The south jetty crab dock at Florence is a good place to go diving if you’re bored of the north jetty dive sites along the Siuslaw, don’t want to go play in the mud at Woahink Lake, and aren’t feeling like doing the outer parts of the south jetty. Crabs are usually pretty plentiful here although crabbers and fishermen up on the dock don’t usually enjoy divers underneath them when they’re trying to get some fish or crabs. You can link this dive site up with the other dive sites along the south jetty if you want to do some drift diving and this site is very protected from storms out in the ocean meaning that, as long as you’re okay with bad viz, this site is accessible most of the time.
This is a great site for SCUBA divers when the conditions are lousy on the north jetty or further out on the south jetty. Being so far into the Siuslaw Bay, it makes for a well-protected dive site from the worst of the winter storms that often blow out the other dive sites along the Siuslaw. The south jetty crab dock is also a good place to go crabbing and fishing although you should steer clear of fishermen and crabbers on the surface. It’s not a bad idea to have a friend stay on the surface to help smooth over any tensions with top-side anglers and crabbers.
Florence, Oregon is just over the bridge.
Special Directions to Site:
Heading south from Florence, after you cross the bridge over the Siuslaw River, turn right (west) onto South Jetty Road. There should be signs for the south jetty county park and day use areas. Bear to the right onto Sand Dunes Road and follow it until you see signs for the crab dock and south jetty beach 6 day use area.
There is some parking right by the dock. If this is full, just up the road there is a much larger parking area. There is a day use fee here so be sure to pay it or get the appropriate yearly pass before parking.
The jetty runs roughly north-south with a very calm inner bay area to the west of the jetty and a mostly calm southern area south of the jetty. To the east and north, the jetty is exposed to the Siuslaw River so current becomes much more of a factor. If you hit this site at the wrong time, you can get sucked out along the jetty or pushed up into the bay. However, if you’re smart about it, you can turn this into an awesome drift dive.
Be mindful of other users of the site. Recreational crabbers and anglers can get pretty mad if they think you’re stealing their catch underwater.
Entrances and Exits:
There are a lot of really good entrances and exits at this site. On the map above, we starred the absolute easiest entrances and exits. However, you can hop into the water just about anywhere you want. If you really want a jetty scramble, you can do that. Otherwise, there are plenty of easy entrances on sandy beaches. If you enter from the northern parking lot, you’ll be in very shallow water for a while but otherwise all of these entrances and exits are in deeper water.
This is a salt water dive
This is a shore dive.
Except at high and low tide, the current can really rip along the eastern side of the jetty where the deepest part of the Siuslaw River channel is located. If you’re doing a drift dive, this is great. If not, it’s a good idea to stay on the west side of the jetty so you’re not getting pushed around by the water.
There never is much surf or surge here. We haven’t seen any big waves except when a boat passes by. In general, this is a pretty benign dive site, and especially when considering that this is on an Oregon coast jetty!
In good conditions at high tide, you can hit 20 feet of viz on the south jetty crab dock. However, if there is a bunch of silt coming down the Siuslaw River or if there’s a big storm out in the ocean, viz can go down to 5 feet at times. Usually it’s around 15 feet here.
The south jetty crab dock is impacted by both the water pumping out of the Siuslaw River and by the water out in the Pacific Ocean. If there is a big spring runoff event with a bunch of snow melt, then you might see 40 degrees. It can get up to about 60 F on the western little bay area in the summer when the weather is warm and the sun has been out for a few days. Normally you’ll probably find around 50-55F water temps here.
Best Time of Year:
Any time of year is a good time to check out the south jetty crab dock.
On the east side of the jetty and near the northern tip of the jetty you’ll sometimes find 25-30 feet of water. On the west side of the jetty, you’ll be in around 15 feet of water at high tide.
Suggested Special Training:
Recently certified open water divers can successfully dive this site. If you’re going to do a drift dive, you should have drift diver specialty training.
Difficulty of Dive:
We rate this as an easy dive unless you’re doing drift diving or if you hit the site when the tide is ripping.
Distance of Walk to Entrance:
Depending on where you park and where you enter, you might have between a 5 foot and a 500 foot walk to your entrance.
Surface Swim Length:
If you enter up by the north parking lot, you’ll end up with a 200 foot surface swim to get to deeper water. Otherwise, the other entrances don’t really need any surface swims to get to the good diving.
Special Site Notes:
Dive this site at high tide for the deepest water you can get at this site. Especially on the west and south sides, it gets rather shallow. Be careful of the current in the river channel. It can go from zero to ripping in just a few seconds.
Be courteous to other users of this site. There are a lot of people who go crabbing and fishing here. It’s not a bad idea to have a friend stay on the surface and smooth over any tensions with above-water site users.
It’s a good idea to carry a good dive knife or line cutter. There can be quite a bit of lost monofilament at this site. Getting tangled in fishing line sucks but if you have a good knife, you can get yourself free.
Closest Local Dive Shops to Get Air Fills and SCUBA Gear:
You have a long way to go for a dive shop or air fill. There is a by-appointment-only air fill station up in Depoe Bay and another down in Port Orford. Otherwise, head over the coast range mountains to Eugene where there’s a full service dive shop.
Nearby Restaurants We Like:
There is a lot of good food in old town Florence along the waterfront.
Nearby Places to Camp and Diver-Friendly Hotels:
There are a lot of county, state, and federal campgrounds in the area that are great for tent camping or for an RV. We’ve based out of a few of the campgrounds around here to go diving and haven’t been disappointed.
We haven’t tried out any of the hotels in the area so please let us know if there’s a SCUBA diver friendly hotel nearby that you like.
What Other People Have to Say About This Site:
Please write in the comments below your experiences with this dive site!