Overview of Keystone Jetty (Fort Casey)

Keystone Jetty (Fort Casey)

USA West


The underwater park at Keystone Jetty is found just South of the Keystone Ferry terminal in the Fort Casey State Park. A small parking area with picnic tables and facilities makes for a nice two-tank location.

Directions: About 30 miles North of Seattle on Whidbey Island. The location makes for a great loop drive for a leisurely day. The North access to the island is via Anacortes, and the South access is via the Mukilteo Ferry, just West of Everett. About in the middle of the Island, just South of Coupeville, head West on Wanamaker road (highway 20) to the Keystone Ferry landing.


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03/30/2015 Jeff Miller (Avg: 4.35 Review) - This is one of the best sites I have done in the PNW. Dove it March of 2015. The Jetty is full of life!!! Tons of large fish and plant life. The jetty dive is a easy dive just be careful when you get out towards the end, the tide will pull you. We dove the jetty first then did a drift dive from the pilings back to the jetty. Like another person said, there is a very large rope that leads from the deepest piling that faces the jetty, all the way to the jetty. The rope runs along the bottom held down by cement blocks. Great drift dive when the tide is going, just don't stray from the rope and you will be fine. Great spot to get two dives in.

07/18/2013 Jennifer from Ferndale (Avg: 3.86 Review) - I dive this site when minimal tide exchanges are present. We did the jetty for the first dive and did a drift from the pilings to the jetty for the second dive. There is a line along the bottom which runs from the upper northeast piling to the jetty. Follow this and do not go any deeper or you will overshoot your location of the jetty and end up in the ferry lane. We found 3 octos on the jetty last weekend.

02/03/2013 Larry 3 (Avg: 5.00 Review) - I dove this site for the first time 50 years ago. It was a good dive then. I just did a dive there today 2/3/2013.

08/17/2012 Tammy from Snohomish (Avg: 4.58 Review) - The facilities at this site are fabulous. There are nice flush toilet restrooms with a changing area and a shower. There is an outdoor shower for rinsing gear. There are a bunch of picnic tables for getting gear ready to dive and a ton of parking. It does cost $10 or a Washington Discover Pass, but this facility is worth it. We were very fortunate the last time we were there, the vis was around 35 feet. The pilings are awesome, life is everywhere in there! We were very happy to spot a large Clown Dorid! There were fish every where, Ling Cod, Kelp Greenling, Cabezon, Buffalo Sculpin and Mossy Headed Warbonnet. Also many types of Anemones and Sea Stars. The jetty also offers a very nice wall dive. With many invertebrates, octopus and wolf eels. We love this site.

08/25/2011 Peter (Avg: 4.74 Review) - Did 2 dives here on 20 Aug. 11. Vis was not greatest, but as always the diving was a blast. Did the jetty first and tons of life, ling-cod, rockfish and everything else. When we came out the other group said they saw a GPO, we didn't. Did the piling the second dive and didn't see much in the way of lingcod but lots of rockfish. Kelp was thick every where. We did the dives at high tide to make getting in and out easier. Last but not least, don't forget your parking pass. The rangers were out in force. The rangers seemed to be getting on peoples case. $10.00 for the day purchase there. Or go online and get a year pass for $30.00 plus $5.00 for user fees, etc. Https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/wa/license/select

08/01/2011 Anonymous (Avg: 4.06 Review) - Did 2 great dives here. First a night dive along the jetty. Vis was not great, but the dive was! Lots of life, rat fish, ling-cod, rockfish… watch out for the kelp, it got a bit thick in places. Be sure if your planning a night dive to notify the park and get a after hours permit 24 hours in advance, it is only $25 and it will save you a parking ticket, fine and an annoyed park ranger waiting for you on the beach. Second dive in the pilings. VERY cool, again lots of life. Octos and wolf eels live there. Current can get pretty nasty, so unless your intention is to do a drift dive, go at slack tide. Spent a little more time that I would have liked fighting the current… At high tide the outer edge is still pretty shallow somewhere around 45 ft, makes for a nice long dive. At low tide it can be very shallow, great for free diving/snorkeling. I will definitely come back and do both dives again.

12/04/2010 Ryan from Oak Harbor (Avg: 4.28 Review) - This was the third and fourth dives I've done here and it was great. There were quite a few fish, lingcod and greenlings mostly, but there was also a school of Tube Snout hanging around during our drift dive.

