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Safety / Signaling Devices

Safety First
Attract attention to yourself, from a humble Whistle, to the more advanced Personel Locating Beacon, we can make it happen.

A standard magnetic compass is a good back up to a GPS. There's no point in replicating, just use your diving compass.

Safety Beacons
Satellite based personal distress, location and tracking beacons. In the event of an emergency these provide the best possible chance of being found. They are very much a last resort and should only be used in situations of EMERGANCY. Unwarranted activation can lead to prosecution.

Strobe lights/torches
They're not a distress signal but will aid your location when used in conjunction with other signals or devices also very handy at night. A good quality depth rated dive strobe light/torches are a necessary for divers, but kayak fisherman can also benefit from the strength, durability and waterproof qualities in such a wet environment.

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Cape Nelson Lighthouse

Reef Dive Reef Dive | Boat access Boat access

Abalone Dive Site Crayfish Dive Site Open Water Rated Reef Dive Site Spearfishing Site

Depth: 6 m (20 ft) to 36 m (118 ft)

Level: Open Water and beyond.

Cape Nelson Lighthouse lies south-west of Portland on Victoria's Discovery Coast. At the tip of the cape is Cape Nelson Lighthouse.

Diving at Cape Nelson Lighthouse

There are a large number of different dive sites in the Cape Nelson area. Some we have heard the names of but don't have the locations for include:

  • Capper's Camp: 5–14M
    This is a local 'secret spot' just short of the tip of Cape Nelson. It is accessed via a dirt track and a long and steep walk to the shoreline. It is mostly used by teenagers who jump off the cliffs into a foreshore limestone gutter to show how reckless youth can be, but you don't have to risk death. Wait instead for calm weather and, while you are waiting, go on a fitness program. The dive probably won't kill you but the climb might. Snorkelling or using a boat is probably easier. The site offers great seaweed, catsharks, shrimp, cuttlefish, octopus, nudibranchs, banded morwong, sea sweep, magpie perch, leatherjackets and wrasse.
  • Yellow Rock: 5–10M
    This shore dive offers an easier entry from a beach to a reef section offering ledges and swim-throughs. The site has a good variety of temperate marine life. It is very exposed to southerly swell and is ordinarily a surf beach. A car park on the cliffs is well signposted and a short walk leads to a series of stairs. Walk in over the sea terrace when the swell is low and swim away from the surf zone. The reef is swell-scoured in close and improves as the water depth increases. Conserve your air for the trip back. The walk back up the cliffs to the car is very strenuous.

Right now we don't have the GPS marks and/or descriptions for these different sites locals may have identified at Cape Nelson. And there may be more. However, if you use your sounder to find structure, you won't be disappointed. The minimum and maximum depths are dependent on the dive site chosen.

As a general area Cape Nelson offers a good variety with sand bottom through to Kelp Forrests and swim throughs. There marine life is prolific, and you have the opportunity to catch Abalone and Crayfish.

Location: Cape Nelson, Victoria 3305

Ideal Conditions: Best dived in good conditions with a low swell with light offshore winds. See WillyWeather (Cape Nelson) as a guide for the tide times and the height of the tide.

Access is by boat from the Portland Harbour, Lee Breakwater Road North Ramp or the Portland Harbour, Lee Breakwater Road South Ramp. The GPS mark should be right on, but use your sounder in the general area to locate the wreck.

Abalone Dive Site
Abalone Dive Site
© Mark Norman, Museum Victoria

Divers have the opportunity to catch Abalone at this dive site. Remember your catch bag, legal abalone tool, current Victorian Recreational Fishing Licence, and abalone measure. Please abide by all current fishing regulations if you intend to catch abalone.

See article-catching-abalone for practical abalone hunting advice from The Scuba Doctor, plus melbourne-abalone-dives for a list of other Abalone dive sites near Melbourne.

Crayfish Dive Site
Crayfish Dive Site | © Ian Scholey

Divers have the opportunity to catch Southern Rock Lobster (aka Crayfish) at this dive site. Remember your catch bag, current Victorian Recreational Fishing Licence, rock lobster measure, and cray tags. Once you get back to the dive boat, or shore, make sure you clip the tail and tag your Crayfish as per Fisheries requirements. Please abide by all current fishing regulations if you intend to catch crays. See article-catching-crayfish for practical cray hunting advice from The Scuba Doctor, plus melbourne-cray-dives for a list of other crayfish dive sites near Melbourne. For tips on cooking your Crays, please see article-cooking-crayfish.

Gunditjmara country
Gunditjmara country

Traditional Owners — This dive site is in the traditional Country of the Gunditjmara people of far south-western Victoria which continues over the state border into a small part of south-east South Australia and is bordered by the Glenelg River to the west and the Wannon River in the north. This truly ancient Country extends 100 metres out to sea from low tide and also includes Deen Maar (aka Lady Julia Percy Island) where the Gunditjmara believe the spirits of their dead travel to wait to be reborn. We wish to acknowledge the Gunditjmara as Traditional Owners. We pay respect to their Ancestors and their Elders, past, present and emerging.


Cape Nelson Lighthouse Location Map

Latitude: 38° 25.977′ S   (38.432945° S / 38° 25′ 58.6″ S)
Longitude: 141° 32.530′ E   (141.542161° E / 141° 32′ 31.78″ E)

Datum: WGS84 | Google Map
Added: 2022-05-17 17:30:16 GMT, Last updated: 2022-05-23 16:15:14 GMT
Source: Google Earth
Nearest Neighbour: Devils Kitchen, 1,370 m, bearing 61°, ENE
Cape Nelson, Portland, Discovery Coast.
Depth: 6 to 36 m.

DISCLAIMER: No claim is made by The Scuba Doctor as to the accuracy of the dive site coordinates listed here. Should anyone decide to use these GPS marks to locate and dive on a site, they do so entirely at their own risk. Always verify against other sources.

The marks come from numerous sources including commercial operators, independent dive clubs, reference works, and active divers. Some are known to be accurate, while others may not be. Some GPS marks may even have come from maps using the AGD66 datum, and thus may need be converted to the WGS84 datum. To distinguish between the possible accuracy of the dive site marks, we've tried to give each mark a source of GPS, Google Earth, or unknown.


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