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FLORIDA KEYS (CBSMiami/FKNB) — A Florida Keys version of Santa Claus ditched the sleigh and instead took to the sea.

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Scuba diving Santa submerged 30 feet below the surface in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary to deliver a bit of holiday cheer to marine inhabitants and to raise funds for a children’s charity.

WATCH the report, click here.

It’s an annual Keys tradition for Santa Claus, played by Florida Keys dive shop operator Spencer Slate, who wears the jolly man’s attire each year.

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But beyond the fun and entertainment for people and marine life, Slate’s dives have a serious purpose. He offers up underwater holiday photo opportunities with his dive shop customers to raise funds for a local children’s charity to purchase gifts during the holiday season.

Santa’s dive Friday afternoon took place on Davis Reef, situated in the sanctuary about five miles off Islamorada.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Florida Keys News Bureau contributed to this report.)

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