Blue Spring Dive Plan
By Rebecca Riddle
Address & Phone # of Dive Site:
2100 West French Avenue
Orange City, Florida 32763
Check In Times and Procedures:
Meet at the gate at 8:00am. Weekends and Holidays, the park fills up & closes, so to be guaranteed to dive, you need to get there as soon as they open!
Admission is $6 per car. All divers must check in at the front gate. The ranger will collect your Dive Certification Card upon admission. Remember to pick it up as you leave! If a student, you will sign in with the instructor.
From Orlando, head east towards Daytona.
Take exit 114 off Interstate 4 and go west on Rt 472.
Go south on 17/92 to Orange City, about 2.5 miles.
Make a right onto West French Avenue.
Follow French Avenue to the park (on left, about a mile down). Its well signposted after you leave I4.
72F/22C degrees year round. A 5mm wetsuit and hood, or 3mm wetsuit with a hooded vest is recommended.
At the Dive Site:
From the parking area (first one on right, past the drive to the campsites), walk down the boardwalk to the concession building, then take a right.
Blue Spring Walkway
Follow the boardwalk to the sign for the diver's entry steps area. From this area, walk along the right side of the spring run to the head spring. There is a huge log across the deep hole portion of the spring. At a depth of 60ft, a sign will warn to go no further. DO NOT GO DEEPER THAN THIS SIGN. No dive lights are allowed unless the diver is cavern or cave certified. The return to your vehicles will be via the river run. This is a drift dive with a current. The depth is 4 to 6 feet depending on the water level. Long walk up, shorter walk back to your car!
More on Entry and Exit:
All divers will gear up at their vehicles and walk to the spring entry carrying their fins and ALL gear. Don't take anything like a towel/cell phone (where you get in is different to where you hop out!). Take only what you are going to take underwater. Do not put your fins on at the steps....Carry them up the river run to the head spring. Once at the head spring, divers will finish any adjustments and do buddy checks.
Please make sure to check your tank and gear prior to leaving the parking area. It is a long walk back for something that is forgotten or needs repair.
After diving the head spring, you will drift dive down the river run to the large silver platforms which will be on your left. The depth is only about 4 to 6 feet depending on water level. No scuba divers should go into the roped off swim area for any reason. At the first set of steps at the silver platform, take off your fins, and walk back to the parking area which is closer that the initial walk.
Maintain visual contact with your buddy at all times. Do not dive deeper than 60 feet at the head spring unless you are cavern or cave certified. No lights allowed unless you are cavern or cave certified. Maintain good buoyancy, and try not to silt the dive site. Make sure to ascend from the spring slowly, exhale, and do a safety stop at 15 feet for 3 minutes minimum. There is a little ledge at 15 feet, perfect for doing a safety stop. If in a large group, be sure to regroup and make sure that all divers are accounted for prior to exiting the head spring area and drifting back to the exit area via the run. All divers should have a minimum of 800 to 1000 psi for the return drift dive. If necessary, divers may use their snorkel on the drift dive back to the exit area.
Cross Section Map showing Blue Springs:
Wildlife you can expect to see at Blue Springs:
There is an amazing diversity of wildlife to be seem on, under and around the water at Blue Springs (especially on the way down the river run). Under the water, divers can expect to see alligator gar, sunfish, catfish, tilapia and schools of mullet as they swim down the river run.
More than 40 different fish species are regularly spotted at Blue Springs. Unfortunately, there has also been at least 4 non-native, alien, fish species reported to be living here in recent years.
Above the water, keep an eye out for otters, raccoons, turtles, hawks and owls.
It is important to note that Blue Spring is a designated manatee refuge.Temperatures in the spring run remain a constant 72 degrees in in Wintertime, (even when the oceans around Florida chill to 50-60 degree range); creating a safe haven for the West Indian manatee. To provide a safe warm water refuge for manatees during the winter season, the spring and spring run is closed to all water related activities including swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving and boating from November 15 through March 1.
Outside these dates, if Manatees are present, the spring will be closed to divers. If you spot a manatee on your dive, do not approach the manatee, you will need to leave the water immediately. Do NOT harass the animal in any way.
In case of buddy separation, follow standard procedures. Look for your buddy for one minute. If you can not find your buddy ascend slowly, exhale and do a three minute safety stop at 15 feet. Your buddy should also be following these procedures and will see you at the surface. 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 Orange City area
DAN – 1-919-684-4326
Always call DAN after 911 in the case of a dive emergency which may require medical attention.
DAN should be called in the case of any diving medical emergency. They will refer you to the correct chamber, if necessary.
Emergency Oxygen should be made available at the dive site by the divers, as there is none on site.
Environmental Interaction Suggestions:
Good Buoyancy is a must! The head spring can silt rather easily, causing reduced visibility. The limestone in the walls can crumble, please exercise care. Do not harass the wildlife! If a Manatee is spotted, please do not approach it. Leave the water immediately. They are an endangered species, and are protected by federal laws, and you will get in a lot of trouble for interacting with them!
Predive Safety Check:
Check all gear prior to leaving the parking area. It is worth repeating that it is a LONG walk back to retrieve a forgotten item or to repair a piece of equipment. All buddy teams will do a predive safety check and make sure that regulators, hoses and inflater's are working. Remember to check to make sure that your air is on, and that your regulator is in your mouth, not your snorkel.
The best view at Blue Springs....back up!
Enjoy your dive, be safe and have fun!