Saba Marine Park
The Saba Marine Park boasts more than 30 permanently moored dive sites. Check out our interactive dive site map for more information on each site.
The Saba National Marine Park encompasses the waters and sea bed encircling the island of Saba, Dutch Caribbean, from the high watermark to 196 feet (60 m) deep. In total, the marine park covers approximately 5 square miles (13 km2). At the time of its creation in 1987, the government passed the Marine Environment Ordinance to protect the coral reefs and other marine life within the park. The Saba Conservation Foundation manages the Saba National Marine Park, as well as the island's hyperbaric facility and natural sites on land.
Caribbean diving at its best!
Saba’s volcanic origins have blessed her waters with spectacular formations and structural diversity. Enjoy year-round diving with seasonal differences in water temperature and surface conditions. Winter months bring cooler water temperatures ranging from 77°F (25C) 80°F (27C), whereas summer months yield a lovely 80°F to 85°F (27-29C). The Saba Marine Park boasts more than 30 permanently moored dive sites. Check out our clickable dive site map for more information on each site.
The Saba Marine Park is zoned for various recreational and commercial uses. The yachting community will be pleased to note there are overnight (yellow) moorings in place in both the Wells Bay area as well as the Fort Bay area. Visiting yachts must register and dive with one of Saba's local dive operators.
From shallow patch reefs to deepwater seamounts, Saba offers interesting diving at different depth and for every diver's experience and comfort level.
Our small size, 5.1 square miles, and circular shape don't provide us with a large leeward side, but nevertheless, allows us to dive nearly every day of the year. Our experienced crew will take you to the best dive site for the day’s conditions and match your diving ability to the selection. With the variety of diving that is offered, plan at least a few days of diving to enjoy a real sampling of the Saba diversity.
We do not pre-select dive sites. Talk to your crew and let them know your preferences. We will do our best to get you to the dives that you want!
Not far offshore, Saba’s famous pinnacles and seamounts rise dramatically from the depths to within 85 feet of the surface. The structures themselves are not to be missed! The most unique being The Needle, just off in the blue from Third Encounter. It’s common to encounter schools of fish, jacks, groupers or even some of Saba's robust shark population at the pinnacles. Caribbean Reef and Nurse sharks are the most common to see but there are a few sightings each year of Hammerheads, Bull and Tiger sharks. Although these dive sites are virtually bottomless, they can be safely enjoyed well within the limits of recreational diving. Nitrox is a must when doing these dives!
Man O’ War Shoals, Diamond Rock and Green Island are also classified as pinnacles but have sandy bottoms at between 70 and 80 feet. Schools of blue tangs, big eye jacks and barracuda frequent these areas. The dark volcanic sand around these sites is also home to many interesting critters including flying gurnards, batfish, industrious sand tile fish and jawfish.
To the west, down our leeward coast brings you to that area referred to Ladder Bay. The volcanic lava flows created a natural labyrinth of spur and groove formations. Place your hands into the sulfur-stained sand and feel the warmth of this now dormant volcanic island. Nurse sharks, green and hawksbill turtles, and our tarpon are some of the larger animals you will see on the leeward coast. The seagrass on the perimeter of the reef provides sustenance for Saba's healthy turtle populations whereas the sand is home to garden eels and yellow-headed jawfish. Ladder Bay is a great area for night dives.
Less than five minutes from the Fort Bay Harbor, Tent Bay offers spectacular diving. Tent reef is a very diverse and interesting reef. The vertical Tent Reef Wall can be conducted as a shallow dive, a deeper multi-level dive, or as an exhilarating drift dive. The sandy top of the wall is home to hundreds of garden eels, razorfish, and southern stingrays. A three-dimensional mural of colorful mollusks, large barrel, and drooping sponges are guaranteed on this dive with the schools of sergeant majors, queen angelfish, french angelfish, seasonal frogfish, and even occasional Longsnout Seahorses. Tent Reef is a favorite for night dives with frequent octopus sightings.
More dependent on weather conditions are our Windwardside sites. The majority of Saba’s diving offers volcanic coral-encrusted boulders with only a few Windwardside sites being organic reefs. The white sand bottoms in these areas give them a different look and feel from the leeward side sites, and serious fish watchers will note different species of reef fish and critters than seen in other areas of the Saba Marine Park. The exposure to more weather lends itself less to soft corals. Instead, get out the wide-angle lens to capture the resilient elkhorn forests and large plate and mushroom-shaped star corals of these seascapes. It’s rare to have current on this side of the island and visibility tends to be exceptional.
Shallow easy dives and snorkel sites
Well’s Bay and Torrens Point are the most protected waters of Saba during normal weather conditions. Great for snorkeling or shallow dives, large boulders, caves, and swim-throughs present interesting underwater structures. A series of patch reefs leading away from the shoreline host many juvenile species and a variety of eels. Saba's nursery, as it's known, also has a prolific population of Flamingo Tongue Cowry shells as well as other interesting invertebrates, fish, and hard corals. Morays eels, sharptail eels, gold spotted eels, and the less common spotted snake eel that conceals the majority of its long body in the sand are all to be found here.
Ask about our special Sea Saba Muck Dive. Let us take you somewhere different. If you are into seeing odd sand dwellers and enjoy taking the chance of seeing something unique, grab your camera and let's go...the sea grass in front of the Fort Bay harbor area where our overnight moorings for our boats are located. Artificial reefs (even those created by big concrete blocks and chains) serve as protection and a gathering point for many unique species. Over the years, we have noticed fabulous, obscure marine life at these moorings from Rosy Lipped Batfish and flounder to frogfish and our own mimic octopus. Best done as the 3rd dive of the day, just let us know you're interested.
Coral Nursery Cleaning
Every Sunday afternoon, we take groups of divers to the Coral Nursery in Wells Bay. Divers are given a briefing and are able to participate in conservation by providing much needed labor cleaning the trees for the Saba Conservation Foundation. $10 of every nursery dive is donated to keep the Nursery funded to continue their excellent work here on Saba.