Overview of Titlow Beach

Titlow Beach

USA West


A great place for artifact hunting, Titlow Beach offers pilings, walls and crevices to explore.

Directions: Titlow is found on the shores of the Tacoma Narrows. Head North on Highway 16 from I-5 in Tacoma as if you are heading to Gig Harbor. Just before the ol' Galloping Girdy (The nickname of the previous bridge span-- look it up on the Internet!), exit and take a left on Jackson Ave. Turn right on 6th Street, and wind your way down to the park.


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07/21/2008 Chris Leedle (Avg: 4.08 Review) - Great site to dive if planned in advanced. I used tide charts from www.freetidetables.com and planned dives around high and low slack tides. I brought my son along with me on a business trip to Tacoma so we were able to hit the high slack on Thursday. This was a great dive on a lovely sunny day. The visibility was over 20 feet and currents were really low. We found many fish and crabs around the pilings and my son took some great pictures. The next day we dove the low slack and other than the long walk down to the waters edge this dive was also great. We went out quite a bit farther on this dive and did go slightly deeper, but did not see any new sea life than we did the day before. This trip was a great experience and helped us to refresh our skills.

12/19/2006 Eric 'Biz' Adsit (Avg: 4.38 Review) - Titlow has been astonishing on every one of my dives there. There is a great little restaurant right on the water where you will be parking called Steamers. It is great to do multiple dives and as you wait between dives, you have a place to relax and socialize. Out of respect, before we park in their parking lot, we always ask permission to park their. This is a great shore dive because of the life. If you want to learn about different species of life under the sea, this is a great place to go and learn. I also recommend more than just a team of two divers. Not only are you sharing your experience with more divers, but you are playing it safe because of the current. We finish gearing up and walk down to the water. The air temperature is 32 degrees and dropping so I recommend a dry suit this time of year, but I like my wetsuit. There are a total of 4 of us diving. The newest member to our group hasn't dove since he received his basic open water certificate. In other words, he is real new. We dropped in and followed the yellow rope to the bundle of pilings. The tide was out so we only hit 30 feet at the piling. There was hardly any noticeable current as we journeyed out. On our way we found multiple Sunflower and Molted Sea Stars. There were Kelp and Dungeness crabs everywhere. (Sorry but there is no crabbing or taking of any of the marine plants and animals from Titlow, which is a good thing so there will always be life there.) The White Plumose Anemones are spectacular. Our goal was to swim out and around the bundles of pilings. As we went to the left of the bundle and started to venture out and behind the pilings there were schools of Tubesnout Fish. I was just waiting for our Pacific Harbor Seals to be feeding there but they never came. We swam through the school of fish. I was surprised they were not scared of us. Back home if we sat in the river, the minnows would come and nibble on you. It was just annoying because you had to keep moving in the river. Well these Tubesnout Fish would start nibbling at your suit here and there. If you aren't use to it, the situation might be a little uncomfortable but you are completely safe. After swimming past the school we hit the right side of the piling. The current picked up out of nowhere and we went through the piling pretty quick (it was safe). The current carried us back to the left side of the pilings. So we surfaced and headed back to shore. The water temperature was 38 degrees so we were about to call the dive. We talked it out and noticed the current let up. We were going to swim out and around the single pilings (Bone Yard). As we were at the end, one of the divers noticed a baby Red Octopus hiding in the Kelp. After we watched him scurry and swim off we decided it had been an hour and it was time to warm up. It was a great night dive and our beginner had a time of his life. If you want a place where you will never be disappointed, come over to the dark side, Titlow Night Dive.

