Please note that this
web site is based on the
Long Island Shore Diver book. The book is not a complete listing of all New Jersey beach
sites but rather a guide to the most popular dive sites. We would like to ask divers to contact the
publisher with any additional information so that we may
update this text.
reading this text, keep in mind that some locations are
known by different
names. We have listed most of these names in the index,
Directions, parking, dive conditions, or even the
legality of diving a particular site
change. Please use the information contained within this
book only as a basic guideline, and let good diving
skills, common sense, and courtesy lead you
to enjoy Long Island's excellent beach
Over the years
divers have developed or applied techniques and used certain
pieces of equipment to make the sport easier, more enjoyable and
are a few tips that you might find useful:
A non-diver who
comes along for the trip will not only be able to help divers with
equipment, but should be informed as to the complete dive plan and
of action if divers do not return on schedule. This
beach buddy also should be
informed of the
diver OK and distress signals.
beaches, a hand-held marine radio or CB will be very useful in
of an emergency.
leave word at home where you will be diving.
A small first
aid kit to manage minor cuts and bruises should be assembled
and brought on every dive.
Sand causes the
most aggravation to beach divers, as it seems to get
everywhere, such as into wet suits, regulators, "O" rings, etc..
To reduce the
amount of sand getting into your gear, either suit
up out of a car or bring a
tarp to stand on. I also would suggest bringing a bucket and
filling it with water before the dive. This way, after the dive,
sand can be
quickly removed from your feet by stepping into the
bucket before stepping
back onto the
Some wet suits,
especially rented ones are often very difficult to get into. A
trick that was shown to me by my instructor was to mix up a
solution of 75%
water and 25% liquid soap and keep it readily
available in a small squeeze
solution not only helps divers slip into their suits, but cleans
suit as well.
On cold and
windy days, especially while diving in the winter, use your car or
other structure as a wind barrier while suiting up or un-suiting.
thermos filled with warm water, and pouring some into your gloves
wet suit boots will help take the chill off after a cold-water
chemical heat packs also will come in very handy
when trying to get rid of a
Once in the
water, especially when diving a new location, take a compass
bearing straight out from the beach. This basic navigational
the diver to
swim out and enjoy the dive, while always knowing at least the
the shore is in. Divers can then swim on a reciprocal course that
should bring them back to shore without ever having to surface for
directions. Once practiced, this underwater navigation technique
should become almost second nature while diving. As another
navigational aid, divers should count
the number of
kick cycles it takes them to swim out. With this count, divers
then know the approximate number of kick cycles it will take to
return to shore,
not compensating for any current.
If a boat
engine is heard while you are submerged, lie flat on the bottom,
possible, next to a big rock until the sound fades.
Do not surface to see where
the boat is
until you are sure it's safe.
A diver can
flash his light, or tap with the butt of a knife on his own tank
get the attention of his buddy, or other divers.
Buddies who dive together should attempt better underwater
communications through hand signals or by
their regulators. Talking through your regulator takes some
but after awhile you and your buddy will understand what is being
said. I have communicated this way in zero visibility when hand
signals are of no use.
If you should
locate a new wreck, or site that you want to return to, swim to
the surface and while staying directly over the site, take compass
bearings of two objects on the beach. Use objects that are
permanent, easy to see, and far
enough apart to
create about a 90 degree angle.
compass course called triangulation is very accurate. If no
is available, line up two objects on the beach. For example, a
telephone pole lined up with the left side of a house. Whatever
bearings or land ranges are, draw out a little map.
This way, years down the
line, you will
still be able to find the same spot without having to rely on
When trying to find any of the wrecks off the coast
most divers usually find it
navigate out with a compass. If the wreck is not located, the
surface to check their land bearings. Recently,
diver Dan Lieb told me another
uses to locate a wreck. Dan recommends swimming out on the
surface. The diver holds his dive flag that has a weighted line
weight can be made of sinkers and does not have to
be too heavy. While on
the surface, the
diver swims out to the site. Once he passes over the wreck the
weighted line bounces and catches into the wreck. The diver then
swims down and secures his flag line to the wreck and begins to
explore. Mr Lieb reports that this method saves on air and allows
divers to use land ranges while
swimming out to
or any diver for that matter, should never shine a dive light
directly into anyone else's eyes. Doing so will ruin or reduce
Night diving can
be very productive, especially when searching for lobsters. Divers
should bring at least two lights plus attach a cylume light stick
regulator yoke. This chemical light stick enables
dive teams to stay in contact
with each other
by monitoring the cylume light stick's glow.
to shore can be made relatively easy by leaving a blinking
similar to a road hazard light, on shore before entering the
light then gives divers a distinct point to
navigate back to after their dive.
Believe me, at
night the entire coast could look remarkably similar, and this
light should prevent some long walks back to your entry point.
definitely the best time to catch the nocturnal lobster. These
crustaceans also can be found during the day by
searching through holes that
are found in
jetties and wrecks, etc. A strong, narrow beam dive light is the
best type of light to use when trying to see deep inside these
Divers in search
of dinner often ignore mussels, but they shouldn't be, as they
are very tasty.
