Shark Tooth diving off Venice Beach with the Hammerhead Charter Boat

Venice Beach, Florida is the "Shark Tooth Capital of the World". These waters were prehistoric feeding grounds for the ancient giant shark, Carcharocles megalodon, that reached lenghts of up to 100 feet!

While diving with specialized Shark Tooth Dive charters you will find Meglodon shark teeth, manatee bones, whale bones, prehistoric horse bones and other unique fossils. All the dives in the Venice Beach area are in the 20-30 foot depth range allowing for plenty of bottom time. This type of fossil diving is usually called "muck diving", as the average visibility is normally 8-10 feet. When we dive Venice Beach we dive from the Hammerhead boat with Florida West Scuba School, a well known and reputable charter in the area.

Florida Wests boat is docked at :
509 C. North Tamiami Trail,
Venice, Florida 34285

Phone Number:

A set of two tank shark tooth dives is $69.00 plus tax. This price includes divers tanks and weights.

Driving direction from Dayo Scuba Training Center:
Approximate Driving Time: 2.5 hours

1. Start out going north on Executive Dr. toward Lee Rd. (0.1 mile)
2. Turn right on Lee Rd. (0.1 mile)
3. Make a immediate U-turn back towards I-4.
4. Merge onto I-4 West, and continue for 78.7 miles.
5. Merge onto I-75 S via Exit 9 toward Naples/Brandon, continue for 62.3 miles.
6. Merge onto FL-681 S via Exit 200 toward Venice/Osprey, continue for 3.2 miles.
7. Take the US-41 S exit on the left towards Venice/Gulf Beaches, proceed southbound on US 41 S. for a little over 2 miles and you will see three big green highway signs on your right indicating the Business 41 exit to Venice.
8. Take this exit on the right and drive for 1000 feet to the base of the Hatchett Creek drawbridge.
Do not cross over the bridge.
9. Take the access road on the right side of the drawbridge into the parking lot, where you will see the boat.

Diving Venice Beach:

The depths in the Venice Beach area are quite shallow, maximum of 30 feet, and 20 feet average. The area is mostly sandy, and with patches of rubble. Its in these patches that the fossils are to be found. There is also alot of wildlife to be seen in the area, mostly small, so look carefully!

Venice Beach is a unique diving experience, and even though is is shallow, there are some important points to note when diving here. Make sure each buddy pair/team has a dive flag as fishermen and boaters frequent this area often. Attach any dangly equipment such as octopus and pressure gauges to yourself to avoid dragging the bottom, and becoming entangled underwater. Divers should each carry a dive knife in case of entanglement with fishing lines and nets.

Recommended Dive Gear:
- A dive flag/buoy per buddy team/pair is mandatory

Photo by Kevin Redfield

- Trowel to pick through the rubble.
- Dive knife per diver
- Mesh bag for holding your goodies!

Vessel Particulars:
* The Hammerhed is a Coastguard certified, 31 foot long Island Hopper boat, kitted out for scuba divers comfort. She has a wide beam, large dive platform, and a center rail to stabilize all divers movements.

* Full set of electronics for finding the best sites.

* The Hammerhead is licensed to carry 12 divers.

* Emergency equipment on board: PFD’s/EPIRB/Auto deploy life raft/O2/fire extinguishers and engine room drench.

* Onboard facilities: Fresh water hose, a head and complimentary snacks and soft drinks.

Typical Trip Schedule:
The Hammerhead has morning and afternoon charters every day. Advanced booking is essential!

Divers should bring any scuba gear that they have (and back ups/spare items as necessary!), a c-card (essential if you are not training with an instructor), any sea sickness medications that could be necessary, a towel, and a jacket, if the conditions require. Ensure your cylinders are filled with the appropriate gas mix, and analyzed by the user.

Upon arrival to the dive boat, all divers must sign in with the captain, sign the liability forms, and pay the appropriate fees 9if you haven't already done so). The number of dives, types of dives, and dive sites are usually roughly agreed on with the captain before hand.

Pre Dive Routine:
The Captain or Divemaster give an extremely thorough vessel brief to all the divers. Full details of the boat layout, safety features, local medical support/procedures, amenities and weather report/expected conditions are given.

A comprehensive dive briefing on the dive sites to be visited on that trip is also given.

Pre-dive Safety Check:

Divers should gear up on the boat, and perform a pre-dive safety check before the boat arrives to the dive site. Make sure all of your gear is in working order, and go over your buddies gear to familiarize yourself with it.

Entry and Exit:
All scuba divers gear up, and with ALL their gear on shuffle to the back of the boat. Entry into the water is via giant stride.

For reentry to the boat, hand your fins up to the divemaster and use the ladder to exit the water. The crew will help haul the divers and gear back onto the boat.

Water temperature and sea condition:

In the summer the water temperature ranges between 82F and 85F, a rash guard, skin suit or 3mm shorty is fine to wear. Wearing some type of the exposure suit is recommended to protect against scrapes, stings, and sun burn.

In the winter the water temperature ranges between 65F and 72F, a 5mm-7mm full wetsuit or even a dry suit is recommended. Wearing a hood or a hooded vest in colder water temperatures will help to maintain your heat.

The water usually has 8-10 feet of visibility.

Sea state varies from flat calm to several feet....up to date sea states can be found online or by calling the Captain.

Weather conditions:
Click here for an update on current weather conditions in the Venice Beach area

Things you can expect to see:

Most of the life in the Venice Beach is small, and camouflages itself, so you have too look closely! We regularly see starfish, sea urchins, toadfish, drums, octopii and on our last trip, we even spotted a sea horse here!


Environmental Interaction Suggestions:

Please keep your buoyancy and trim in check at all times.

Emergency Procedures:

In case of buddy separation, follow standard procedures. Look for your buddy for one minute. If you cannot find your buddy ascend slowly, and make your way back to the boat. Your buddy should also be following these procedures and will see you at the surface. Check your air supply, to ensure you have enough to continue the dive.

If anyone is low on air, signal your buddy with the appropriate hand signal and begin your ascent. In the rare and unusual case of an out of air situation, signal your buddy and commence sharing air. Maintain buoyancy and ascend slowly, remembering to breathe.

Emergency Contact Information:

911 - This will activate EMS in the Venice Beach area
DAN – 1-919-684-4326
Always call DAN after 911 in the case of a dive emergency which may require medical attention.

In case of a Diving emergency the closest Hyperbaric Chamber is:
Sarasota Memorial Hospital
1700 S. Tamiami Trail Sarasota, FL 34239
Phone Number: 941-917-9000

DAN should be called in the case of any diving medical emergency. They will refer you to the correct chamber, if necessary.

Enjoy your dive, be safe and have fun!