St. John island in the U.S. Virgin Islands is known for its beautiful white sandy beaches and its crystal clear, blue warm waters. When you visit St. John, make time to explore its magnificent underwater world with tropical beds of seagrass, caves, coral reefs, shipwrecks, and rich, abundant tropical marine life.


With more than a dozen dive sites on St. John, including a few that are shared with St. Thomas and the British Virgin Islands, there is more than enough to explore. Diving in the U.S. Virgin Islands is ideal for beginning divers as well as the most experienced scuba divers. 


To make the most of your scuba diving experience while you are on St. John, below are four of the best places to scuba dive:


Wreck of the Rhone

The Wreck of the Rhone is one of the best wreck dives in the Caribbean and a favorite St. John diving spot. The Rhone sank in 1867 when a hurricane struck the area. It was a merchantman sail steamer that was 367 feet in length. The wreck is beneath the calm waters in Salt Cay. Many of the underwater scenes in the feature film, The Deep, were filmed at the Wreck of the Rhone.


Carval Rock

Also known as Carvel Rock, this location is an uninhabited islet in the Caribbean. It has steep rock formations in up to 80 feet of crystal-clear water. You can see views of tropical fish and sharks as well as steep rock formations and rich wildlife. 

There are strong underwater currents in the area and because of that, this dive is recommended for experienced divers only. 


Congo Cay

Just west of Carval Rock you can explore the grottos of Congo Cay. There are shallow reefs with an abundant amount of colorful tropical fish as well as turtles and sharks. There are enough shallow areas for beginner divers and deeper crevices for the more experienced divers to explore. 


Grass Cay

Grass Cay is known for the variety of sea life that you can find there. This is a great spot for a unique nighttime scuba diving experience where you can see, after the sun sets, the variety of sea life that populates the cay including lobsters, crabs, and octopuses. 

Before You Scuba Dive on St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands

You need to be a certified diver to scuba dive on St. John. If you are not a certified scuba diver you can take an instructional introductory course from one of the watersports businesses on St. John and take a shallow dive with one of their instructors. Most resorts, sailing and boating charters and water sports outfitters equipment rentals, guided tours, lessons at all levels, and scuba diving certification. You have to be at least 10 years old in order to dive. There’s no need to bring all of your diving equipment with you when you visit St. John. In addition to providing certifications, the dive shops can rent you scuba gear for diving. 

Scuba Diving Safety Tips

Some helpful safety tips to consider when you scuba dive on St. John island include:

  • Don’t dive alone. You may need someone to help you in the case of an emergency
  • Don’t dive if you have a cold or are experiencing congestion. You can damage your lungs or your ears if you dive.
  • Make sure you have the right equipment and you have checked it before you dive 
  • Make sure you have your doctor’s approval for diving. If you have a medical condition it may worsen with diving. 
  • Wear waterproof sunblock to protect your skin
  • Don’t disturb the ecosystem by touching the coral, overturning rocks, or touching the sea life


When you scuba dives off the shores of St. John you will be able to experience the beauty and mystery that lies beneath the water’s surface. You’ll find colorful gardens of coral reefs and sponges, meet sea turtles, sea rays, and sting rays as well as other wildlife that lives in the water. You’ll have the opportunity to visit shipwrecks and see sunken planes. It’s a great way to experience the underwater charm of St. John island. 


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