Rye Pier

Pier DivePier Dive | Shore access

Ideal For Snorkelling Inside Port Phillip Night Dive Site Open Water Rated

Depth: 1 metre (3.3 feet) to 6 metres (20 feet)

Scuba Dive or Take the Octopuses Garden Snorkelling Trail

Rye Pier
Rye Pier | © The Scuba Doctor

Level: Open Water and beyond.

What To Expect:
Rye Pier is an excellent day and night dive site with a maximum depth at around 6 metres. This is the place to go if you want to see Seahorses.

Rye Pier is a L-shaped pier approximately 500 metres long. It was built in about 1860 to service the lime trade. Points North-North-East so not diveable in strong Northery winds. A long walk to the lower landing located 50 metres from the end of the pier. Much better at night as more things come out then.

Cuttlefish, Rye Pier
Cuttlefish, Rye Pier
© Sam Glenn Smith

The pylons are encrusted with marine growth so make sure to stop and have a good look around these. Also, take your time to have a look inside the tyres, as there are usually plenty of small critters hiding in there, often including some cleaner shrimp willing to give you a manicure.

Rye Pier is full of life and different every dive. You can find Australian Fur Seals now and again, coming in from the seal colony on the Channel Marker. Spider Crabs in their thousands at the right time of year, Leatherjackets, Goatfish, Octopus (Sand, Keeled, Blue, Maori), Calamari, Dumpling Squid and Bottletail Squid in their dozens, Nudibranchs, Stargazers, lots of Seahorses (Pot Belly and Short Headed), schools of Pike during summer, Puffer Fish and Stingrays.

Big Belly Seahorse, Rye Pier
Big Belly Seahorse, Rye Pier
© Sam Glenn Smith

There are parts of Rye Pier that must be nurseries as during certain times there are many baby critters here. You will see large Stingrays fairly often and you can see crowds gather on the pier to watch them swim around. There is usually heaps of people fishing, so stay under the pier where the interesting marine life is.

Watch out for fishing lines and carry a dive knife, or a dedicated line cutter, just in case. It's advised to stay under the pier between the pylons to avoid the fishing lines.

Octopuses Garden Snorkelling Trail

Octopuses Garden Snorkelling Trail, Rye Pier | Credit: David Bryant, Seapics

There is a 200-metre-long snorkelling trail of underwater photographs known as the Octopuses Garden Marine Trail attached to the pier pylons, explaining the various marine life present. It is a self guided trail where you can expect to see schooling fish, pylons saturated with colour and life, seahorses, crabs, rays and even the odd penguin.

Signs mounted on the pylons indicate special features of the area and the marine animals to look out for. Seven underwater signs on the left hand side take you out, while seven on the right hand-side bring you back to the shore.

Some of the underwater signs are now missing or very faded. However, it still makes for a great snorkelling adventure. Depending on the tide the depth varies from half a metre to three metres on the trail.

Elsa's Reef

Elsa's Reef, Rye Pier | Credit: David Bryant, Seapics

Elsa's Reef
Elsa's Reef | © Phil Watson

There is also Elsa's Reef, a small artificial reef about 60 metres north from the end of Rye Pier in 6 to 7 metres of water. There is a sign and pickets leading to Elsa's Reef from the middle of the arm of the pier at the end that runs east. There is usually a large octopus hiding in the box and juvenile fish around. Nice for something different! Be careful when venturing from the pier as boats and jet skis are quite often above. Make sure you take a dive flag or SMB with you if you head that way.

Diving Rye Pier

Rye Pier Dive Site Map
Rye Pier Dive Site Map | © The Scuba Doctor
Yelowfin Pike, Rye Pier
Yelowfin Pike, Rye Pier | © Phil Watson

Ideal Conditions:
Southerly winds and high tide. Not diveable in strong Northery winds. Though the high tide is ideal, you are able to dive Rye Pier on any tide.

See WillyWeather as a guide for the tide times and the height of the tide.

Weather Required: The following winds will be okay: Northerly <15 knots, Westerly <15 knots, Southerly <15 knots, Easterly <25 knots. Not current prone. Better at high tide to get more depth.

Entry/Exit: Entry can either be from the lower landing near the end of Rye Pier, or straight off the beach. Straight off the beach means crossing a large sandbank. When entering or exiting via the beach it's better to use the east side of the pier where there is a pathway with handrails to help you make your way between the beach and the car park.