11/16/2006 Eric 'Biz' Adsit (Avg: 3.60 Review) - I have just gotten very involved with diving. My buddy and I were bored of Sunny Side Beach; don't get me wrong as it is a great place to hang out, but we wanted something different. So we look up Titlow, and read a few reviews. It was a new place and a night dive, so it should be interesting. The visibility was poor from all the rain and run off at Sunny Side, but we gave it a try anyways. We didn't know the area, but we got in and were going to go around the pilings. The current would take us straight to the bundle of pilings. Well that didn't work. I was actually getting mad and frustrated from drifting and getting too far from my partner. I noticed that my partner started shining his light everywhere trying to locate me, so I swam to him and he looked a little worried but not panicked. So we came up to talk and he asked me repeatedly "Did you see it", but couldn't really describe what he saw. He just knew it was about his size and swam very fast. I was about to call the dive and we swam to the shore. We talked about it for a little bit longer and decided we didn't want to waste good air. So we started diving in the shallows until we came across a yellow rope. The rope was in the direction of the Bundle of Pier Pilings, so If you walk under towards the under belly of the dock/patio and line the pilings up towards the Bundle of Pilings, that is where you want to go in. I took lead. I was about 8-10ft from the end of the rope when I saw the massive amounts of White Plumose Anemones. And then I saw it. I am not going to lie; it startled me on the first pass. The second pass I could see clearly it was the 2 Pacific Harbor Seals. After searching around, we noticed they were doing laps around us. It was different and worrisome because it was a new experience, but at the same time it seemed like they were just keeping an eye on us checking us out, almost comforting. So this dive that was about to end because of current and frustration, turned into a very awesome experience. I have been to Sunny Side Beach, Les Davis, and Delco Wall and I have to say when the current it not bad at Titlow Park, it is an awesome dive site for all levels of diving. I am still searching for the two Wolfies. Check out Titlow; it will be worth it.

08/08/2006 Mike 'Banjo' Honstain (Avg: 3.66 Review) - I am a beginner at scuba diving and it is still always magical to me. On Wednesday, August 2nd 2006, we entered the water at about 6:30 PM, perfectly at slack. This was my 3rd dive at Titlow. The previous time was during a bit of current and it cost a lot more energy to move against it. As with both previous dives, the visibility was somewhat limited, (partly my fault, still trying to get the hang of neutral buoyancy), but we saw the usual white anemones on the pilings, starfish galore, numerous crabs, and a few other fish as well. Still have yet to meet those famous eels. Have not seen any octopus so far either. What made this dive so great was that there were 2 harbor seals that came over to check us out. They just appeared out of nowhere and looked us right in the eye as if to say, "Hey, wanna play?" We watched them for a couple of minutes until I guess they got bored with us and scooted off. The image of them keeps popping into my thoughts and I want to visit with them again soon. Steve L., my dive buddy, said he had dived here well over a hundred times and this was the first time he had seen harbor seals here. We spent about 35 minutes at this location and it was another wonderful dive! I will definitely be back again, many times.

05/04/2005 Stacey (Avg: 4.06 Review) - This is always a great dive - you just need to time it right to avoid some gnarly currents. Just out past the 2 pilings (past Steamers) you will find George and Felicia - a pair of friendly wolfies that love it if you bring them herring. Lots of octo dens in the surrounding reef. The ferry dock is cool, especially at night as it is covered in plumose anemones. There are several other wolfies out surrounding the dock. Big bottlefield out past the ferry dock at about 60'. Good place to find baby octos hiding in the bottles. Great Northwest dive.

03/07/2005 Ed Kenney (Avg: 3.53 Review) - Another Northwest shrine to the plumose anemone! The site doesn't look like much, but even the shallows teem with life. The one time we disregarded the tide tables here, we had to return by knife in the sand, rest, knife in the . . . so beginners beware. Never did find the wolf eels, but every time we circumnavigated the abandoned dock, there was something different to see. So nice to have a site like this so near the city. The amount of lingcod in the shallows, nudibranch deep and shrimp everywhere surprised me.

07/04/2004 Janna Nichols (Avg: 4.33 Review) - Excellent site for all levels of scuba divers. I often take my Pacific NW Fish and Invertebrate ID students to this site whenever possible (currents willing) because of the abundance of fish and invertebrate life here. As is the case with many Pacific NW sites, there are more fish here in spring/summer/early fall than other times of the year. Watch the currents! Use the North End Tacoma Narrows CURRENT (not tide) charts to plan your visit. Plan your dive around slack current. Spend much of your time exploring in and around the pilings, and if the current exchange is SMALL that day, you can attempt to head south towards the very small wall to see the wolf eel. Depth is shallow, and diving on a higher tide will prevent a walk into the water over slippery rocks. So, check both the tide AND current charts for this site when planning your dive. We have seen unusual things at this site we've never seen at any other site. (like Pile Perch displaying interesting mating behaviors and colors)

03/15/2004 Franco (Avg: 4.02 Review) - I really enjoyed this shore dive besides not finding a restroom and my dive buddy almost getting hit by the train. It was fun swimming around and thru the old ferry dock and saw schools of fish and lots of plant life, I even found a UK flashlight too. The current was pretty strong making it very difficult to swim south where I hear there's wolf eels. I'm a beginner and didn't find it too difficult. I plan on returning there soon.

