Reading Perth Weather for Snorkelling and Diving
A simple how to guide on reading Perth weather so you will know when it’s a good day to snorkel or dive Perth waters.
Understand Perth weather for scuba and snorkelling by following our four steps:
- Know which conditions are the best for Perth scuba and snorkelling adventures
- Check the forecast, see what sources to use
- We’ll tell you how to Pick a site that suits the forecast
- Compare actual weather to the forecast on the day, before you dive or snorkel
Best Perth weather for Perth scuba diving and snorkelling adventures
Those golden days when the sun is shining and the water is mirror flat are called a “Glass Off”. When this happens you know where to find the Bucket List Diver crew, in and under the water!
A glass off will happen when there is virtually no swell or wind at all and the areas around Perth have little to none either.
It doesn’t have to be a glass off though, for Perth weather to still be great for diving and snorkelling.
Sitting on the surface, snorkelling needs slightly better conditions than diving. In Perth you’ll generally want low winds and swell. More than one day of conditions like this can lead to that crystal clear visibility that everyone enjoys. A little bit of rain never hurt anyone, but just be mindful that lots of run off from the land can cause bad visibility. Rain can also make it tougher to be seen by boats and jet skis.
When scuba diving we’re all about what’s happening under the surface. For diving, anything more than two meters swell is bad because on a shore dive, the waves will kick up the sand or silt in the water reducing visibility. The impact from waves bouncing of rock walls and jetty pylons can also make approaching and manoeuvring these sites difficult.
Check the forecast
Because we live in one big, interconnected world, sometimes the local suburb forecast can be magic, but conditions can be affected by rougher weather rolling in or out from surrounding areas.
For this reason the BOM Marine forecast map is really useful, you can see in one picture the conditions in your area and the conditions moving out to and in from surrounding areas.
Willy weather, Seabreeze and Windy are apps you can get from the App store to use on your phone. Most just need you to set a location and pick what you want to see, like wind and swell. Remember, Easterlies are best and you can dive or snorkel with slightly higher easterly winds than most other directions.
Pick a site that suits the forecast
If the swell and wind are borderline, closer to bad than perfect, it’s a good idea to pick a protected site. In Perth we are lucky to have a glittering coastline punctuated with unique rocks and islands. These act as shields from the worst of the weather.
Sites like the tip of Point Peron, or North of the River sites that have no island or reef protection need fantastic conditions to be enjoyed (less than a metre swell and low winds, or moderate easterly winds). The Google maps satellite view is a fantastic tool for seeing which direction a site has natural protection from.
For weather recommendations at our favourite sites, pick the site in our 2 Minutes to Dive page and read up on our suggestions for the best conditions.
Compare the conditions to the forecast
Scuba divers love a good backup plan. It’s handy to pick where you want to go and have a more sheltered site in mind as a back up.
We all know that the weather man is not all seeing and often mother nature doesn’t follow his plan. On a bad day one might wonder if he man-splained to her how to do her job or if she’s in one of her moods . We’re not here to point fingers, just a friendly reminder that before jumping in it is best to take a look and consider if reality matches the forecast.
This will not only help to keep you safe but is a great way to start to build awareness of how different conditions affect your local favourite beaches. Most of the forecast apps will have a “live weather” feed that shows you the actual weather laid on top of the forecast. There are lots of great resources online about how to identify dangerous rips and currents, but experience is best. Join us for a club dive or snorkel to learn about the right conditions for the site of the day.
Nothing is more reliable than standing with your toes in the sand and feeling the wind on your skin. Is it cooling your left or your right side? is it blowing your hair north? which could tell you the wind is coming from the south. Are the waves breaking with white caps? are they close together or spaced nicely apart?
Want to know more? learning about tides and currents is part of the Bucket List Diver PADI Divemaster internship.