Shore dives are often under-rated. There are many stunning shore dives, indeed, two have been voted in the top ten dives of any in the world. The best shore dives list according to our readers is below.


Know better a better shore dive? Cast your vote here.

1. The Liberty, Bali, Indonesia

The wreck of the Liberty sits on a black sand slope, almost parallel to the beach and is only 30 m offshore. She lies between 9 and 30 m of water and is totally encrusted in fabulously coloured anemones, gorgonians and corals. The wreck is 120 m long and is pretty broken up so you can’t enter it, but you can still see the guns, toilets, boilers, anchor chain and such like. There is some confusion as to the history of the Liberty. Many people refer it as the Liberty Glo, but this is a different ship which sank off the coast of Holland. The difficulties probably arise as the ship had several designations during her life. The US Navy Museums site, tells us that she was originally the USS Liberty (1918), then the SS Liberty and finally the USAT (United States Army Transport) Liberty. On 11 January 1942 she was torpedoed by the Japanese submarine I-166.

The USAT Liberty is located in Tulamben, a small village on the northeast coast of Bali.

USAT Liberty
USAT Liberty. USAT Liberty. Photo credit: Shahar Shabtai/Shutterstock

Read more about diving the USAT Liberty

2. Navy Pier, Western Australia

Extending 300 m from shore, the T-shaped structure is 300 m wide, including two outlying “dolphins” (platforms for larger ships to tie up to). Although a very defined and somewhat compact site, you could spend 5 days diving there and not be bored, particularly at night. On any dive there are lots of nudibranchs and flatworms, eels, woebegone and white tipped sharks, octopuses, lion and scorpion fish, stargazers, and the usual smaller finned friends. Sometimes you’ll come across absolutely huge rays dozing in the sand.

Woebegone Shark
Woebegone Shark. Photo credit: John Turnbull (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Read more about diving Australia and Navy Pier

3. President Coolidge, Vanuatu

The President Coolidge is fully protected by law and both it and the surrounding seabed has been designated a Marine Reserve. The wreck is huge and needs several dives to do it justice. The ship started life as a luxury ocean liner and broke several speed records on her trips to Japan from San Francisco. During World War II she became troop carrier for the American Army. In 1942 she hit mines on the way into Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu. All but two of the men got safely off the ship before she sank. She now lies on her side between 17 and 70 m, bow to stern.

President Coolidge
President Coolidge. Photo credit: J.F. Newman

Read more about diving the President Coolidge

4. El Bells to the Blue Hole, Dahab, Red Sea

At El Bells dive down a narrow crevice to a chimney, open at one side. At 26 m you pop under an arch and out onto a wall dive. An excellent entrance. Along the wall look out into the blue on your left hand side. The wall reaches the Blue Hole, which you can enter at 7 m. The hard coral is splendid outside the Blue Hole: a carpet of colours and textures. Swim round the Blue Hole and exit onto the shore and to the Bedouin cafes.

Red Sea Wall
Red Sea wall. Photo credit: Garry Frazer

Read more about diving Dahab

5. Silfra, Iceland

Silfra comprises a narrow crack between the American and the European continental shelves – a freshwater dive with astonishingly clear water. At 2-4 oC you need a dry suit.

The Silfra Dive
Photo credit: David Ramsey, Magmadive

Read more about diving Iceland

6. Hilma Hooker, Bonaire

Lies on the sandy bottom of a beautifully reefed slope, near Kralendijk. This is a large wreck with sponges, beautiful coral, terrific sea fans and loads of fish. A dive with something for everyone.

In 1984 customs officials discovered almost 12 tons of marijuana on the Hilma Hooker. The captain and crew were arrested and the ship moored at the pier. However, she was in a very poor state of repair and the authorities were worried that she might sink, causing a shipping hazard. Dive operators started campaigning for the ship to be scuttled to attract dive tourism. The ship was moved to between two reefs, over 30 m of water. Whether by design or accidently, she began to list and a few days later sank.

Diving the Hilma Hooker by Lester Knutsen

Read more about diving the Hilma Hooker

7. Inland Sea and Blue Hole, Gozo

The Inland Sea is a cliff surrounded lagoon which is linked to the open sea by a tunnel. This dive leads to a beautiful sharp drop off into the blue hole with what seems like limitless visibility and feels like you are on the very edge of the world.

Read more about diving Malta and Gozo

8. Hanauma Bay, Oahu, Hawaii

Hanauma bay is incredible diving for the novice to the expert. Beyond the near reef line there are resident turtles, transient rays and every kind of sealife in this protected park.

Hawksbill turtle
Hawksbill turtle. Photo credit: Rich Carey/Bigstock

Read more about diving Hawaii and Hanama Bay

9. Secret Garden, Dili, East Timor

Secret Garden is a lovely dive with backdrop of beautiful sponges whilst also being a good place to sport sharks and rays. Best dived at high tide.

Sea squirts
Sea Squirts. Photo credit: Kevin Mc Loughlin/Pixabay

10. The Sand Falls, Baja California

You can do this dive from one of the dive operator’s boats – but you’d be wasting your money: you can do exactly the same dive from the shore. And a marvellous dive it is. A series of crevasses and abysses run parallel to the shore, mirroring the cliffs above water. The sand at first slopes gently down but at 8 m takes a steep turn. Gullies lead downwards to infinity. At 25 m you find the top of a cliff, deeper and you hang at the side of it with nothing beneath you. Sea fans decorate the cliff and shoals of chromis join you. At depths sand cascades down the rock forming the “sand falls”. From Cabo San Lucas take a water taxi to Lovers Beach/San Lucas Bay, near the arch.

Beach for the Sand Falls
Beach from where to dive the Sand Falls. Photo credit: Salvador Navarro Maldonado/Pixabay

Read more about diving Baja California

Main photo credit: Robert fridzema


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