Collect mussels from mid-water where they are
constantly by the tide. They will be clean and
tender. Mussels clinging to
poles near the
surface in the sunlight will not be as tender. Mussels picked
from the bottom will be full of sand or mud.
should only be done in clear water. Always make sure you can
see the full distance of your shot. For example, don't use an
eight-foot cord in four-foot visibility, as you could accidentally
hit another diver. To spear a fish,
without making any quick movements, and try for a shot just
the head. If hit in the stomach, the fish could spin off the
if hit in the head, the spear could just bounce
EXPLORING NEW DIVE SITES
This book has by
no means listed every beach dive on Long Island. I have
all the sites, which I have been to over the years, or have had
of. There are still miles and miles of unexplored
waterfront along both the north and south shores.
The first thing
to do when trying to locate a new dive site is to decide your
dive objectives. For example, if you are only interested in
you must look
for rocks, a wreck, a jetty, or some other obstruction where they
are known to make their home. If your objective were to find old
good place to
look would be at old fishing piers, or anywhere else that people
would drink and discard bottles. If you were
interested in underwater
photography, you would, of
course, want marine life and good visibility.
Let's use the
example of a diver who wants to find a new bottling site. First
get some old marine charts or maps. You will be
amazed at how much
information they contain.
Look for dump sites, ferry piers, etc., and mark them down.
Next, look on an up-to-date street map for basic directions.
Then you have to do some leg work, and drive to the sites
to see if they are accessible.
Sometimes there won't be any parking, or a site will be located
property, but when you do get in the water at a new site, it can
the north shore offers a better beach dive. Close to shore is a
bottom, where visibility can be very good, and
rocks are found scattered all along the coast. The south shore's
inland bays have more of a silty mud
inlets and jetties on the south shore do have sand bottoms and
are nice, but most of them have strong currents. Also, a lot of
beach-front is private property, or public
beaches, which makes them hard to
other new dive sites, which may open in the future, include
additional state parks. Currently, with the
exception of Caumsett
Park and a few others, state parks do not allow scuba diving.
However, state owned lands
might soon be
open to the sport diving public. These waterfront parks will
offer divers more unexplored coasts for fun and recreation.
after you pick your dive objective, a little research or
usually yield more rewards than trial and error.
TIDES AND CURRENTS
It is extremely important
that divers understand the fundamentals before diving in any
type of current. Currents are caused by tides, wind, weather and
waves. These mass movements of water can sometimes be powerful
and should not be underestimated.
On the north
shore of Long Island divers will mostly notice a mild tidal
This type of water movement may not be very
swift, but divers must still make a mental note of the general
direction so they can compensate when navigating back to shore.
Divers also should try to start their dive by swimming into or
against the current. This way, at the end of the dive, the
current will assist the
dive team in
returning to their entry point.
On the north
and south shore, when there is an inlet involved, or whenever a
large volume of water is moving through a narrow
space during either a Flood
or Ebb Tide,
the force will be strong. When diving in or around areas that
have Rip Currents, divers should realize that the current will
disperse after it
through the funnel caused by the narrow space. If a diver was to
get caught and carried out to sea, it would be for short
distance. A diver who
being carried off should not fight to swim against the current,
since this would be a hopeless waste of energy. He should swim
parallel to the
across the current, until he gets out of the rip or the current
disperses. Then he can easily make his way to the beach without
fight against the current's force.
planning a dive in an area that has a strong current, it is best
to dive at Slack Tide. Slack Tide simply means that for a short
time there is little or
Slack occurs in the time lapse when the tide is changing from
incoming to outgoing, or from outgoing to
incoming. Slack Tide can last from five minutes to two hours,
but will usually last for about a half-hour at most of
The best dives
are usually done at High Slack because the incoming flooding
tide has just brought in clean ocean water.
During Low Slack, visibility is usually not as good due to the
outgoing, Ebbing Tide, which brings out mud and debris from the
With the above
information in mind, divers should refer to tide tables when
planning their dives. Tide tables can be found in
most fishing stores or in the
Make sure the table used is for the correct area since Slack
at one location will not occur at the same time
Keep in mind that this is only a brief
explanation of tides and currents. For
information, refer to an advanced dive manual, or participate in
an advanced diver-training course. Remember: plan your dive and
For anyone that likes to hunt for artifacts I
highly recommend an underwater metal detector.
With a metal detector divers can find anything from
brass and coins to lost ,jewelry. The other
that any popular swim beach now
great beach diving location. Even if the site offers little to
attract divers. For example, a
have nothing but a barren sandy
little marine life. However, buried
sand could be old coins and gold
also have an advantage over most
hunters who only wade chest deep into the
Photo by Jozef
water. Divers can, of course, swim out to the
lucrative spots, in water too deep to stand.