On the surface, Stage Fort Park is a great place. There are basketball courts, tennis courts, ball fields, a big playground for kids, large open areas to barbeque and picnic, seasonally accessible restrooms, and a snack bar. If only the diving were so good.
There are two dive sites in the park, Cressy’s Beach (to the south) and Half-moon Cove (to the east). Cressy is frequently used for training and diving related events. The bottom is almost entirely sand with a few scattered rocks here and there and little in the way of sea life. The most interesting area is around the rocks sloping into the water from the surface directly to the left (east) of the Cressy’s Beach entry and exit point or right (south) of the Half-moon Cove entry. It’s not deep here, only 10-15 feet. But the rocks are closely spaced and are home to some invertebrate life. They’re also the most likely place to find any fish that have wandered this far into the harbor. The site can be a great place to go for training purposes, especially if the weather has blown out any alternative locations on Cape Ann.
There's a 150- to 250-yard walk over relatively flat ground from the parking lot to the water. Once at the water, entry and exit are made over sand and are easy.
The park is located within Gloucester Harbor and has limited exposure to the south.
There may be boat traffic in the area due to the proximity to the harbor and Blynman Canal (Anisquam River entry/exit). Occasionally there are anglers. Visibility can be limited so make sure to stick with your team.
There is ample parking but there is a fee to park here in the Summer. The dirt expansion lot to the south is closest to the beach and ideal for divers. Access is via the main lot entry at the top of the hill.
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.