21 December 2018
KEY LARGO, Florida Keys -- Yes Virginia, that was Santa Claus scuba diving in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary earlier this week.

Santa, played by Keys dive shop operator Spencer Slate, took some time off from getting ready for Christmas to dive Wednesday afternoon amid the marine life at Pleasure Reef off Key Largo.
 
And instead of reindeer pulling his sleigh, Santa was towed by a SeaBob underwater sled, sporting two faux antlers.

Florida Keys' reef inhabitants seemed to appreciate the visit from St. Nick. 

Slate has been donning the jolly man's outfit for years to take the plunge but there's a serious side to his shenanigans. Dive customers frequently have the opportunity to have their photo taken with Santa for an extra fee and the revenue goes to a local children's charity to fund gifts during the holiday season.

The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary protects the waters surrounding the entire Keys island chain, including the continental United States’ only living coral barrier reef.

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Underwater video to match this story, shot Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018, be available on the Florida Keys News Bureau's FTP server (download details below). B-roll of "Santa" in traditional red suit diving off Key Largo.
FTP Information
Host: 
news.fla-keys.com
UserID: floridakeys@news.fla-keys.com
Password: islands
Folder: News Video
Filename: KeysUnderwaterSanta.mp4
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