Commencement Bay

Sea kayak in protected Puget Sound water in Tacoma's own Commencement Bay. Paddle along the south shoreline or poke you kayak into the many waterways in the bay. Watch for large ships and boat traffic!

launch points

on the water

Shoreline: Launch and paddle along the protected south shore as much as you like from the Thea Foss Waterway to Marine Park.

Loop: Start from any of the launch points and paddle a loop around the bay.  It's variable distance (usually around 7 nm) with a 2 nm open crossing.


  • Commencement Bay is a busy port of commerce, so watch for other watercraft.
  • This is also a major shipping channel. If paddling across the northwest end of the bay, contact Vessel Traffic Control via VHF radio before crossing.

Information for Leaders


  • Please review the activities that have already been scheduled on the "Activities" tab below to be sure that we don't have two groups using the same launch point and paddling area at the same time.
  • If you are scheduling this as a non-course related activity, please limit your group size to the recommended party size. The maximum party size is for use by course field trips only, and includes both students and instructors. Group size maximums do not reflect how course field trips are run (in smaller groups of students and instructors), but allow for course leaders to register the course in our system.
  • If you are scheduling a course field trip, please contact our Member Services Team to confirm the field trip and any permitting regulations.
  • Difficulty: Sea Kayak II/III
  • Length: 7.0 nm
  • Land Manager: Land Manager Varies
  • Parking Permit Required: see Land Manager
  • Recommended Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Party Size: 45
  • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 45
  • Sea Trails Vashon Island, Tacoma Narrows to Elliot Bay WA203
  • MapTech Oak Bay to Commencement Bay No. 102
Trip Reports

This is a list of titles that represent the variations of trips you can take at this route/place. This includes side trips, extensions and peak combinations. Not seeing a title that fits your trip? Log in and send us updates, images, or resources.

  • Dash Point Pier to Hylebos Waterway
  • Owen Beach to Chinese Reconciliation Park
  • Foss Waterway Park to Dickman Mill Park

There are no resources for this route/place. Log in and send us updates, images, or resources.