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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Scuba Diving Fort Wetherill - Jamestown, Rhode Island

Welcome to another segment of Katie Wanders... to Jamestown, Rhode Island.  

Get ready for lots of talk about Rhode Island this week.  I am sort of in love with the whole state (fine, I am absolutely smitten!).  Right on the Atlantic and full of New England charm with a great Marine Science focus through the University of Rhode Island, and lots of opportunities to go diving.  Did I mention fresh seafood like lobster, littlenecks and oysters?

Jamestown Rhode Island is sort of the forgotten area between the "mainland" of Rhode Island and Newport.  To me, its a more charming, smaller Newport, with less mansions and crowds.    You can almost say it's like Newport, but better. 

When traveling to Jamestown, we usually come for one reason, to dive.  It is such a popular dive location due to the nature of the protected cove, and the easy access point via an old boat ramp.  Visibility can vary from nothing to great depending on the season and the weather, and sights in the cove can range from natives like Lobster and Blue Crabs, to tropical fish caught in the Gulf Stream in the fall.  You can even see the cutest squid swimming about in the water on late summer evenings. 

More about Wetherill:
"Fort Wetherill State Park, situated upon 100 foot high granite cliffs across the water from Fort Adams State Park, is a former coastal defense battery and training camp. Known for its spectacular view of Newport Harbor and the East Passage of Narragansett Bay, Fort Wetherill has been a popular sight for viewing the numerous Tall Ship Events and America’s Cup Races. The area is also a major attraction for scuba diving, with Diving Clubs from New York State, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island using the facilities at the boat ramp year round. Additionally, the park offers family and group picnicking, boating, fishing, hiking and exploring on the park’s 61.5 acres of property." Source

Dive Site  
Cove at Fort Wetherill, Jamestown, Rhode Island 

Site Overview
Fort Wetherill is a popular shore dive in Jamestown, Rhode Island.  Diving at Wetherill offers protected coves away from summer boat traffic and easy entry via an old boat ramp.  There are two different entry points to two different diveable coves offering options for beginner and advanced divers alike. This is a popular location for local dive shops and classes, spear fishing, and a favorite spot for night diving.  

Site Specifics

There is no fee to access the park.  On your dive, expect to see New England natives like lobsters, blue crabs, comb jellies, squid, skate, flounder and other native fish.  In the fall, this is a popular spot to see tropical fish in the shallow areas that were carried north by the Gulf Stream.  Wetherill is also a great spot for a night dive and the cove is teaming with life after the sun sets.  The dive starts off in a shallow bed of eel grass before swimming over a rocky/sandy bottom. 

VisibilityVisibility can vary from 0 to 15' depending on the season, the tides, the amount of divers in the water, and the weather.  

Entry: Two access points:  "Left Cove"  is accessible by a small steep path down a rocky cliff to the water.  This cove is a more advanced entry and maximum depths reach about 90 feet.  This is a popular spot for advanced classes.  "Right Cove" is a  more popular, easier access from the boat ramp where maximum depths reach about 30 feet.  You can also do a point to point dive and navigate around the peninsula (you can navigate around the outside of the island and back around to the other side of the peninsula- beware of currents). The water in the coves can be slightly choppy (especially off left cove) on windy days.

Directions: Route 138 east over the Jamestown Bridge, exit just before the toll booths, straight on Narragansett, bear left at the fork, follow signs to the park.  Once in the park, there will be a sign marking "Scuba Area" to the left.  Turn right into the parking lot. GPS: N 41 28.774 W 071 21.618

Water Temp: August 66-70F

Parking:  Large parking lot by both coves. There is a port-o-potty at the edge of the parking lot.  There are a few gear benches in a grassy area of the parking lot.

Notes: A popular spot for classes (especially on weekends) and the visibility can decrease rapidly. Also, beware of fisherman with their lines out.

More about Wetherill: The 61.5-acre state park is situated upon 100 foot high granite cliffs across the water from Fort Adams State Park.  Fort Wetherill is a former coastal defense battery and training camp. The park is known for its view of Newport Harbor and the East Passage of Narragansett Bay.  This is also a popular spot. The park offers family and group picnicking, boating, fishing, and hiking.  


  1. Replies
    1. Naomi it is such an amazing spot! I can't say enough good things about small coastal New England towns :)


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