02/22/2010 Peter (Avg: 4.92 Review) - Dove the jetty on 20 Feb. 10. H2O was 44 degrees, out side temp was 55 degrees and sunny, max depth was 57' vis was 25'. Got half way out the jetty and the current grabbed me and pulled me toward the end of jetty. I grabbed a rock and was immediately twisted 180 degrees. I carry a pony tank and the current pulled the regulator right out of its holder attached to my BC. Clawed my way back in and decided to bag it for the rest of the day. This can be a current intense dive spot. About at the 19' mark ran into a GPO (Giant Pacific Octopus) out in the open. It was about three feet long. I surprised it as much as it did me. It inked at me and headed toward the rocks. It then inked again as it went behind and under a rock. I followed it and spent the next ten minutes watching before I got too cold and ended my dive. As always this is a great place to dive.

02/02/2010 Ted Ramsden (Avg: 3.26 Review) - WOW.... what else can I say....... Tons of life and lots of current on this dive ! WOW.

01/22/2009 Russ from Lynnwood (Avg: 4.07 Review) - We dove here in December 2008, with snow on the ground, high winds, and very choppy on the surface. The vis was not great, but it was still a very good dive. Lots of life and we had a very close face to face with a big sea lion. He was interested but not pushy. W saw a wolf eel, too, but the sea lion made the dive. Good changing facility. Can't wait to go back.

04/22/2008 Peter (Avg: 4.35 Review) - This is where I did my first dive two years ago and it's still incredible! I did it last weekend, May 08. Tons of plumose anemones, greenling, lingcod, algae, crab, and bull kelp. I get a kick out of swimming around the bull kelp during high tide. I dive this in all current conditions. If the tide is pushing one way I dive the jetty, if the other way I do the pilings. I drift my way from the pilings to the jetty if conditions are correct, then it's a easy walk to the car. I glide a few feet over the kelp and keep a sharp eye out for the kelp crab. This site is really busy on Saturdays, but only a few divers show up on Sunday, at least that's been my experience. For the nondivers, my wife included, there's Fort Casey. Lots of activities for the kids and adults alike.

04/14/2008 Kevin (Avg: 3.47 Review) - This was my first time diving this site, and it was incredible! Amazing amounts of plumose anemones. Also saw painted greenling, lingcod, and tons of beautiful algae. Dive this with minimal predicted current only! We dove it this weekend on a 0.04 knot predicted current and it was very manageable, but have heard tales of rip-roaring currents. Only dove the jetty, not the pilings.

04/04/2008 Anonymous (Avg: 4.23 Review) -

08/20/2007 Ed Alves (Avg: 3.78 Review) - I just went down to Keystone Jetty in Fort Casey, Washington. Shore diving there was excellent!!!!! To those who have not been there, it is definitely worth the drive (we drove down from Vancouver BC). It is a shallow dive with more than a ton of marine biodiversity to look at. Perfect for a 2-3 dive day trip. Be cautious of the current at the end of the jetty.

05/24/2006 Mike Snow (Avg: 4.06 Review) - Been at least a dozen times. I just did two dives there last weekend, and I always enjoy it. Pay attention to slack times as the current can be a bear. I usually go a little heavy on weight so I can bottom-crawl if needed, especially when diving the pilings. Depth at the end of the jetty is roughly 55' and viz varies from 10' to 30'. If you stay between 20' and 40' it makes a neat wall dive.

02/17/2005 Ed Kenney (Avg: 3.99 Review) - My dive buddy has 100+ dives on this site and I have a half dozen. In addition to the comments below, I'd add that the kelp at the beginning of the dive in mid to late summer is beautiful. The piled jetty wall of rocks supports a huge field of plumose anemone, quite beautiful. The large lingcod, unfortunately, are not adequately protected here - fishing is allowed, even though it's an underwater park. The chance to see grunt sculpin alone would draw me here. Is it the best shore dive in the Pacific NW, as a respondent below suggests? No, that honor goes just north to Deception Pass.

09/05/2004 J G (Avg: 3.70 Review) - Even though Keystone is a small park it still has lots to offer. There are three dive sites on this one location. First is the Jetty, second is the pilings, and third is the drift dive. One thing people do when they come here is go to Octopus hole and nothing else. They miss so much more around 15 feet. Next time you go diving try staying at 20 to 30ft and go to the end of the jetty and I promise you, you will see a lot more than you think was there. If you into micro this is a great place to come and practice your skills, current sometimes is an issue. But, if you take care to watch them you will have a great dive. The Drift dive is more advanced, but it's fun to do when the currents are just right. Just remember there is lots to see from 10 to 25 feet range. Don't go to the bottom and spend all of your time there. The Keystone Jetty has lot to offer from the novice to the advanced.

