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The Jawbone West, Williamstown

Shore Dive Shore Dive | Shore access Shore access

Ideal For Snorkelling Inside Port Phillip Marine Park - No Fishing Night Dive Site Open Water Rated Reef Dive Site

The Jawbone West
The Jawbone West | © Parks Victoria

Depth: 2 m (6.56 ft) to 6 m (20 ft)

Level: Open Water and beyond.

The Jawbone West, Williamstown diving and snorkelling site lies on the western side of Jawbone Bay and the eastern side of a small promontory known as 'The Jawbone' in Jawbone Marine Sanctuary. This is the most popular snorkelling and diving site in the Jawbone Marine Sanctuary, and it faces south into Jawbone Bay, Port Phillip.

Diving and Snorkelling at The Jawbone West, Williamstown

Zebras & Morwong at Jawbone
Zebras & Morwong at Jawbone
© Phil Watson

The water in Jawbone Bay is shallow, especially at low tide, so best dived at high tide, especially if snorkeller want to explore the intertidal reefs. Among the beautiful things to be seen here are the lush seagrass beds in the shallows.

The site is dominated by many large stones in the water, small caves, and also a variety of algae from the more eastern bay waters. Jawbone is a protected marine reserve, thus marine life abounds here. You can see Dumpling Squid, Eagle Rays, Fiddler Rays, Morwongs, Pipefish, Pygmy Squid, Toadfish, and Zebrafish.

More protected than many sites in the area, so a good site to dive instead when the wind is up a bit. There are many spots to dive here in all directions.

The Jawbone West Dive Site Map
The Jawbone West, Williamstown Dive Site Map | © The Scuba Doctor
The Jawbone West Parking
The Jawbone West Parking
© Google Street View

Location: Mullins Court, Williamstown, Victoria 3016
MELWAY Ref: Page 55 J10

Parking: There is car parking available on Mullins Court, at the end of Rifle Range Drive, Williamstown. From Melbourne take the West Gate Freeway (M1) and turn left onto Melbourne Road (37) and at the end, turn right onto Kororoit Creek Road. Turn left into to Rifle Range Drive and left again into Mullins Court. Before gearing up check out the water. If you see lots of white water, head on home.

Facilities: There are no local facilities for changing or toilets.

Warning: Always go with a buddy and be extremely careful. Make sure you tow a dive buoy with dive flag.

Access: It's about a 100 metre walk in from the car park, down a short track to a black, volcanic, boulder-strewn, sandy beach.

Ideal Conditions: Best with light to moderate offshore northerly to easterly winds, or light onshore south-easterly to north-westerly winds, protected from rain runoff. Best dived at high tide as this allows snorkellers better access to the intertidal reefs. See WillyWeather (Williamstown Beach) as a guide for the tide times and the height of the tide.

Jawbone Marine Sanctuary

Wreckage at Jawbone
Wreckage at Jawbone | © Phil Watson

This site is located within the Jawbone Marine Sanctuary, which is the most northern marine sanctuary in Port Phillip. Jawbone Marine Sanctuary, named after its shape, is located in Williamstown and protects 30ha of coastal waters. The little promontory, west of the beach at Williamstown, has been fenced off from the rest of the world for over 80 years by a coastal rifle range. This unspoiled place is now considered a haven for coastal and marine life right next to Melbourne. It is a great scenic place for children to play too.

The Jawbone Marine Sanctuary begins west of the fishing clubs in Bayview Street, Willamstown, and runs west 1.9 km along the foreshore around the Jawbone to wader beach south of McGuire Crescent. It abuts the Jawbone Flora and Fauna reserve and extends from the high water mark to a maximum of 300 metres offshore.

The sites for diving and snorkelling within the Jawbone Marine Sanctuary are:

Aboriginal tradition indicates that the sanctuary is part of Country of Boon Wurrung people.

More protected than many sites in the area, so a good site to dive instead when the wind is up a bit. There are many spots to dive here in all directions.

Jawbone Wrecks

The sanctuary was used as a scuttling ground for ships that had outlived their usefulness. The exposed location, rocky bottom, proximity to Williamstown and restricted public access made it an ideal place to scuttle wrecks.

Along the west edge of Jawbone are the remnants of some shipwrecks including: Agnes, Carmen, Ester, Macedon, and Salsette. The Kakariki, Orange Grove, and Baldrock also lie nearby, plus there are other unidentified wrecks.

Also not far from Jawbone are the remains of a Vultee Vengeance Aircraft.

Jawbone Bathymetry
Jawbone Bathymetry
Source: Parks Victoria

See also Park Note: Jawbone Marine Sanctuary,
Parks Victoria: Jawbone Marine Sanctuary,
Jawbone Marine Sanctuary Care Group,
Taxonomic Toolkit for the Marine Life of Port Phillip Bay, and
How To Assess Visibility Before Heading To Snorkel Sites In Port Phillip / Western Port — by Simon Mustoe, 20 January 2022.

Jawbone Marine Sanctuary Map
Jawbone Marine Sanctuary Map | Source: Parks Victoria
Jawbone Map
Jawbone Map | © Parks Victoria

You are not permitted to carry a spear gun while snorkelling or scuba diving in Jawbone Marine Sanctuary.

Boon Wurrung / Bunurong country
Boon Wurrung / Bunurong country

Traditional Owners — This dive site is in the traditional Country of the Boon Wurrung / Bunurong people of the Kulin Nation. This truly ancient Country includes parts of Port Phillip, from the Werribee River in the north-west, down to Wilson's Promontory in the south-east, including the Mornington Peninsula, French Island and Phillip Island, plus Western Port. We wish to acknowledge the Boon Wurrung as Traditional Owners. We pay respect to their Ancestors and their Elders, past, present and emerging. We acknowledge Bunjil the Creator Spirit of this beautiful land, who travels as an eagle, and Waarn, who protects the waterways and travels as a crow, and thank them for continuing to watch over this Country today and beyond.


The Jawbone West, Williamstown Location Map

Latitude: 37° 51.948′ S   (37.865794° S / 37° 51′ 56.86″ S)
Longitude: 144° 52.843′ E   (144.880724° E / 144° 52′ 50.61″ E)

Datum: WGS84 | Google Map | Get directions
Added: 2021-02-05 02:45:12 GMT, Last updated: 2022-04-17 18:02:25 GMT
Source: Google Earth
Nearest Neighbour: Jawbone Marine Sanctuary, 129 m, bearing 125°, SE
Jawbone Marine Sanctuary.
Williamstown, Port Phillip.
Depth: 2 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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