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LI dive boats and the best spots to explore shipwrecks and sea life

Logan Canonico, 5, snorkels in Wading River Creek.

Logan Canonico, 5, snorkels in Wading River Creek. Photo Credit: Elyssa Hopkins

The sea bed south of Long Island is littered with interesting places to dive. Several dive sites are accessible right from the beach, including shipwrecks, reefs and rocks that attract marine life. Here are some dive boats that can get you started on an underwater adventure, plus some notable wrecks to whet your appetite.

DIVE BOATS

FISH ON, Windswept Marina, 215 Atlantic Ave., East Moriches, fishonfishing.com, 631-889-5291. All ocean wrecks, including Oregon and USS San Diego, and artificial reef dives in Moriches Inlet. Capacity: 6.

M/V TEMPEST, 11 Hudson Ave., Freeport, eastcoastwreckdiving.com, 631-327-3312. Wreck dives include USS San Diego, RMS Oregon and other popular wrecks along the South Shore of Long Island and northern New Jersey. Capacity: 6.

POINT BREAK, Unique Charters, Mount Sinai, uniquecharters.com, 631-821-3483. Sails out of Port Jefferson. Wreck, reef, free diving, lobster and bottle diving; salvage; customized diving. Capacity: 6.

SEA HAWK, Woodcleft Canal, Freeport, 516-426-3463 or 718-279-1345, seahawkdiver.com. Visits local wrecks around Jones Inlet. Bottle dives in winter. Capacity: 10.

SEA TURTLE DIVE CHARTERS, Montauk, seaturtlecharters.com, 631-335-6323. Wreck and shark-cage dives and spear fishing. Call or visit website for information. Capacity: 6.

BEACH SITES

BAYVILLE BARGE, Bayville. An old wooden barge, sinking date unknown. Depth: 10-25 feet. Visibility: 0-20 feet. Excellent night diving, spearfishing; no public parking.

EDWARD WARNER OLD PONQUOGUE BRIDGE MARINE PARK, Dune Road, Hampton Bays. Depth: 10-30 feet. Visibility: 20-30 feet. Sea life (fish, including tropical in late summer and fall). Diving only in slack tide to avoid hazardous currents. Operated by the Town of Southampton, with portable toilets, boat launch and parking for trailer rigs. Town parking permits required July 1-Sept. 5; open 24 hours, all year.

HMS CULLODEN, Montauk, 200 yards offshore on north side of the South Fork, 2.3 miles west of Montauk jetties. English frigate sank in 1781. Depth: 15-25 feet. Visibility: 5-25 feet. Sometimes framing visible but often covered by sand; artifacts protected by law.

COUNTY PARKS

Suffolk County Parks dive sites include: Cedar Point County Park, novice dive at Northwest Harbor; Gardiners Bay, novice to intermediate; Cedar Point Lighthouse, intermediate to advanced; Montauk County Park, Montauk, novice to intermediate, outer beach, accessible by four-wheel-drive vehicles; Smith Point County Park, Shirley, intermediate to advanced, slack tide, accessible by four-wheel-drive vehicles; Cupsogue Beach County Park, Westhampton, intermediate to advanced, slack tide; and Meschutt Beach County Park, Hampton Bays, snorkeling along the east side of the jetty. Call 631-854-4949. Green Key card needed for parking at sites.

WRECK DIVES

BLACK WARRIOR, 6 miles west of Debs Inlet, East Rockaway. A 225-foot paddle-wheel steamship that ran aground in 1859. Depth: 35 feet. Visibility: 0-20 feet. Attractions: Scattered wreckage.

FRAN S, 6 miles southeast off Debs Inlet, East Rockaway. An 84-foot tug that sank in 1972 in Jones Inlet and was towed here. Depth: 70 feet. Visibility: 0-30 feet. Attractions: Aquatic life; good beginner dive.

IBERIA, 3 miles out of Jones Inlet off Long Beach. A 225-foot tramp steamer that sank in 1888. Depth: 60 feet. Visibility: 0-50 feet. Attractions: Artifacts, night diving and lobsters.

KENOSHA, 10 miles south of Fire Island Inlet. A 243-foot wood-hulled inland freighter. Depth: 105 feet. Visibility: 10-70 feet. Attractions: Most productive lobster dive off Long Island.

LIZZIE D, 8 miles southeast of Atlantic Beach Inlet. This 84-foot, steel-hulled tugboat, known as the Rum Runner sank in 1922. Depth: 80 feet. Visibility: 5-40 feet. Attractions: Artifacts (bottles).

OREGON, 21 miles southeast of Fire Island Inlet. A 518-foot passenger steamer that sank in 1886. Depth: 125-130 feet. Visibility: 5-90 feet. Attractions: Aquatic life, artifacts.

USS SAN DIEGO, 13 miles southeast of Fire Island Inlet. 504-foot armored cruiser sunk by mine in 1918. Depth: 110 feet. Visibility: 5-70 feet. Attractions: Artifacts protected by law.

USS TARANTULA, 22 miles off Jones Inlet. This 128-foot private steam yacht, once owned by W.K. Vanderbilt, became a gunboat in World War I and sank in 1918. Known as Good Gun Boat Wreck. Depth: 115 feet. Visibility: 10-50 feet. Attractions: Good photography.

VALERIE E, 7 miles southwest of Jones Inlet. This 72-foot clam dredge sank in January 1992. Depth: 75 feet. Visibility: 0-30 feet. Attractions: Artifacts (personal items, pulleys, fittings).

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