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Portsea Pier

Pier Dive Pier Dive | Shore access Shore access

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

An Idyllic Spot for Diving and Snorkelling

Portsea Pier
Portsea Pier | © The Scuba Doctor

Depth: 1 m (3.28 ft) to 7 m (23 ft)

Level: Open Water and beyond.

Portsea Pier lies between Police Point (to the west) and Point Franklin (to the east) jutting out in a northerly direction into the waters of Weeroona Bay, Port Phillip from the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria. Located approximately 95 kilometres south-west of the Melbourne CBD, it's a popular location for divers, snorkellers, dive schools, macro photographers, night divers, or anyone who just wants a shallow, relaxing dive. Portsea Pier is L shaped and is approximately 300 metres (985 feet) in length, with 3 metres of water at its head.

Portsea Pier is one of the five most dived in Melbourne. Great for training (very busy in the summer months) and always an abundance of marine life. Very popular for seeing Weedy Seadragons!

Diving and Snorkelling at Portsea Pier

Weedy Seadragon, Portsea Pier
Weedy Seadragon, Portsea Pier
© Sam Glenn Smith

Under Portsea Pier there is plenty of light as the pier is only about 4 m (13 ft) wide, with a bottom consisting of mostly sand with patches of kelp and seagrass. At the very end of the pier, a large area of seagrass and kelp can be found. It's here you can quite often find the elusive Weedy Seadragons. But beware of departing and arriving boats, as this is a public pier and the Portsea Ferry arrives regularly.

All sorts of interesting creatures from, small crabs and stars to the occasional Southern Blue-ringed Octopus, shrimp, guppies and blennies on the pylons. On the bend in the pier schools of Bluespotted Goatfish, Weedy Seadragons, Sea Hare and Nudibranchs.

Portsea Pier
Portsea Pier | © Phil Watson

There is not a lot of marine growth on the pylons of the pier. This is not a dive to be rushed, typical dives here can last well over an hour, so take your time and have a good look around.

Portsea Pier is great for night dives. If you are doing this dive at night, watch out for squid jig fisherman, and stay under the pier itself away from their lines. Speaking of fisherman, because it's such a popular spot to fish, you will find plenty of lead, sinkers, knives, jigs and other bits and pieces easily. Always carry a suitable dive knife and/or line cutter so as to be able to cut yourself, or your dive buddy, free of any entanglements.

This is not just a dive for the novice, divers of any level can enjoy this dive. With a dive shop within a few minutes walk, it makes it a great dive site.

The pier is self navigable by the pylons. There are Southern Fiddler Rays (aka Banjo Sharks), Weedy Seadragons, Puffer Fish (as always), Biscuit Sea Stars, soft corals and sponges. And for those who like to scavenge there are a few old tyres the left of the pier once you hit the parallel shore part of the pier. Many creatures have been found in those old tyres and old bottles to collect.

There are many scuba divers who think Portsea Pier has been somewhat ruined as a dive site by the Port Phillip channel deepening programme carried out by the Port of Melbourne in 2009. Since the dredging, the swells at Portsea Pier are more frequent and more intense. Indeed, the once lovely, sandy Portsea Beach disappeared during the year after the dredging.

If you're around for a second dive here, there is also Portsea Pier West Reef about 50 metres to the west (left) of the pier. Here you will find young fish and little schooling fish, along with some small critters.

There is also Portsea Pier East Reef about 50 metres to the east (right) of the pier. Here you will again find young fish and little schooling fish, along with some small critters.

Many scuba divers leave from Portsea Pier to head out on boat dives with the dive charter operators that operate from Portsea Pier. When they get back, many divers like to drop in for a pier or reef dive to use up their remaining air.

The site is ideal for multiple dives due to the nearby facilities. There are toilets located in the park just before the pier, as well as BBQs and cafes.

Portsea Pier Dive Site Map
Portsea Pier Dive Site Map | © The Scuba Doctor

See also, Portsea Pier... in "Shore Dives of Victoria" by Ian Lewis, 3rd edition pages 104–105.

The 33 metre deep Portsea Hole lies about one kilometres north of Portsea Pier. Some intrepid divers have tackled Portsea Hole as a shore dive from Portsea Pier, but this is not recommended due to the high risks involved.

Shore West Entry, Portsea Pier
Shore West Entry, Portsea Pier
© The Scuba Doctor Australia

Location: Point Nepean Road, Portsea, Victoria 3944
MELWAY Ref: Page 156 F2

Parking: Free parking after 6 pm at Portsea Pier around 50 metres from the pier with good street lights over your car. During the day and summer, the car parks are hard to get with most being 1 to 2 hour limited.

Safety First: Always go with a buddy and be extremely careful. Be mindful of the boat traffic here as it can often be quite hectic, particularly in summer. Never swim in the inside area of the pier for this reason. Always use a dive foat with dive flag.

Entry/Exit: Good from the shore on the west (left) side where there is a path down onto the beach. You can do a giant stride from the lower landing about halfway out, or just about most other places deeper out on the pier.

There are several exits, including the shore, up the ladder on the lower landing, or if you're up for it, a climb up any of the ladders along the pier, though they aren't short!

Lower Landing, Portsea Pier
Lower Landing, Portsea Pier
© The Scuba Doctor Australia

Be extremely careful around the lower landing as there are boats coming and going frequently, including local dive charter boat operators.

Ideal Conditions: Light ofshore southerly winds and high tide. Be mindful that since the channel dredging there can be a fair bit of surge if the site is dived during a running tide. See WillyWeather (Portsea Pier) as a guide for the tide times and the height of the tide.

Portsea Pier is just a 15-minute drive from The Scuba Doctor Dive Shop. Please drop in and catch up with us before and/or after your dive.

More information...

Spearfishing is illegal within 30 metres of any pier or jetty and in Marine National Parks. See Spearfishing Laws.

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.


Portsea Pier Location Map

Latitude: 38° 19.107′ S   (38.318444° S / 38° 19′ 6.4″ S)
Longitude: 144° 42.803′ E   (144.713389° E / 144° 42′ 48.2″ E)

Datum: WGS84 | Google Map | Get directions
Added: 2012-07-22 09:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2022-04-15 14:10:19 GMT
Source: Google Earth
Nearest Neighbour: Portsea Cray Reef, 178 m, bearing 45°, NE
Portsea, Mornington Peninsula, Port Phillip.
Depth: 1 to 7 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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