Shore East Entry, Rye Pier
Shore East Entry, Rye Pier
© The Scuba Doctor Australia
Shore West Entry, Rye Pier
Shore West Entry, Rye Pier
© The Scuba Doctor Australia

Be sure to take out a dive flag as there is often boat traffic. Over the summer holidays be very careful of PWC's (jet skis) as they come in very close to the pier and very quickly (despite rules and regulations). Boats often come in and out to the lower landing. Be careful when entering and surfacing!

You can exit from the lower landing, but often a shore exit is nice as there is plenty to be seen south of the lower landing. It's usually where we find many of the very cute seahorses.

Parking: Lots of foods options here, plus a toilet block, and in winter plenty of car parks.

Rye Pier Carpark
Rye Pier Carpark | © The Scuba Doctor

Other: Public berthing is available at Rye Pier for a maximum of 48 hours (vessels to be attended at all times), Other restrictions are detailed on Parks Victoria signage.

The popular Rye boat ramp is nearby. The Rye Beach area is a terrific playground for children and calm waters and wide beaches make it great for families to enjoy. Opposite Rye Pier is Rye shopping strip with many eateries, Hotel and boutique shops.

Rye Pier is also close to The Scuba Doctor Dive Shop. So please drop in and catch up with us for air fills before and/or after your dive.

More information...

Shipwrecks at Rye Pier

Rye Pier Wrecks
Rye Pier Wrecks, © The Scuba Doctor

The wreck of the Eivion lies to the east of Rye Pier, in about 3 metres. It can be spotted from up on the pier (about halfway) as a dark patch. It is often home to many nudibranchs and rays. You can find shrimp and a variety of small fish. Something nice to change things up or to head to on a second dive.

There are also two unidentified dark patches on the eastern side of Rye Pier. These dark spots are clearly visible on Google Earth. Both sites lie on a clear sandy seabed with a maximum depth of 2 metres. Both sites are accessible via the shore or the pier as well as by boat. Both sites are heavily overgrown with weed, making it difficult to distinguish features.

The patch closest to the west side of Rye Pier is at
Latitude: 38° 22.010′ S   (38.3668332° S / 38° 22′ 0.6″ S)
Longitude: 144° 49.293′ E   (144.82155° E / 144° 49′ 17.58″ E)
This appears to be a mound of basalt rocks (not dressed) and is typical of a ballast mound from a ship.

The second patch is 110 metres to the west at
Latitude: 38° 22.012′ S   (38.3668666° S / 38° 22′ 0.72″ S)
Longitude: 144° 49.221′ E   (144.82035° E / 144° 49′ 13.26″ E)
The remains of the wreck appear to consist of some frames and planking and a small pile of green rounded ballast stones. From the size and shape of the frames, the wreck appears to be the bow section of a wooden vessel approximately 40 tons.

While the wreck is currently unidentified, there are two possible vessels listed in the Victorian Heritage Database — Adieu and Barbara. Adieu (Heritage Council Victoria: Adieu) was a 2 masted ketch, built at Gravelly Beach, Tasmania in 1877 and was thought to have participated in the lime trade. The vessel was small, possibly just over 15 tons gross. It was wrecked somewhere near Rye on 3 September 1882 and abandoned. The other alternative is Barbara (Heritage Council Victoria: Barbara), a two-masted schooner involved in the lime trade, Tasmanian-built and 16 gross tons that was recorded as being wrecked near white cliffs in Rye..

Caution: Care needs to be taken if you plan to visit the sites of these shipwrecks, especially those west of Rye Pier. These are high traffic boating areas. For your own safety, you must use a surface dive flag.

The sand in this part of Port Phillip is highly mobile and there may be more of the wreck underneath the seabed.

Latitude: 38° 21.968′ S   (38.366125° S / 38° 21′ 58.05″ S)
Longitude: 144° 49.378′ E   (144.822961° E / 144° 49′ 22.66″ E)

Datum: WGS84 | Google Map
Added: 2012-07-22 01:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2021-01-19 01:10:59 GMT
Source: Google Earth
Nearest Neighbour: Eivion, 114 m, bearing 154°, SSE
Depth: 1 to 6 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.

Suunto D5 at The Scuba Doctor Dive Shop