01/05/2004 Casey Bettendorf (Avg: 3.83 Review) - As a beginner I felt the dive was great, espeacially for it being October. I plan to return.

12/07/2002 Mr. G (Avg: 3.80 Review) - There is lots to see if you take your time and look. Plant live is great around 40 to 60 feet. Take a dive light and look into every little hole and you will see lots of animals. Water can be a bit cold at times so dress warm (if possible). Watch the tide tables and you will be OK. Best time to go diving is mid-week, or during the holiday season when everyone else is spending time with their families. Need to remember that the boats come in and out of there, so you need to be careful and not get pulled around the jetty and be in the boats lanes. GOOD DIVING!

01/22/2002 IthickS (Avg: 3.70 Review) - Great dive site, but the currents can be a little tricky when you first dive the site. The currents seem to always go the same way (towards shore for the first half the jetty and aware from shore for the second half of the jetty). I would highly suggest diving on slack for newer divers.

01/04/2002 Jim Morrison (Avg: 4.22 Review) - I believe this is officially called the Fort Casey Underwater State Park. Many think this is the best shore dive in the Northwest (excluding the San Juan Islands of course). The jetty is over 200 feet long and consists of very large boulders. To say the current can be challenging is an understatement. Depths are about 60 feet maximum at the end of the jetty. Wind chop can be severe. I would select a day when there isn't much tidal exchange and dive at slack. Because of the high current here it is a great place to dive. Vis. can be quite good and the marine life is plentiful and varied. The jetty rocks create lots of neat caves to look into. I wrote that we saw at least one wolf eel, lots of china rockfish and large perch in the shallower areas. I would recommend a "tour" going all around the Jetty. Lots to do shore side (hikes, gift shops, beaches) on the island and at Fort Casey for non-divers. As for directions: From the Seattle side take the Mukilteo Ferry and drive north on Whidbey Island about 21 miles on St. Hwy. 525. Then take Hwy. 20 about 3 miles to Keystone. The Jetty is adjacent to (and south of) the Keystone-Port Townsend ferry dock. Of course from Port Townsend you take the ferry to Keystone and you are like there already. Bring a U/W light and ferry fare to get home, driving around over the Deception Pass Bridge is a long, but scenic way to drive back to Seattle.

11/09/2001 Curt Johnson (Avg: 3.59 Review) - This is an octopus haven. I've seen as many as 10 on a single dive and never fail to find a couple. Add in wolf-eels, lingcod, rockfish, several species of greenling, encrusting sponges, anemones, urchins, it's a marvelous spot. With abundant and convenient parking, restrooms and showers nearby, it attracts a lot of divers. I have seen big skates and harbor seals there. A marvelous view of the Olympic Mountains, ferries, and passing ships make surface intervals pleasant as well. Hazards ? The currents, especially at the end of the jetty can provide a challenge. A strong south wind can provide some spectacular surf.


Site Photos

(click photo for a larger version)

 Map     Sat
GPS: WA2401


Entrance at Keystone Jetty (Fort Casey) 

The park entrance is to the left, with a small restaurant to the right.


 Map     Sat
GPS: WA2402


Parking at Keystone Jetty (Fort Casey) 

The amenities are a little sparse, but the scenery makes up for it!


 Map     Sat
GPS: WA2403


Entry at Keystone Jetty (Fort Casey) 

The entry is an easy walk over the smooth-stone beach. The jetty in the background offers the most interesting underwater sights.




Sign at Keystone Jetty (Fort Casey) 

The signs give a quick education as to what can be found underwater.

Last Verification: July, 2001  


Diver Averages for  Keystone Jetty (Fort Casey)  (1=worst, 5=best)

Average Site Condition

Ease of Shore Entry:  4.32
Bottom Conditions:  4.00
Reef Conditions:  4.00
Animal Life:  4.41
Plant Life:  4.09
Facilities:  4.14
Solitude 3.09
Roads:  4.09
*Site Average:  4.08

Average Enjoyment Level

Snorkel:  2.73
Beginner Scuba:  3.45
Intermediate Scuba:  4.00
Advanced Scuba:  3.91
Night diving Scuba:  3.68

Number of reviews for this site: 22


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