Notes about things regarding scuba diving that I have come to know.

Pete's Southern Maine Regional Dive Site Guide
Kettle Cove, Cape Elizabeth

This site is a beginners dream come true and while it's nothing dramatic it can be a real nice dive once you know where to go. The location is an extension of Crescent Beach State Park and is open to the public without admission. It features a paved parking lot, mowed grassy space, and well kept state style pit toilets and some nice walking trails. A boardwalk leads you down to the sand beach entry. The property is what is termed a "State Land".

This place will get packed on summer weekends and can even get crowded on lovely weeknights. There is a grassy promenade that juts out to the mouth of the cove. It's the sort of place where folks will bring a blanket, bottle of wine, cheese & crackers and watch the sun set over Crescent Beach. There will also be fishermen, kayakers, dive instructors and competitive swimmers making practice swims from here. In addition to the dive it's just a darned nice place to be. Richmomd Island can be seen across the water.

To get there you want to get out onto route 77 in Cape Elizabeth. Watch for the Kettle Cove take-out and ice cream building which makes it easy to spot Kettle Cove Road. Take Kettle Cove Road to the end.

This site can be enjoyed at any tide but a higher tide never hurts. It's a fairly sheltered spot that can be diveable when others are not. Being contained it can be slow to clear when disturbed. There is also a stream that brings fresh water in from the middle of the beach and the brackish water can disturb visibility.

Be advised that since this property is a state land it is patrolled by a ranger and state park diving rules apply. Be sure to have you C- Card with you since it is a condition of being issued your free permit. They don't always ask to see the C-Card but why chance it? Rules do not permit solo diving. The permit should be displayed on your dashboard.

The best dive here actually will take you into the next cover to the left. Enter the water in Kettle Cove and surface swim out and towards the left side of the cove. When the water is deep enough and you are ready drop down and head diagonally for the left side of the cove. You can expect to traverse a big field of eelgrass. Eventually the bottom will meet up with the base of the slope coming from the wall of the cove. Swim out along the base of this slope keeping the cove bottom to your right. Continue out along this course until you reach a depth of about 18 feet. Now make a 90 degree left hand turn and rise over the ledge that juts out between the coves. This will probably entail an ascent of about 6 feet. You will now drop down into the left hand cove where you can bear left and work your way along lots of ledges and crevices that run out perpendicular to shore.

When it's time to turn around just head back towards the ridge that divides the 2 coves. We will usually follow this out to a depth of 25 feet or so before cresting what's left of the ridge and follow a return heading to Kettle Cove beach. Don't be surprised if you run into the base of the ledge that runs down from the grassy promenade. If you do then just bounce off of it to the right and continue in to the beach. When you see the eelgrass you will know you are almost back. Beware of kayaks when surfacing, you can't hear them coming.

There are plenty of things to see here including Lobster, Crabs, Starfish, striped bass in season, flounder, sea ravens, sculpin, Pollock and more.

If you mention this site to someone and they say "boooooring" I suspect they went straight out and explored the immediate mouth of the cove, they missed the best stuff. It is not uncommon to encounter dive classes at this site.

I have enjoyed many nice skin-dives here as well. Either along the left side of the cove or on a lower tide way over to the right where some ledges will emerge and give you lots to explore. The left side can light up real nice in the late day sun.

This Dive Site at a Glance:

  • SCUBA: Yes
  • SKIN-DIVE: Yes
  • PARKING: Free
  • TOILETS: Yes
  • TIDE: Best mid tide & higher
  • SEASONS: Any
  • EXPOSURE: SW
  • ENTRY/EXIT: Easy
  • FOOD: None
  • GPS: 43.561738, -70.218338
  • Google Maps accepts GPS points.

Here is a view of the parking and entry.

This shows the dive we like to make over to the left cove.

This page created January 2008