Puddle Beach "The Puddle"
St. Margaret's Bay / 44°39'12.9"N 63°59'42.1"W
Certification Level: : Suitable for all levels. Very easy entry and exit
“The Puddle” refers both to a small brackish pond located on the opposite side of trunk 3, and to the 700m x 800m cove area at the bottom of St Margaret’s Bay where Puddle Beach is located. Puddle Beach is on the North West corner of The Puddle. A small stream flows under the roadway into the cove from the pond just east of the beach.
Located north east of (behind) Cleveland Beach Provincial park, Puddle Beach is small with white sand approx30m (100 ft) across at low tide), clean and very sheltered from all but south east winds. It is very popular with residents for swimming and sunbathing. There is easy access to the shoreline down a small, sandy, embankment from the roadway. There are private residences and a few small docks in the immediate area – please be respectful.
Water temperatures are typical for Nova Scotia, ranging from 1C in winter/early spring to 16C in late summer/early fall.
Visibility is also typical for the area, ranging from 3-12m (10-40 ft) Expect reduced visibility after heavy runoffs from rainfall and prolonged periods of high winds.
You can enter and exit the water from the white sand beach. The fine white sand continues into the water to a depth of 2-3m. During the summer and fall, schools of herring fry can be seen darting around in the sunlight. Short, grassy areas, beginning a few metres from shore, are teeming with small crabs, pipefish and the occasional nudibranch. An area of small pebbles toward the left marks the outfall area from the small stream. While fairly shallow near the shoreline, the bottom slopes gradually to a maximum depth of about 14m (45 ft) near the centre of the “puddle”.
Rocky areas along the western shoreline provides a haven for small creatures including cunner fish, Atlantic Pipefish, star fish, and many species of crabs…
The bottom becomes mostly silt with scattered rocky areas as you move further from the shoreline. Clumps of kelp and dulce are scattered throughout. Look for long horn and short horn sculpins, grubbys, and sea ravens hiding near the vegetation.
You will come across several old tires providing habitat for numerous lobster and crabs.
An open industrial size dumpster provides an unexpected photo opportunity, as does a very large cylindrical drum, located approx. 150m from shore along a SW heading.
Marine life spotted in the Puddle include Atlantic lobster, hermit crabs, Red crabs, Green crabs, Jonah crabs, Dungeness crabs, Moon snails, Herring fry, Tom Cod, Rock Gunnel, flounder, Spotted Hake, Cunner fish, Sea Scallop, Northern Pipefish, Stonefish, sculpins, Sand Shrimp, Atlantic Menhaden, grubbys, periwinkles, Sea Ravens, Red Eels and Sand Lance. Vegetation including Clonal Plumose Anemone, several species of Bryozoa, Green Hair Weed, Rockweed, Rough Tangleweed, brown algae, kelps, eel grass, Dulce, Red Head Sponge and tubularian hydroids was found scattered throughout.
Puddle Beach is located in Halifax Regional Municipality, on St Margaret’s Bay, along the Nova Scotia Trunk 3 Highway in Black Point at the Black Point/Queensland municipal boundary… approximately a 30-minute drive from Halifax. Take the Ingramport Connector exit from NS Highway 103, and turn left onto the Ingramport Connector Hwy. At the roundabout, take the first exit onto NS trunk 3. Continue west along trunk 3 for 4 km. Puddle Beach will be on your left.
There is very limited parking along both sides of trunk 3. A larger gravel parking area is located about 40m east on trunk 3 (just over the small bridge)
Vault toilets and picnic area at nearby Cleveland Beach provincial park.
Easy access to the St Margaret’s Bay trail system from across the street.
This is a high vehicle traffic area – be very careful when walking or gearing up along the roadside.
Some boat traffic was observed in the area – recommend using caution and towing a dive float or surface marker buoy. Use caution when surfacing and avoid any netting or fishing lines.
Puddle Beach - Emergency Assistance Plan:
Call 9-1-1 for emergency services (including Police, Fire, Ambulance, etc.) from your Cellphone. There is cellular telephone service at the dive site.
Halifax Regional Fire Station 56 is 700 m east of Puddle Beach along trunk 3. (1 minute by car, 8 min walk). It is staffed 24/7 and has Medical First Responder AED equipment, oxygen, and a Rescue Boat.
Divers Alert Network (DAN) Emergency Hotline: +1-919-684-9111 (available 24/7)
DAN Medical Information line: +1-919-684-2948
Marine VHF: Channel 16
Closest Hyperbaric chambers:
Fleet Diving Unit Atlantic
CFB Shearwater, PO Box 99000, Station Forces, Halifax Nova Scotia B3K 5X5 T: 902-460-1355 Canadian Forces Hospital
Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre (NOT available 24/7)
Victoria General Hospital, 1278 Tower Rd., Halifax Nova Scotia B3H 2Y9
T: Emergency 24/7: 902-473-7998
Always bring a properly equipped first aid kit with you to have available in case of emergency. Items to include in your first aid kit include: Absorbent compress dressings, adhesive bandages, sterile gauze pads, cloth tape, scissors, safety pins, antiseptic wipes, quick clot bandages, bloodstopper dressings, topical eyewash, tourniquet, aspirin (81mg), space blanket, breathing barrier (with one way valve), instant hot and cold compresses, 2 pair non latex gloves, hydrocortisone ointment packets, roller bandages, oral thermometer, triangular bandages, pen light, tweezers, disposable razor, vinegar, saline solution, motion sickness medication or ginger tablets, waterproof band-aids, and a first aid instruction manual.
Bring an O2 kit with an oxygen bottle and a feed system to treat decompression illness.
Ideally divers should take a first aid class with CPR and AED and learn how to provide emergency oxygen to a diver with suspected decompression illness.
Prior to any dive, always review standard emergency procedures with your dice buddy.
Low-air / out-of-air situation: If this happens, ascend to the surface immediately using standard surfacing techniques. Ascend slowly, looking and listening for any boats that might be in the area. Surface swim back to the entry / exit point at a slow but comfortable pace. Monitor your tank pressure throughout the dive to ensure this doesn’t happen.
Buddy separation: If you become separated from your buddy, stay down and look for 1 minute (look for bubbles). If you are unable to locate your buddy, proceed to the surface with a controlled ascent looking up and around for anything over head you might run into. Establish positive buoyancy and wait a short time. If your buddy doesn’t return to the surface, proceed to the entry / exit point and contact emergency assistance.
Injured Diver: If your buddy receives a marine life injury, return to shore immediately, assess the situation and contact emergency assistance if necessary.
Near-drowning situation: Suspected lung injury, or decompression illness. Get the injured person to shore and contact Emergency Assistance immediately. Follow standard first aid procedures as appropriate. Provide emergency oxygen if you have it.