01/12/2004 Lopaka (Avg: 3.40 Review) - This is a great dive. Can be tricky with the current and surge, but this is nothing like hovering in the current with the plentiful fish and just hanging out. The sea life is wonderful and there are a few wolf eels if you know where to look.

09/07/2003 Larry 2 (Avg: 4.30 Review) - Protected Marine Preserve, lots of life. Abandoned Ferry Dock teaming with life. Wolf eel dens to the south scattered throughout small reefs. Parking-fair. Showers, restrooms and tavern on-site.

10/22/2002 Michelle K (Avg: 3.97 Review) - Tittlow Beach has a very easy entry and decent parking. Showers are provided in the summer, but bathrooms are a bit of a walk through the park. Currents can be very strong and this dive really should be done at slack for beginners. Great Dive!!

08/09/2002 Jeff Yoon (Avg: 4.15 Review) - I dove there for my advanced open water education. It was pretty cool

03/29/2002 Max (Avg: 3.49 Review) - The pilings are absolutely covered in live, mostly large anenomies. There is a barge just to the south west of the pilings, but it is mostly decayed now. There are many other odd items to be found in the vicinity, such as toilets and a bottle field. There is a rock ledge system to the south, and it is rumored that you can find wolf eels there, but I haven't found any there yet. Around the pilings you are likely to find rock fish, cabazon, ect... We even found a medium sized ling cod by the barge. This is another dive that doesn't have much for depth, thirty to thirty five feet max around the pilings. This is an enjoyable site, but dive it at slack or during smaller and slower exchanges, as it is very close to the narrows.

11/20/2001 Steve (Avg: 4.26 Review) - Easy shore entry, great vis (by northwest standards), and good facilities. We were there on Nov 17 and saw flounder, cabezon, small lings, 3 different kinds of crabs, sea stars, etc. Stinky Monkey award to the open water class that was there that day. They swam into everything including other divers, turned the vis into less than a foot, and mangled plant life growing on the pilings.

10/28/2001 Kim (Avg: 4.18 Review) - Great place to dive. Lots to see.

10/14/2001 Scott Van Hoosen (Avg: 4.05 Review) - Skill level: Easy. Titlow Beach is a fun, easy dive in Tacoma, WA. There was a ferry dock here, but all that is left are two rows of pilings. They are completely covered with white plumose anemone, and are very beautiful. This site is abundant with life, including crabs, starfish, sunflower stars, alabaster nudibranchs, kelp, sculpin, a few lingcod, and occasionally octopus. I've also seen one small female wolf eel off to the left (south). The facilities at this site include a nice deck with benches to gear up on, a couple of tables, and an outdoor shower for rinsing equipment post-dive. It's a short walk to the beach, where you enter the water. Straight out and slightly to the right, you'll see the two rows of pilings. Off to the right, there are a few pilings, and I've heard there are some bottles way out to the right, but I've never checked. Off to the left, there are a few very low walls, where I spotted the lone female wolfie. The pilings lie in 25 to 30 fsw, while the walls to the left are in about 30 to 40 fsw. Dive this site around slack times. Use tides for The Narrows in Tacoma, then adjust them per tables in the book Northwest Shore Dives.


Site Photos

(click photo for a larger version)



Entrance at Titlow Beach 

The park has a small circle to quickly unload gear if you want to gear-up at the beach.


 Map     Sat
GPS: WA1402


Parking at Titlow Beach 

Parking is close enough that you can walk your gear from your car.




Overview at Titlow Beach 

A small park area makes it a nice place to off-gas while preparing that second tank!




Overview at Titlow Beach 

This is a great view of what remains from the old ferry dock fire.


 Map     Sat
GPS: WA1405


Entry at Titlow Beach 

Entry is very easy. Swim beyond the outer pilings to reach the ledges.




Aerial at Titlow Beach 
(click photo for details)

Remember, you are in the thick of the Tacoma Narrows, so review your tide tables carefully!

Last Verification: July, 2001  


Diver Averages for  Titlow Beach  (1=worst, 5=best)

Average Site Condition

Ease of Shore Entry:  4.56
Bottom Conditions:  3.94
Reef Conditions:  3.44
Animal Life:  4.44
Plant Life:  4.00
Facilities:  3.63
Solitude 3.13
Roads:  4.13
*Site Average:  3.97

Average Enjoyment Level

Snorkel:  2.63
Beginner Scuba:  3.94
Intermediate Scuba:  4.06
Advanced Scuba:  3.69
Night diving Scuba:  3.94

Number of reviews for this site: 16


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