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Back  |  USA: Pacific Northwest   |  Puget Sound - South

Grain Terminal  |  USA: Pacific Northwest

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16th Ave W., Seattle, WA

Type: Saltwater
Snorkling, Beginner, Intermediate
Access: Difficult Shore Entry
Parking: Good

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

Photo Gallery:

Northern Clingfish

Gumboot Chiton
Lemon Nudibranch
Red Rock Crab
Rock Sole
Tube Worm
Tube Worm


Debris, Structures,


This is a great dive for Seattle divers wanting to do something different. I free dove this site for years, and went back with tanks after getting certified and had an enjoyable dive. 16th Ave is along an artificial inlet used by Foss Tugs, so after you enter the water, stay close to shore and surface swim or descend and head south along the shore to the corner of the inlet. This section is shallow, but has rocks and pilings and we have seen giant skates, ratfish, perch, rockfish and others along here, so keep your eyes open. When you get to the corner of the inlet the shore turns east towards the grain terminal and Seattle. From this corner, a mound of rock extends out to the south. The mound is interesting and has rockfish, cabazon, and others, but be aware that it takes you out away from shore and into busy Elliot bay. You probably wouldnít want to surface out there. The shore heading towards the grain terminal is made up of large rocks like a breakwater and is covered in kelp. We find rockfish, lingcod, sculpins, etc. along here. You donít need to go deeper than 30 feet at this site as the bottom turns into sandy gravel and doesnít have much to offer. Be aware that there is a fishing dock near the terminal so donít get to close. This site is inconsistent in many ways. Sometimes there are lots of fish, sometimes it seems a desert. The vis is usually similar to Alki Point, but avoid low tides as the wakes from the ferries and containerships can stir up the water in a hurry!

Special Restrictions:

City of Seattle requires you to fly a dive flag. Watch for commercial boat traffic...donít stray to far from shore. There are tug boats that use this inlet. Stay inside the pilings if within the inlet and to the east of the point if your swim out to keep out of their way.

How to get there:

Better get out your map for this one. Itís not hard to find, but difficult to explain. Park on 16th Ave W. along the bike path and enter anywhere the rock looks climbable to you. 16th ave W is accessed off of Garfield St which is off of Elliot Ave. It is near the huge grain terminal (hence the creative name). There is a wall you have to carefully climb down but it is very close to the car.

Thanks to Slobert for submitting this site!
  Comments Leave Review  
caseyyano7/28/2018Rating: 3
Although a fun dive with a sketchy entry... This dive is OFF limits based on the municipal code 16.28.020 in the city of Seattle. We had a nice time interfacing with police officers after our lovely dive. Source: https://library.municode.com/wa/seattle/codes/municipal_code?nodeId=TIT16HACO_CH16.28WASP_16.28.020SKDISCDIPERERE

Slobert4/21/2008Rating: 4
Had a good dive at the grain terminal tonight. Lots of sculpins including Red Irish lords and Sailfin. Some Rockfish including puget sound rockfish and a whole school of Black Rockfish at the end of the mound. IN the silt we saw Snake pricklebacks and sand dabs and Stary eyed flounders. Climbing in and out here is a pain in the butt though.

8/26/2007Rating: 4
This is a site that Iíve snorkeled at night many times and just recently dove it with tanks. It can be hit or miss on visibility but it is usually decent. The channel can be a lot of fun during High tide while the retaining wall is submerged. There are lots of fish hanging out very shallow. To get deep enough for a dive, head out of the channel and stay to the east so you are out of the way of boats. There are plenty of fish to see here and you can control your depth easily. The best part about it is the night access.


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