Rye Pier

Pier DivePier Dive | Shore access

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

Urgent Action Needed: Rye Pier Access Under Immediate Threat
Please sign this petition to help protect and improve the access of Rye Pier to users of the pier. See http://chng.it/XPGpT8FX42

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

Scuba Dive or Take the Underwater 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 max 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. Built about 1860 to service the lime trade. Points NNE so not diveable in strong N winds. A long walk to the lower landing (50 metres from end of pier). Much better at night as more things come out then. During the day can be fairly sparse.

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 in the tyres, as there are usually plenty of small critters hiding in there, often including some cleaner shrimp willing to give you a manicure.

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

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 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. Heaps of people fishing usually, so stay under the pier where the marine life is.

Watch out for fishing lines and carry a knife just in case. It's advised to stay between the pylons to avoid them.

There is a trail of photographs (known as the Octopuses Garden) attached to the pylons, explaining the various marine life present. It makes for a great snorkelling adventure.

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.

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

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. Though high tide is ideal, you are able to dive it 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: N <15 knots, W <15 knots, S <15 knots, E <25 knots. Not current prone. Better at high tide to get more depth.

Entry/Exit: Entry can either be from the lower landing, 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.

There is a boat ramp nearby, a terrific playground for the children and calm waters with wide beaches for families to enjoy. Opposite is a shopping area 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 half way) 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 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: 2020-08-16 13:19:53 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.

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