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Back  |  USA: Pacific Northwest   |  Puget Sound - South

Saltwater State Park  |  USA: Pacific Northwest

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Des Moines, WA

Type: Saltwater
Beginner, Intermediate
Access: Moderate Shore Entry
Parking: Good
Amenities: Restrooms, Showers, Public Mooring

Ratings (1-5):
Reviews: 8
Enjoyment: 3.83
Visibility: 0
Current: 0
Aquatic Life: 0

Photo Gallery:

Swimming Anemones
California Sea Cucumber
Sunflower Sea Star
Red Irish Lord
Copper Rockfish
Red Rock Crab
Kelp Crab


Debris, Tire Reef, Eel Grass Beds


Saltwater State Park installed a new artificial reef in early 2009 made of very large stacked granite boulders and cement pilings. There are three parallel "fingers" to the reef extending away from shore. After a very long, shallow swim over sand flats toward the marker buoys, the bottom will start to drop off at about 25' deep. At the top of each of the three fingers, there is a long stretch of rocks starting about 30' deep that lead to the stacked boulders which extend from 50' down to 80'. The stacks are impressively tall, reaching over 10' from the bottom in the deeper end. There is a trail of blocks connecting the reefs at the 40-50' range in case you end up between the fingers on your way out. There are white buoys marking the boundaries of the reef.

In the sandy flats between the reef expect to see all the local varieties of flat fish, Ratfish, Dogfish, etc.

Special Restrictions:

It is best to dive this are at slack or on mild exchanges. It is a long swim to the reefs (about 15 minutes under water or on the surface to the buoys) and there is no protection from currents in this area. Current shouldn't be as much of an issue once on the reefs because you can dive the lee side if it is moving strong.

It is open in the Summer: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Winter: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This is a great park for families and outings. There is camping here during the summer.

How to get there:

To get there from I-5, take the 272nd ST exit and head west toward the water. Turn Right on 16th Ave S. then Left on 250th. Follow it until you see the signs to the Park and follow it down to the water.

Thanks to ChevaYEA for submitting this site!
  Comments Leave Review  
Chris1/17/2011Rating: 4
We dove Saltwater yesterday with high winds and flooding rivers in the area. Visibility was about 3' until we got under the muddy water at about 60'. It was dark as a night dive due to weather and water conditions. There was surf on the exit. Even with all that I still really enjoyed this site. The new reef is fantastic with a great amount of life on it. I look forward to visiting regularly and watching as more and more things grow on the reef.

Druski5/22/2010Rating: 5
A group of us dive recently. The reefs are teaming with life, various Rockfish, gunnels, assorted crabs, assorted Sculpins. At slack, there was almost no current and the viz at depth was almost 25'. Will return very soon.

Slobert11/11/2009Rating: 4
This is a great site. Alot of fish have moved in during the past year. Tons of rockfish, perch, greenlings ( including lingcod) and signs of GPO's. Lots of fish. the vis was good and the reef is impressive in size. The surface swim at high tide is a little long but way better than the long walk at low tide so I recomend a high tide dive. I cant wait to see it in a few years after more invertibrates move in, it will only get better and better.

Chris6/11/2009Rating: 5
The reef has been installed and is great. The Perfect Dive now has an updated map of the new structure posted. Click the link to view dive maps in the black band just under the site name.

Duste3/7/2009Rating: 4
Stormy weather caused us to have a bit of rock-n-roll surface swim to the first buoy. Once we dropped down it was peacefully calm, with a gently surge. I believe this was all due to the weather on top, as I have not encountered surge at this location before. The new rock piles were absolutely beautiful. With nearly 20ft of height between the top and bottom of the reef, and the over hanging hex beams the site seemed very large. A few keys to a less stressful dive at this site would be to study the map and take some good compass readings. All 3-reef sites are similar in depth and have a visual look. I was easily confused visually between the 3 different reef piles, and lost track of which pile I was at while looking for critters. I am very thrilled to continue to dive this site and watch the marine life thrive on these reefs.


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