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

trip scheduling

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.

  • 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: 24
  • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 24
  • Sea Trails Vashon Island, Tacoma Narrows to Elliot Bay WA203
  • MapTech Oak Bay to Commencement Bay No. 102

Upcoming Activities

Open Water Session - Commencement Bay

Sea Kayaking Field trip: Basic Sea Kayaking Course
Two days of on the water activities, learning basic kayak skills. Wet exits, rescues, and
Difficulty: Sea Kayak II/III
Sat, Jun 19, 2021 - Sun, Jun 20, 2021
No Prerequisites
6 participants 2 instructors
Registration opens Mar 1; Instructor registration open now
Tacoma Branch
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.