Snorkeling Pensacola, Florida's Fort Pickens Jetties

Fort Pickens Jetties are located at the west end of Santa Rosa Island at Gulf Islands National Seashore, near the City of Pensacola, Florida. The jetties are actually on the bay side of the island off the northwest corner of the Fort Pickens seawall, and just west of the Fort Pickens fishing pier. There is a fee to enter the park.

Snorkeling here should be done on slack tides (usually an hour or so before peak high tide) since the tidal change currents can be very strong. The water drops off quickly to 50 feet.

Helpful links for more in-depth research:

Official Fort Pickens Website

Fort Pickens Snorkeling rules and tips

Scuba Board discussion of snorkeling/diving Fort Pickens

Scuba Board photos of Fort Pickens Dive

Photo albums including Fort Pickens underwater photos


Nearby Snorkeling possibilities:

Just off Pensacola's Public Beach and west of the Pensacola Beach fishing pier (on the Gulf side) there are concrete pilings in the water about 10 feet deep. Sometimes storms cover the pilings with sand. Sometimes referred to as "Jacobi Reef." How to find the pilings and rubble, from the Scuba Board: "To find the rubble get in the water and turn back towards the beach. line yourself up with the right (as you look at it) side of the new bathrooms. Start back swimming out, keeping yourself lined up with the ride edge of the bathroom. Start counting pier pilings (starting at the ones the are in the water). once you are at #15 start looking down. The rubble is between #15 and #17."

In July 2010 I received the following email from Joe Jacobi, son of the Navy salvage diver for whom Jacobi Reef was named:

"My name is Joe Jacobi. My dad, Tom Jacobi, was a Navy salvage diver and arguably one of the most experienced divers to explore the waters of Pensacola and itís various reefs and wrecks. His good friend and diving partner, Dr. Andrew Gigi, dedicated the Jacobi reef to his unfortunate diving accidents (2) in which he got the bends and recovered. Those pilings were covered up during a hurricane (the details are foggy but you get the idea), and the Jacobi reef was listed at the visitors center on a map of diving destinations for the Pensacola waters. He was and still is the most generous source of information about diving and got more satisfaction teaching and sharing his love for diving and marine conservation. I felt compelled to share this information with you because it warms my heart to hear that the Jacobi reef still exists and my dadís legacy of selfless concern for the waters of the Gulf of Mexico might endure to inspire others in the future to learn more and respect always the beauty and bounty of our environment.

I just wanted to shed light on this subject and enlighten your audience of the origins of the Jacobi reef because, in my view, those concrete pilings will always symbolize the ideals that my dad stood for and people need to realize that without the contributions that divers that went down before us, we might not have the pleasure of understanding the benefit and gift of experiencing the undersea world.

I am happy to hear the Jacobi reef lives on! " -- Joe Jacobi

East of the Pensacola Beach Fishing pier (Gulf side) there is a shipwreck off the beach in about 15 feet of water that is partially covered with sand.

View Snorkeling Fort Pickens Jetty in a larger map

Snorkeling in the Florida Panhandle

Fort Pickens Jetties & Pensacola Beach

Destin Inlet Jetty (East Jetty)

St. Andrews Jetties

Snorkeling in Southwest Florida

Egmont Key

Sugar Barge (Regina), Bradenton Beach

Point-of-Rocks, Siesta Key

Venice Beach

Southeast Florida Snorkeling

Sebastian Inlet State Park

Bathtub Reef Park, Stuart

Red Reef Park, Boca Raton

Datura Avenue Shipwreck Snorkel Trail, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea

John U. Lloyd Beach State Park, Dania

Dania Beach

Peanut Island

Biscayne National Park


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