are located approximately 250–300 yds from shore. We strongly recommend snorkelers use a kayak, paddleboard, or other flotation device when visiting the snorkel reefs. Sea conditions can and do change quickly and often.

diver down flag  Florida State Law requires that all divers prominently display a diver-down flag or buoys in areas where diving occurs.

Miramar Beach
N 30°22.5230′ W 86°23.3245′
Depth: 12-20′
Distance from Shore: 685′
Bearing: 188°

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Topsail Hill Preserve State Park
N 30°21.3501′ W 86°16.6638′
Depth: 13-18′
Distance from Shore: 715′
Bearing: 195°

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Grayton Beach State Park
N30° 19.338′ W86° 9.491′
Depth: 12-19′
Distance from Shore: 783′
Bearing: 200°

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Inlet Beach
N30° 16.202′ W86° 0.352′
Depth: 12-21′
Distance from Shore: 970′
Bearing: 204°

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Fishing & Diving Reefs

Most SWARA ​fish/dive reefs​ (excluding Fish Haven #1, #2, and Frangista Reef) are located ​within one nautical mile of shore​. Fish Haven #1, #2, and Frangista Reef are between two and four miles offshore. A GPS device is necessary to accurately locate these sites. Visitors planning to dive the reefs you should be trained and certified in SCUBA diving. Remember, don’t dive beyond your limits. Unless you’re spearfishing—take only pictures and leave only bubbles. Please be respectful of our marine environment and make safety your highest priority. Weather and sea conditions can and do change quickly and often.

Miramar Beach
N30° 21.887′ W86° 23.370′
Depth: 62′

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Miramar Beach
N30° 19.792′ W86° 22.857′
Depth: 68-75′
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Santa Rosa Beach
N30° 16.120′ W86° 13.880′
Depth: 89′

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Santa Rosa Beach
N30° 19.381′ W86° 12.033′
Depth: 55′
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N30° 21.388′ W86° 19.338′
Depth: 61′

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Santa Rosa Beach
30° 19.315′ W86° 17.895′
Depth: 75′
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Santa Rosa Beach
N30° 18.671′ W86° 9.647′
Depth: 59′

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Santa Rosa Beach
N30° 18.059′ W86° 7.338′
Depth: 55′
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Santa Rosa Beach
N30° 20.360′ W86° 15.343′
Depth: 61′

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Santa Rosa Beach
N30° 19.967′ W86° 13.874′
Depth: 59′
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Panama City Beach
N30° 17.388′ W86° 4.835′
Depth: 57′

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Rosemary Beach
N30° 15.688′ W86° 0.871′
Depth: 58′
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Underwater Museum of Art

In partnership with the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County, SWARA is pleased to present the nation’s first permanent underwater sculpture garden. Located at a depth of 60-feet and just .7-miles from the shore of Grayton Beach State Park, the Underwater Museum of Art offers divers a truly unique opportunity. The museum is home to an inaugural installation of seven sculptures created by seven different artists. As “living art” the works will become encrusted with marine life—growing and evolving with time. You’re encouraged to visit the museum’s website to learn morea about this wonderful underwater experience.

Life on the Reefs

Each reef site is comprised of approximately 40-acres of permitted sea bottom with at least five patch reefs and 30 pre-fabricated concrete and embedded Florida limestone rock reef modules of three design types. These structures provide valuable habitat for many and varied marine animals: fish, invertebrates, reptiles, and marine mammals. This, in turn, attracts a variety of birds and other coastal creatures. The following are just a few of the species that inhabit the artificial reefs and surrounding areas:

  • Amberjack
  • Red Snapper
  • Triggerfish
  • Gag Grouper
  • Lionfish
  • Octopus
  • Reef Shark
  • Stingray

  • Barracuda
  • Spotted Eagle Ray
  • Gray Snapper
  • Wrasse

  • Damselfish
  • Tunicate Colony
  • Sea Urchin
  • Green Sea Turtle

Make a Difference

SWARA could not exist without the vision and support of our patrons and members. Please join us in developing this world-class recreation and scientific resource.