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Grain Terminal

16th Ave W., Seattle, WA
Google Map

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

Photo Gallery:

Northern Clingfish

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

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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!
  Reviews Leave Review  
sharkman.ed2/12/2014Rating: 3
Previous post said he did not know if this still exists. Yes it does. The site is really on the SE corner of Smith Cove, where piers 90 and 91 are. It is on the edge of Centennial Park, accessed from the running/walking trail. Saw some rockfish, one large cabbie. Vis was same as Cove 2 - in this case good. There was some chop so to exit we swam north in Smith Cove right next to the riprap wall. Found a GPO along that wall.

I am not sure that this site really exists. The very large pier 91 (which was built in 2009) did not exist when this review was posted in 2007. I don't see the grain silos in this area at all and now it is frequented by VERY LARGE CRUISE SHIPS. Maybe someone can clarify the location, or remove this dive site. Here's where I think it was: http://goo.gl/maps/b7gxK

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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