While Panama City Beach has long been considered an outstanding destination for recreational and commercial fishing, not so well known is its reputation for offering premier diving opportunities. A popular stop along the Florida Panhandle Shipwreck Trail, Panama City Beach features a half-dozen wrecks within a few miles of its sandy beaches to challenge divers of all skill levels. Capt. Travis Holeman explores the destination’s rich diving history firsthand when he joins the crew of Panama City Dive Center for a trip offshore.
“With the Gulf of Mexico reaching depths of 80 feet or more just a few miles offshore, recreational divers in Panama City Beach can experience unparalleled access to breathtaking shipwrecks and artificial reefs,” says Capt. Holeman. “These structures, some built with decommissioned military jets and discarded bridge spans, are more than just cool – they’re home to a wide variety of fish species and thus offer an ideal spot for spearfishing enthusiasts.”
Later in the episode, “Chasin’ The Sun” visits the Man in the Sea Museum to explore diving artifacts including Sealab I, the U. S. Navy’s first underwater habitat, which was built in Panama City Beach in 1964. Local waters continue to play a vital role in military diving, with Panama City Beach being the home of Naval Support Activity, where divers from all branches receive advanced training before being deployed to carry out their strategic missions worldwide.