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Back  |  USA: Pacific Northwest   |  Puget Sound - South

Toliva Shoal  |  USA: Pacific Northwest

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Mid Channel between Fox Island and Steilacoom
Steilacoom / Chambers Bay, Washington

Type: Saltwater
Intermediate, Advanced

Ratings (1-5):
Reviews: 2
Enjoyment: 3.67
Visibility: 3
Current: 3
Aquatic Life: 5

Photo Gallery:

Rob at the Toliva Shoal Marker
Green Urchin
High Cockscomb
Heart Crab
Male Scalyhead Sculpin
Rock Scallop
Red Irish Lord
Leafy Hornsmouth Snail
Orange Sea Cucumber
Heart Crab


Debris, Large Rock Formation / Pinnacle, Boulder Pile / Shelves


The Toliva Shoal is a large pinnacle-like knoll that rises up in the mid channel near Fox Island. The knoll Begins at its shallowest below the marker in only 30 ft from the surface and drops in all directions in a series of clay ledges and cement debris that have been left here creating an additional artificial reef. Depths around the shoal drop to below recreational diving limits, though popular depths for this dive extend to about 80'.

A popular dive profile is to start your dive just west of the marker, descend anywhere from 30-50 ft deep and explore the north and west sides of the shoal which drop off in a series of ledges. In the 50' range a series of cement debris are scattered about the shoal extending beyond the 80 ft depth. Scooter divers may want to explore additional areas of the shoal where the sandy bottom is marked by occasional rocks and boulders.

Special Restrictions:

Current sensitive. Do not tie up to navigational markers. Use a live boat and beware of overhead boat traffic. Sealions often pull out on this marker and may be present during your dive.

How to get there:

The Toliva Shoal is easy enough to locate about 5 nautical miles south of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, just south of Fox Island, East of McNeil Island and west of the old gravel quarry dock. It is in the middle of the channel and easily identified thanks to a large navigational barker buoy on the northeast side of the shoal.

With a depth finder you will see the depth decrease to nearly 30ft as you near the Marker.

Thanks to ChevaYEA for submitting this site!
  Comments Leave Review  
ChevaYEA2/9/2010Rating: 4
Nice (huge) dive site in the middle of the channel, who'd have thought this place was hiding up way out here. It is a large site, best from live boat. North of the buoy is the most dynamic.

Slobert2/9/2010Rating: 4
We dove off of our dive kayaks out here today. Had kayaks clipped off to us to roam the wide area of the shoal. Had a fantastic dive with a couple of Sea Lions and a good amount of life. The rock formations are cool and we even found a 1o foot shelf worthy of being called a wall. The shoal is huge, we started near the bouy, and ended up at least a hundred yards away after much zigging and zagging. There is much more to explore here. You really need a dive boat or kayaks to dive here, its big enough you would have a hard time finding your anchor after your dive, and the currents out there in the middle of the sound are no joke. But its worth the effort.


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