Sandwich Town Beach

Skill Level:
Beginner
Max-Depth:
30
Best Time:
It'll be deeper at high tide but is fine through the whole tide cycle.
Notable Features:
Clay shelves that attract lobsters, Crabs, Striper though usually small.
Address:
wood ave.
Sandwich, MA 02563

Description

Sandwich Town Beach is one of the few shore diving locations on Cape Cod. While this dive site offers little in the realm of rocks or reef there is an interesting series of clay shelves dispersed throughout the location that lobsters tend to like to hide within and make getting lobsters out often easier than the rocky sites we dive in Cape Ann. It’s also a relatively shallow site making it a good place for new divers learning how to lobster. Along with the relatively easy and close parking, this is one of the better shore dive sites on the Cape Cod. Visibility tends to be OK though it is very easily reduced with how exposed the area is. The clay also tends to stay suspended in the water for a while around storms. The dive site is located just on the other side of the sand dunes from the parking area.

The entire length of the beach is a fine access point. It's pretty much the same depth and bottom profile the whole way along. There are jetty's but they are so close to shore they don't get deep enough to gather much sea life. Most divers will carry fins into waist-deep water while fully dressed in their dive team and then help each other into their fins. For those looking to avoid the sand as much as possible, dress at your car and suffer the long walk to the water if you can handle the weight. Otherwise be sure to bring a tarp.

If you'd like a more challenging but interesting dive you could arrive to enter the saltwater estuary a couple of hours after high tide. The little river is at the end of the lot at the end of the boardwalk across from the sand dunes. Here you can enter the water a few feet deep and let the river carry you down to the ocean. The water temp will drop quickly when it spits you out. Here you can turn left and dive along the beach as far as you can and then enter and walk back. It is A LOT of walking in gear though you can see some interesting life in the river. The water also cuts new channels quite often so it's a good idea to walk or snorkel the river first to know where it's going to put you.

Any wind from the North or East will blow out this site. Up to 12mph you'll generally see reduced visibility with much more than that destroying visibility and create uncomfortable swells and challenging entries and exits. This location is also prone to offshore swells so while the wind looks favorable you may find the site blown out anyway. Hathaway's pond is down the street for a shakeout dive if you choose though.

Wind and offshore swells can create very low visibility as well as challenging entries and exits. Many divers have lost masks, fins, and accessories after getting knocked down by a wave here. If you choose to try to dive here in large swells keep your reg in and mask on your face. Be prepared to be knocked down. Once in the water, the dive is reasonably shallow. visibility can be reduced quickly with the silty bottom so be prepared to work at staying in your dive team.

There is a large parking lot here that will fill up with beachgoers occasionally midday on nice summer weekends but is usually wide open in the morning. It is paid to park on weekends but whether there is someone collecting money is a crapshoot. If there is someone collecting money it is in the $10 - $20 range. For easy access try parking along the dunes as close as you can get to a passthrough.

Disclaimer:

Jerry Shine provided much of the written dive site content on the shore diving sites around New England from his 2005 publication: A Shore Diving Guide to New England which is currently out-of-print. His 2017 publication A Year Underwater: Twelve Months of Diving, Fraternizing with Marine Life, and Just Having a Great Time, from the St. Lawrence River to West Palm Beach is available for purchase on Amazon.

If lobstering be sure that you are licensed, have a gauge for the area you are lobstering in, have your numbers on your cylinder and flag, and don’t land any shorts, longs, notches, or eggers. For more information please reference the mass.gov regulations site here.