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

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.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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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