What is the point of diving in the UK?

 mmm tough one this!!!! – actually, on second thoughts,  it isn’t

Diving in the UK is clearly (no pun intended) very different to diving in say, the Red Sea or the Philippines.  Notice I didn’t say that it was not as good !!  and there are many points in its favour let’s look at a few

It’s closer than Egypt !!

I think we would all like to go to Egypt every other weekend but it clearly isn’t practical due to the cost and travel time.  But interesting dives can be had very close to home for almost all of us.  Remember nowhere in the UK is further than 110 miles from the sea.  Most of us have access to some interesting local lakes that we can dive.  If you enjoy diving or you just want to get some practice in, a local divesite could be the answer.

There is nothing to see in UK waters

This is definitely false.  There are more wrecks around the UK shores than any other country on the planet.  I am not sure of the real numbers or estimates, but I know that around 44,000 have been catalogued.  If you look at a small part of the Cornish coast – the Mannacles there are over a 100 wrecks in a very small stretch of water.  It is true to say that many are very badly broken up, even so they are still great to dive as all wrecks become havens for all forms of marine life.

Look at the pictures below taken in Stoney cove.  The visibility and teh marine life are very good

If you look at the inland lakes they have all made great efforts to add “attractions” to the water to make them more interesting.  Most have a few sunken boats, cars, taxis, coaches, aeroplanes, and helicopters as well as a wide range of fresh water fish including perch, roach, bream and the menacing pike.  Many now also have thriving colonies of very large crayfish!!

There is no good marine life

Once again totally false.  On almost every wreck or reef dive you do you will see shoals and shoals of fish including pollack, bib, and colourful wrasse.  One of my favourites are scallops – which look like a group of castanets dancing in the water.  You will also see huge eels, crabs, and lobsters.   In addition we have very many seal colonies around the UK and diving with seals is an amazing experience.  They are very curious mammals and will come close enough to chase you and nibble playfully with your fins.  You will also see cuttle fish, and other exotics such as lumpsuckers, and now even sun fish or Mola Mola – and they don’t come much more exotic than that.  True we don’t have clownfish but we do have the Tom Pot Blenny which is a very photogenic fish and almost appears to pose for you.

The visibility is not good

You have a point here.  It is clearly (sorry again!) not as good as the Red Sea, but if the tide is correct you should get around 5 – 10m in summer and early and late season you can get as much as 15m.  Both are sufficient to allow you to enjoy the dive.  But when it is bad it is awful !!!  Visibility in the lakes follows a similar pattern during the summer the water can be quite green with algal bloom, and the bottom can get kicked up by Open Water Students but early and late season visibility is very good

 Let’s also not forget the social life.  Most good dive schools and clubs organise fairly regular trips to UK coastal and inland dive sites.  A weekend away in Bridport, Cornwall or West Wales is always great fun

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  1. Denise says:

    Although i do love diving in clear tropical waters, I have had some fantastic dives in the UK. Cornwall is fantastic, diving in the Farnes Islands with the seals was also a memorable trip. But you dont have to go far for good uk diving, on our hardboat dives out of Brighton we have some great dives. There are plenty of wrecks to see and the fish life on these wrecks are great and I would say anyone give UK diving a try.

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