The rock is large and conspicuous and easily recognised. It is just offshore and south of Miller's Point.
This site is in a Marine Protected Area (2004). A permit is required. Boat Rock itself, and much of the contiguous reef is outside the Castle Rocks Restricted Zone, but the southern parts of the reef and Festival Pinnacle are within the restricted zone. The broken yellow line on the map indicates the position of the border.
On the charts this site is marked as "Bakoven Rock", which can cause confusion with Bakoven Rock on the other side of the Cape Peninsula on the Atlantic coast near Camp’s Bay. Divers commonly refer to it as "Boat Rock", but there is also a small point called Boat Rock nearby on the charts, which is just north of Partridge Point.
Festival Pinnacle was mapped on request for use as one of the sites for the 2012(?) Cape Town Dive Festival.
Maximum depth is about 22 m on the sand to the east. The main rock breaks the surface at all tides.
South west side: Coarse shelly sand bottom at about 14 m with big granite boulders and reef. High relief, with a lot of small holes under rocks, mostly too small to swim through.
South east and east side: Large boulders on rocky outcrops with sand bottom. Overhangs and gullies. Further to the south there is a narrow sand tongue separating Boat Rock reef from the small "Festival Pinnacle". The reef to the west may be continuous to Millers' Point.
Festival Pinnacle: A compact pinnacle and patch of reef south of Boat Rock, across a small sand gap. The pinnacle is a fairly large granite outcrop, about 20 m long, rising from a sand bottom at 18 m to just above 12 m. The north east face is a slightly overhanging wall 6 m high. The adjacent reef section has two smaller boulders about 3 m high to the north west, and a patch of low reef to the south west. Beyond a narrow sand-bottomed gully to the west is more low reef. The pinnacle was initially picked up on sonar by Blue Flash charters during the 2012 Cape Town Dive Festival, and dived later the same day.
Geology: Granite of the late Pre-Cambrian Peninsula pluton, and shelly quartz sand.
The site is moderately protected from south westerly swell. South east chop may make it unpleasant on the surface, but it may be quiet below the wave base, however a strong south-easter or one that blows for a long time will push up a swell that will make it unpleasant all the way down. Generally considered a winter dive site but there are also occasional opportunities during the rest of the year.
Adequate parking at the Miller’s Point slipway parking lot. There were rather insalubrious toilet facilities at the side of the path to the point, but they may have been closed as there are better facilities at the slipway.
Usually considered a boat dive, but may be dived from a shore entry at the end of Miller’s point. It is approximately 30 minutes surface swim to rock, 30 minutes back. Use a SMB as there is a lot of boat traffic in the area, or better still, swim back on the bottom if your nitrogen loading allows.
Kelp in the shallower areas, and a good variety of invertebrates and fish can be seen. Keep watch for scallops on the sand.
Good site for photography. (photographic equipment suggestions)
No particular route recommended.
- Boat dive: Anchor to suit conditions or dive from live boat. Dive round the rock and the reefs to the south and east. Use DSMB if surfacing far from the rock.
- Shore dive: Entry at Millers Point as close to the rock as you can find a suitable entry point. Swim out to the rock on the surface, dive, and return on compass course if air supply allows. Tow an SMB while making the crossing.
Boat traffic may be heavy if the snoek or yellowtail are running. Great white sharks have been seen in this area. A north-westerly wind may cause an offshore surface current.
No special skills required. The site is occasionally used for night dives.
A light will be useful for looking into crevices and to restore colour at depth. A compass will help keep track of where you are on a boat dive and is essential on a shore dive if you wish to return under water. A DSMB is useful on a boat dive, and an SMB of some kind is strongly recommended on a shore dive to warn boats of your position when crossing the boating lane.
- 1 Miller's Point tidal pool
- 2 Murphy's
- 3 Fan Reef
- 4 Shark Alley
- 5 Pyramid Rock
- 6 Phone reef
- 7 Outer Castle
- 8 Giant's Castle
- 9 North Pie Rock Reef
- 10 Castle Rocks Point Reefs
- 11 East Pie Rock Reef
- 12 South Pie Rock Pinnacles
- 13 West Pie Rock Reef
Other regional dive sites:
- Dive sites of Table Bay and approaches,
- Dive sites of the Cape Peninsula west coast
- Dive sites of False Bay offshore and approaches
- Dive sites of False Bay east coast
- Fresh water dive sites of the Cape Town Metropolitan Area