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Dive Safety
Diving can be dangerous so, dive to your ability, training and experience level.  Please check currents before you dive.

Spearfishing
The diver must be swimming or floating in the water while spearfishing. The use of explosives or bullets attached to the spear ("bang sticks") is prohibited. See Fishing in Washington Rules and Regulations for more information.

Fishing & Shellfishing
Find more fishing and shellishing opportunities, information and regulations

 

For more information
please contact the
WDFW Wildlife Program.

Phone: 360-902-2515
E-mail: wildthing@dfw.wa.gov

 

 
Puget Sound Marine Habitats
To experience the whole array of species that live in the Puget Sound, be aware of the habitats you are diving in.

EelgrassEelgrass
Abundant in many places along the fringes of Puget Sound, Eelgrass blades (up to 3 feet long) ripple in the current and provide a place where salmon, other fish, and shellfish feed and hide.

Kelp BedsKelp Beds
Kelps are one of the many types of seaweed that inhabit Puget Sound. They are the forests of the nearshore waters. They need a solid surface for attachment and are generally found in about 20-60 feet of water. The complex habitat they create is home to a wide variety of fish and crabs.

Mud & SandMud & Sand
Although these flat areas may look like deserts, they are more like productive grasslands. Thriving in sand and mud are swarms of clams, worms and shrimp that get gobbled up by all kinds of fish and crabs. These habitats provide the life- needs for creatures such as gobies, starfish and sea pens, a type of soft coral.

Rocky HabitatsRocky Habitats
Rocky habitats include current-swept walls, solitary boulders, fields of stacked boulders, and aggregates of cobbles and gravel. Rockfish, lingcod, greenlings, sculpins and a unique community of anemones, barnacles, sponge, snails, and other invertebrates live in these habitats.

Photos by Jack Connick

Scuba Diving in Washington
Protecting Marine Habitats

Intro | Eelgrass | Kelp Beds | Mud & Sand | Rocky Habitats

It was serendipitous that the Washington Department of Fish and Wildife (WDFW) had a 30-year-old marine refuge in place when the department began serious work on what refuges could do for fishery management. The Edmonds Underwater Park was first established by the City of Edmonds in response to local recreational divers who wanted to see fish when they dove the site. In 1970, the divers asked the Department of Fisheries to adopt regulations closing the area for harvest, and the site, now titled "Brackett's Landing Shoreline Sanctuary," became the first Marine Protected Area (MPA) in WDFW regulations.

Anecdotal reports indicate the sanctuary had only a few fish when closed, and looked no different from other parts of Puget Sound. Now it is home to large rockfish and lingcod, and diving there is like looking back in time to a Puget Sound before heavy harvest.

This sanctuary has become a destination site to observe what we now call "watchable wildlife" for divers from within Washington as well as from outside the state. The closure also placed WDFW in the forefront of establishing Marine Protected Areas, a concept that has since grown nationally and internationally. The site has become a source of scientific information about the effects of harvest closures.

Low oxygen event in Hood Canal
Underwater video of the September 2006 low dissolved oxygen event in Hood Canal, Puget Sound.
 

Marine Wildlife Guidelines
Marine protected areas prohibit the taking of all species of invertebrates and fishes the MPA’s also offer marine life a refuge from fishing and poaching pressures.

Keep a distance of 100 feet, when encountering marine mammals and remember you are the guest in their home. Investigate some additional marine resources such as books, websites, and originations.

For more information on Marine Protected Areas go to Fish & Wildlife Commission Policies - Policy c3013: Marine Protected Areas.