Please note that this
web site is based on the
New Jersey Beach 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 New Jersey's excellent beach
the years local beach divers have developed or applied
techniques and used
certain pieces of equipment to make the sport easier,
more enjoyable and safer.
are a few tips that you might find useful.
non-diver who comes along for the trip will not only be
able to help divers with
equipment, but should be informed about the complete
dive plan and plan of
if divers do not return on schedule. This beach buddy
also should be well
informed on all of the diver OK and distress signals.
remote beaches, a hand-held marine radio or CB will be
very useful in the case
Always leave word at
home where you will be diving.
small first aid kit to manage minor cuts and bruises
should be assembled and brought on every dive.
causes the most aggravation to beach divers, as it seems
to find the crevices
every piece of equipment such as wet suits, regulators,
0 rings, etc. To reduce
amount of sand in your gear, either suit up in the car
or bring a large plastic
to stand on. Another good idea is to bring a bucket and
fill it with water before
dive. This way, after finishing your dive, sand can be
removed from your feet
stepping into the bucket before stepping back onto the
tarp or into your car.
Some wet suits,
especially rented ones are often very difficult to get
into. One trick
is to mix up
a solution of 75% water and 25% liquid soap and keep it
readily available in
a small squeeze bottle. This solution not only helps
divers slip into
their suits, but cleans the suit as well.
cold and windy days, especially while diving in the
winter, use your car or
structure as a wind barrier while suiting up or
thermos filled with warm water, and pouring some into
your gloves or wet
suit boots will help take the chill off after a cold
water dive. Reusable 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, always
take a compass bearing
straight out from the beach. This basic navigational
information allows the diver to swim out and
enjoy the dive, while always knowing at least the basic
direction the shore is in. Divers can then swim in on a reciprocal
should bring them back to shore without ever having to
surface for directions. Once practiced, this
technique should become almost second nature while
helpful navigational aid is to count the number of kick
cycles it takes to swim out. With this count divers then
know the approximate number of kick
cycles it will take
to return to shore, but remember that the kick cycles do
for any changes in current.
If a boat engine is
heard while you are submerged, lie flat on the bottom,
if 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.
diver can use a flashing light, or tap with the butt of
a knife on his own tank to
get the attention of his buddy, or other divers. Buddies
who dive together should
underwater communications through hand signals or by
talking through their regulators. Talking takes some
practice, but after awhile you and your buddy
will understand what is being said. We have communicated
in zero visibility when hand signals are
of no use.
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 that are easily
recognizable on the beach. Use objects that are
to see, and far enough apart to create about a 90 degree
double compass course called triangulation is very
accurate. If no compass is available, line up two
objects on the beach. For example, a telephone pole and
the left side of a house.
Whatever your land bearings or land ranges are, draw out
a little map, and
this way, years down the line, you will still be able to
find the same
spot without having to rely on memory.
to find any of the wrecks off the coast most divers
usually find it easier to navigate out with a compass.
If the wreck is not located the divers surface to check
their land bearings. Recently diver Dan Lieb told us
another technique he
uses to locate a wreck. Dan recommends swimming out on
the surface. The diver holds his dive flag which has a
weighted line attached.
The 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
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.
Dan reports that this
method saves on air and allows divers to use
land ranges while
swimming out to a site.
divers, or any diver for that matter, should never shine
a dive light
directly into anyone else's eyes.
Doing so will ruin or reduce their night
diving can be very productive, especially when searching
for lobsters. Divers should
bring at least two lights plus attach a cylume light
stick to their regulator yoke. This chemical light stick enables dive teams to stay in
other by monitoring the cylume light stick's glow.
Navigation back to shore can be made relatively easy by
leaving a blinking light
similar to a road hazard light on shore before entering
the water. This 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.
is definitely the best time to catch the nocturnal
lobster. These tasty
crustaceans also can be found during the day by
searching through holes that are
in jetties, wrecks, etc. A strong, narrow beam dive
light is the best type of
to use when trying to see deep inside these small caves.
Mussels are often ignored by divers in
search of dinner, but they shouldn't be, as
they are very tasty. Mussels should be
collected from mid-water where they are
constantly by the tide and they will be clean and
tender. Mussels clinging
poles near the surface in the sunlight will not be as
tender, and mussels picked
the bottom will be full of sand or mud.
Spear fishing 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, swim
slowly without making any quick movements, and try for
a shot just behind the
head. If hit in the stomach, the fish
could spin off the spear, while if hit in the head,
the spear could just bounce off.
NEW DIVE SITES
This book has by no means listed every beach dive in
New Jersey. We have listed
the sites which we have knowledge of. There are still
miles and miles of
unexplored waterfront along the Jersey shore.
first thing to do when trying to locate a new dive
site is to decide on your dive
objectives. For example, if you are only interested in
catching lobsters, you must
for either rocks, a wreck, a jetty, or some other
obstruction where they are known to make their home.
If your objective is to find old bottles, a good place
to look would be at old fishing piers,
or anywhere else that people would drink and
discard bottles. If you are interested
in underwater photography, you would, of
course, want marine life and good
Let's use the example of a diver who wants to find a
new bottling site. The first
thing would be to get some old marine charts or maps.
You will be amazed at how
much information they contain. Look for dump sites,
ferry piers, lighthouses, old
lifesaving stations etc., and mark them down. Next,
look on an up-to-date street
for basic directions. Then you have to do some leg
work, and drive to the sites
see if they are accessible. Sometimes there won't be
any parking, or a site will be located on private
property, but when you do get in the water at a new
site, it can be quite rewarding.
To recap, after you
pick your dive objective, a little research or
planning will usually yield more rewards than trial
is extremely important that divers understand the
fundamentals before diving
any type of current. Currents are caused by tides,
wind, weather and waves.
These mass movements of water can sometimes
powerful and should not
most sites divers will encounter a mild tidal current.
This might not be to swift,
divers must 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 any current. This
way, at the end of the dive,
current will assist the dive team in returning close
to their entry point.
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.
diving in or around areas that have Rip Currents,
divers should realize that
current will disperse after it has passed through the
funnel caused by the
narrow space. If a diver was to get caught and carried
out to sea, it would only be
short distance. A diver who finds himself being
carried off should not fight
swim against the current, since this would be a
hopeless waste of energy, but
should swim parallel to the beach, or across the
current, until he gets out of the
or the current disperses. Then he can easily make his
way to the beach without
having to fight against the current's force.
Whenever 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
current. Slack occurs in the time lapse
when the tide is changing from incoming
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 New Jersey sites.
best dives are usually done at High Slack because the
incoming flooding tide has just brought in clean ocean
water. During Low Slack, the visibility is usually
not as good due to the outgoing, Ebbing
Tide, which brings out any mud or debris
from the inland waterways, especially
after a heavy rain.
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 daily
paper. Make sure the table used is for the correct
area since Slack Tide at one
location will not occur at the same time as another.
Keep in mind that this is only a
brief explanation of tides and currents. For more
information, refer to an advanced
dive manual, or participate in an advanced diver
training course. Remember: plan your
dive and dive your plan.