Porteau Cove is a Provincial Marine Park, and a terrific scuba diving spot. This diver’s ‘playground’ is a favorite of many locals. Its easy beach access, man made reefs, and wall dive make it an ideal dive spot for divers of all levels. In 1981 Porteau Cove was established as BC’s first underwater park. The water is fairly shallow until you reach the reef, and there are 3 sunken ships to explore. The largest ship, the Nakaya, is a former WWII minesweeper, and sits about 90ft down depending on the tide. Most of the man made reef and the other two smaller vessels sit about 30-60ft down. Aside from the ships, there is a ‘jungle gym’ made of iron bars, and tires which attract a myriad of aquatic life. BC Parks has a great dive map, that shows the location of the 3 shipwrecks, as well as other points of interest. There are over 100 species of marine life in the Cove, including octopi, ling cod and plumose anemone.
Photo by andy_c on Flickr
A series of man-made reefs and [three] sunken vessels provide excellent scuba diving opportunities. Depths vary from 6m to 18m (20′ to 60′). Be cautious of changing tides and strong in and outflow winds. Penetration of vessels is not recommended. The diving area is marked by a series of marker buoys. Various fascinating marine life has established itself throughout the dive area. Harvesting or harassment of marine life is prohibited within the park’s marine foreshore. Diving from a boat is prohibited within the park boundary. There is a diver’s building located within the park which provides cold showers and a change area. These showers are turned off during the summer months because two outdoor showers are provided for the same purpose. There are steps that lead down to the water’s edge that are located in the main parking lot. Please use proper etiquette when changing into and out dive gear in the parking lots, and avoid gear sprawl that inhibits vehicular traffic. Commercial diving such as providing instruction and guiding is prohibited unless authorized by a Park Use Permit.
Some of the drawbacks of Porteau Cove are its popularity (especially on weekends) and the sometimes poor visibility. Porteau Cove is located 38km North of Vancouver. Simply head North on the Sea-to-Sky Highway, and just after you pass Lion’s Bay, go about 10km until you will see the exit signs (I believe there is now a big overpass you cannot miss).