TopKayaker.Net: Guide To Kayak Diving

Kayak DiveKayak Diving by Tom Bergendahl

Dive sites, distances and flexibility never previously possible

The beginnings of my love of kayak diving were spawned by one to many crowded dive site experiences. I am not sure if it was Foley cove, Cathedral Rocks or just Cape Ann sites in general. I started to realize that most of the easily accessible sites were either dived before and it was silty or stirred up, or that the easily found lobsters had already been taken prior to me getting there.

I also loved boat dives, but didn’t love the part about having to guess which day might be great in terms of weather and the fact that my deposit would be kept if I thought the weather was bad, but the captain wanted to go. Picture: Carl Thien w/ Satan Rock, Salem Sound in the background

Kayaks provide the necessary gear transport, site access and flexibility to dive where you want, whenever you might be able to get out. After learning the basics of tethering down the dive gear, planning the logistics, and anchoring, it is only a matter of deciding which unspoiled spot you want to dive.

Several of the less popular off-shore sites that I have explored have been absolutely spectacular. Among them are Children’s Island, Cormorant Rock and Satan Rock in Salem sound. A trip out to the Rockport Breakwater this past summer was rewarded with 30 – 40 foot visibility. It was what I still think of as one of my top 5 or 10 dives of the past 25 years.
Satan Rock

Your dives and dive sites are limited only by your ability to think of places to go and your physical conditioning.

Yes, I have dived Halfway Rock from my kayak, but I think I will make every effort not to do it solo next time. Other places that dive kayaks can get you to include: Shag Rocks off Little Brewster, a.k.a., Boston Light, Egg Rock, East Point and Shag Rocks (Nahant), Halibut Point, Rockport, etc. Picture: Satan Rock, Salem Sound

The kayak also makes a great catching platform for Fort Wetherill, Rhode Island tropical fish collecting. One of the only trips or sites that I wouldn’t choose to attempt is the Isles of Shoals. They are about 10 miles round trip.


If you are a “new to kayak diving” diver, my recommendation is to keep the first outing very easy. The less gear, the better…a.k.a., no cameras. I will usually go to Marblehead Rock which is a 10 – 15 minute paddle.

A couple of others are: keep the 1st few times simple, try out a site without all the dive gear and have a plan which includes your friend/family/spouse/etc., knowing where you are going, and when you plan to be back. They should know who to call like the Harbormaster, Coast Guard, etc., in the event of an emergency. Picture: Carl’s picture of me w/ 10 – 15 lb. lobster….way too big to keep caught July 15, 2012 on Satan Rock, Salem Sound

It is a really fun adventure!!! Give it a try.

About the Author: Tom has been diving since 1971. He was certified as a PADI Divemaster in 1991 with a PADI Kayak Diving specialty in 1995. He was also certified in Cavern and Intro to Cave diving at Ginnie Springs, FL.  Tom grew up & initially learned to dive on freshwater lakes in Indiana, canoeing Minnesota's & Canada's Quetico Boundary Waters National Park as a teenager.  He absolutely loves fresh & saltwater, & especially diving for lobster & scallops. He is the father of 2 teenagers & is married, he boasts, to a wife who understands & appreciates his love of the ocean. 

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