Barbados Reef Diving
Barbados is surrounded by a colorful array of patch and fringe reefs and two distinct barrier reefs running along the west and south coasts.
With a little bit of everything, diving in Barbados is a buffet of underwater delicacies.
Most reef diving on the south coast will undoubtedly be a drift dive. Currents range from gentle flows to heaving pulls making for an exhilarating ride along the Barbados dive express!
It works like this; you board a boat to the reef and enter the water. The dive master will generally carry a reel attached to an inflated buoy or marker, which allows the boat driver to follow the diver’s underwater path. Usually, the dive will end at a pre-arranged location and time where the boat will pick you up.
During the dive, you and your guide will swim with the current to avoid over-exertion and maximize bottom time. In the case of an early ascent, divers should surface with their dive buddy staying close to the marker to allow for easy identification and pick-up.
While the idea of a drift dive might initially seem intimidating, there are many benefits to this kind of diving. Sediment kicked up by other divers has quickly pushed away, often allowing for increased visibility. Currents also transport nutrients into the reef, fostering diverse coral colonies.
Furthermore, allowing yourself to be effortlessly carried by the flow enables the diver to cover long distances underwater. By lowering activity levels, the diver can conserve air and extend the period underwater while providing ample opportunity to see a broader and more diverse range of sea life.
Drift dives, however, are certainly not the best conditions for macro photography. The movement of the water prohibits the underwater photographer from maintaining a steady position which could cause coral damage and clumsy shots.
Barbados offers an outstanding variety of reef dives. The only Caribbean island built on solid limestone and coral, surrounding waters are characterized by shallow slopes merging into the deep ocean recess.
Divided between strips of reef and sandy lengths, surrounding waters are endowed with hard and soft coral species nurtured by abundant sunlight filtering through the crystal clear waters.
Popular drift dive sites in Barbados include:
» The Deep
» Lobster Reef
» Pieces of Eight
» The Boot
» Mount Charlie
» Asta Reef
At varying depths, these sites fulfill every range of capabilities from the recently certified PADI diver to the more advanced scuba divers.
East and north coast dives are not for the faint of heart. With cold Atlantic waters, breaking waves, intricate channels, and heaving currents, these dive sites should only be attempted by experienced divers guided by local dive operators familiar with the areas.
Consett Bay is a popular southeast location. Situated off of a small fishing village, this Bay is an ideal spot for viewing rough and rugged coral formations, lobster, and big fish such as nurse sharks. Conditions are best during the summer months between June and September.
Barbados Tour Operators
To come to Barbados and not take a tour of the island would be a mistake. There are so many natural, man-made, and historical wonders on our small island that it would be a shame to miss them all. Please view our list of recommended tour operators in Barbados.
View photos of scuba diving in Barbados within our Totally Barbados Adobe Portfolio.
Last Updated: April 11th, 2023
Publisher: Totally Barbados