Howies Scuba

 Scuba Diving Perth WA

Shore Diving

Blackwall Reach Buoy 527 & 716

Swan River Perth WA.


  • Shore Dive: River Dive: Wreck Dive (Vehicle Dump, Barge & Boats), (BWR has the potential for lots of little dive spots).

  • Depth: Max 15 meters.

  • Dive Conditions: Generally only dive in the river when the ocean is being hammered and even the sheltered spots are going to be a wash out (not Boat Ramps @ Jervoise Bay). It makes a change from the norm but does not compare to ocean sites. I am not sure how the tides rise and fall affect current flow but this is something you may wish to consider and obtain more advice on, especially if the swim is going to be long.

  • Dive flag at Site: No.
  • WARNING: The Swan River is a working river, ferrying people up and down from Perth To Fremantle and vice versa, it also has a massive recreational use, with divers, swimmers, skiers, other boating and jet ski users. You must dive within your limits, always use a flag and try not to ascend quickly or unless close to the the bank or within the shallow areas as not all boat traffic will be obvious, keep your eyes and ears open for potential risks throughout the dive. Watch for currents, when we dived there wasn't much but the river is a dynamic place and varying parts react differently to the moving body of water. Any object you come into contact with has the potential, cut, scratch and scrape, take caution around the dive site, where gloves.


  • Getting here........... 

  • Regardless of where you are coming from its not the easiest place to give directions to (unless you live there) but, the simplest route is to get on the Canning HWY turn on to Point Walter Rd and turn on to Kent St, at the bottom of Kent St you will be on Blackwall Reach Parade and immediately at the bottom of Kent is the gear up car park.

  • It is about 15 minutes from Fremantle and about 20 - 25 minutes from Perth CBD.

  • As always do all your final checks (BWRAF), in the car park.

  • Once you have geared up walk down to the small beach in front of you and turn right which will be a NE'ly direction.

  • Make your way up the river bank until you can walk no further, don your fins and start kicking.

  • Overall you will travel about 200m from the little jetty both walking, wading & finning.

  • Descend Buoy 527 do a grid type search in a SE'ly direction.

  • Descend Buoy 716 and you will find the Barge approx. 4 meters in a W'ly direction from the bottom of the mooring block.

  • There other buoys you can descend and find other little hidden gems and a full days searching around this area maybe something you may wish to undertake.

    Consider following the bank back to the entrance/exit point, as you will find some marine life in these areas.

Dive Review:

  • Dived BWR one Autumnal day in 2012 as we only had a small group on our regular Sunday morning shore dive we decided to do something a little bit different. Which if you haven't guessed by now was diving in the river..... at BWR.

  • The dive is an easy dive, parking very close to the dive spot, nice grassy area to kit up on. Nice gradual shallow entry and not a long hike but a moderate swim to the dive spot (shoreward currents can make this a slow swim out). Waters are generally calm but unfortunately the vis in the river over recent years has been tainted by the dredging that has been going on at Fremantle Port, that said you could dive it, you just had to hug your buddy otherwise you would lose them.

  • BWR is locally and historically famous as a dumping ground for cars especially those involved in insurance fraud and possibly even worse. Its not possible to do this any more as barriers have been erected at the Reach, so don't worry you won't all of sudden end up with a car parking itself on your head (but if you do, you can't sue me). That all said, that means that there is one or two or possibly even three cars down there for you to discover and investigate.

  • 14 meters was the deepest we managed on this dive, obviously the more you venture into the centre of the river the deeper it will get, and conversely closer you get to the wall the shallower it becomes. CAUTION: I have been told the closer to the centre of the river you get the stronger the current becomes.

  • When we descended buoy 527 we just completed a grid like search pattern heading towards the wall (SE'ly) and the bank firstly and very quickly came across a car....... a mini if memory serves me correctly. Then once we had looked around this just did another search pattern which lead us close to the bank, so we had a look up the bank and into the shallower areas then just swam down the bank and repeated the process, never really straying that far from the bank.

  • In all honesty there wasn't a lot going on, a couple of battered, rusted cars and strips of metal strewn about the place, marine life was sparse, plenty of jellyfish if you like that kind of thing, luckily for me I do and the river is crowded with my favourite jelly, The White Spotted Jellyfish. Mostly around the cars was small Gobbleguts fish, closer to the wall itself there was schools of Bream, Stripeys, Toadfish and others, silty areas generally seem to encourage Starfish too. 

Marine Life & Site Make Up

  • Blackwall Reach Parade, parking & kit up area. Follow the bank on the right once you begin to fin check for buoys 527 & 716.
  • Descending at buoy 527, the vis at the river wasn't perfect, but its known to be worse, current was mild near the bank.
  • Lots of debris around the site allowing for marine life to hide in the nooks and crannies, a torch will be a useful bit of kit.
  • I felt the marine life was sparse at this site however in the water anything can swim in and swim out, so you never know.
  • Moon Jelly and of course my favourite the White Spotted Jellyfish which are abundant in both the Swan & Canning Rivers.

Conclusion Buoy 527

  • This one is a little bit difficult to call, I enjoyed it because at the time I had never dived in the river successfully (had an awful 3 minutes once diving the shallow Coombes). The vis was terrible but then it would have been terrible anywhere on this day such was the weather around Perth. There are lots of little spots around BWR that you can dive depending on which buoy you descend, so the area has more potential than first realised. However on a perfect day or even a not so perfect day I would be hard pressed to choose the river over the ocean.

  • The beauty of this is I don't have to decide......... you guys do..... If you had no where else to go then I don't think I would be too disappointed if I had to come here.

  • An extensive dive site repertoire will always be beneficial to any diver so the more experiences you have the better.


 Buoy 716 14 Meter Barge @ BWR

  • Ok all the kit up and entry is exactly the same, you still have to walk, wade and swim in the same direction as before the only major difference is the buoy you descend. Buoy 716 is your targeted destination, in the past the numbering on the buoy has been a little rough and it looked more like "116" and is positioned in front of "BWR lookout".

  • Descend this line and the barge is approx. 2 - 3 meters west of the mooring anchor block.

  • Dived this Barge for the second time in June 2013, the first attempt at this was at the end of 2012 and the water was so silty that I couldn't find the barge, so in real terms I actually didn't dive the barge. However like I said June 2013 came around and we decided to give it another go, I am sooooooooooo embarrassed when I realised how close this barge is to the anchor block, I mean it is virtually in touching distance, but I guess that tells you how bad the vis was when we last tried to dive it.

  • I don't have any photographs but I do have some murky green video, in all honesty there wasn't a lot going on around this wreck, but if you are here you may as well take a look.



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