This area is special for the fabulous sea life that lives around the Blue Heron Bridge pilings. You can see schools of large fish, colorful tropical fish, urchins, huge starfish and barracudas.
The Blue Heron Bridge is a favorite of scuba instructors. It’s an easy first shore dive. The water depth ranges from about 4-18 feet. Sea creatures are abundant amongst the bridge supports and a small reef near the Intracoastal Waterway channel.
Water clarity varies greatly here. It’s best to visit on an incoming tide. This is when clear ocean water comes in the nearby Lake Worth Inlet (aka “Palm Beach Inlet.) The entire area is flooded with clear blue water. It looks like the Caribbean! Plan to dive from about an hour before high tide until about an hour following. This is when the current is manageable. An outgoing tide forces brown brackish water out of local canals. Visibility is poor during an outgoing tide.
Warning: Phil Foster Park has improved over the years, but it is still a little seedy (especially under the bridge.) Watch out for broken glass, dog dirt and stray fishhooks. Wear fins, “swim shoes” or just plain ol’ socks to protect your feet while swimming. Lock your car and don’t leave valuables in sight. Don’t go to the park at night. Phil Foster Park can be very crowded on weekends with both divers and boaters (who use the park’s ramps.) Police will close the gates when parking is full. When closures happen, they’re usually on sunny weekends during the late morning.
Warning #2: Current under the bridge is strong on incoming or outgoing tides. As previously noted, it is best to dive just before slack high tide. This is when the water clarity is best and the current is not a factor. Fins are advised.
Warning #3: A huge number of boats pass under the Blue Heron Bridge. Most use the Intracoastal Waterway channel and pass between the fenders under the bridge’s center. Do not attempt to swim in channel! The channel begins after the fourth set of bridge pilings.
Occasionally a boat will attempt to pass over the diving area. These captains are reckless and stupid (not to mention criminals when divers are present!) To be a good “defensive diver”, use a diving flag and stay deep.
Warning #4: The area under the “old” Blue Heron Bridge is for fishing. Watch out for hooks and lines.
By boat, anchor south of the bridge’s southeast landing. You will see a guarded swimming beach (buoys mark the swimming area.) Drop anchor west of the swimming area. Diving is east of the bridge’s boat fenders.
By car, shore dives are easy from this location. Park in the southwest corner of the Phil Foster Park lot. You can enter the water from a beach that is located directly under the bridge. Note that this beach is an unimproved sailboat-launching ramp. Sometimes there is tension between the divers and sail-boaters trying to use the same area.
The park has open-air freshwater showers, restrooms and pay phones.
Enjoy! This is a very fun place! More quality snorkeling can be found across the water at Peanut Island.
RIVIERA BEACH VISITOR ALERT: There appears to be problem with Phil Foster Park visitors receiving unfair parking tickets from the Riviera Beach Police Department. Problems happen inside the park and outside the park along Blue Heron Blvd. Parking restrictions are not well marked in these areas. Law abiding visitors are parking in areas they believe are proper, then return to find they have received an unusually expensive parking ticket. The mysterious lack of parking regulation signs and police department zeal for writing tickets appear to go beyond normal law enforcement. It suggests that parking tickets issued to trailer boaters and park visitors are seen as a source of revenue for Riviera Beach.
Information on this page gathered from this website