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

Pete's Southern Maine Regional Dive Site Guide
Nubble Light, Cape Neddick York

This is the gorilla in the room. Any Maine dive guide you read will highlight this dive. The site offers a lot to the diver including significant depth if you want it, a large relatively shallow ledge area with a nice reef feel and a steep wall to dive along. In season public restrooms are onsite and you will be setting up in a paved parking lot. All of this is yours while overlooking America's most photographed lighthouse. The plant and animal life is as good as it gets on a Southern Maine shore dive.

What are the downsides? First and foremost many find the entry and exit challenging. The entry is on a huge granite ledge that slopes into the water. Surface conditions vary with the height of the tide, state of the seaweed growth as well as ice formation during the winter. It is much easier on a high tide and most divers center their outings on high tide. You can follow the rock wall down and it will act as a railing at most times helping you especially on entry. The risk of following the wall down is that waves may be coming into that corner so when you make your break for open water you want to be sure you get out to avoid being carried in for a collision with the rocks. It's not uncommon to see divers wearing kneepads to protect them and their suits.

The parking lot is a counter-clockwise one way. You will want to go around the far end of the lot and park as close to the lighthouse as possible down along the rocks as you head for the exit.. The dive entry is down the left side as you view the site from the park entrance and walk towards the lighthouse. It's a nice stroll down sloping ledges with generally good traction. There are a few steps that most divers can comfortably negotiate unassisted. Bringing your rig down in advance of suiting up is not uncommon. Most divers will do cylinder changes for next dives right down on the ledge.

If you choose to dive the ledge that skirts the island consider making the return trip higher on the ledge. After swimming out at about 40 feet come up to 20 feet or so and enjoy the boulders, nooks and crannies that abound higher on the wall. It's easy to miss all of this since many just reverse the original base of the wall course to get back. The hardest part is judging when and where to cut across to hit the exit.

There is no diving allowed on Sundays, or national or state holidays from April 1 to Oct. 31 or on any holidays between those dates. Additional Information

The site can be crowded and it sometimes likened to being in a holding pattern on the runway as divers give each other time and space to deal with the entry and exit. It's good to avoid Saturday mornings in particular when dive shops from a good part of New England are apt to be there for check-out dives.

I really do enjoy this site whenever I dive there. The entry, exit and distance from my home and work keep it from being a big favorite.

The site is easy to find from route 1A in York Beach village. Watch for NUBBLE LIGHT signs and just follow those. You will be watching for Sohier Park. There is a restaurant (Foxes) adjacent to the park that includes a take-out window. After the dive a stop at Brown's Ice Cream is a treat.

This Dive Site at a Glance:

  • SCUBA: Yes
  • SKIN-DIVE: Yes
  • PARKING: Free
  • TOILETS: In season
  • TIDE: Near high tide
  • SEASONS: All (See text regarding Sundays)
  • EXPOSURE: N
  • ENTRY/EXIT: Varriable
  • FOOD: In season
  • GPS: 43.165909,-70.592657
  • Google Maps accepts GPS points.

The yellow dive is the typical first dive out along the wall that leads to deeper water. The magenta dive will keep you on nice interesting rocky terrain in 20-30 foot depths.

This page created January 2008 **** Updated September 2017