Challenging, requiring commitment, often in harsh conditions and definitely not for those used to tropical diving! Diving here is both a labour of love and often has a thing ortwo to teach even the veterans amongst us. Tidal Charts should be consulted prior to diving offshore as the tides here are severe. In terms of expense for gear rental and dive trips it can get to be wallet unfriendly compared with other countries yet the second hand market thrives as divers are often after cheap bargains. Coral formations do exist in certain locations but don't expect the touristy/tropical type with bright colours and patterns. Wrecks are in an abundance in UK waters (partly due to WW1 & 2!), visibility is typically quite low and distinct with the exception of a few areas. These areas are : The South, South-Westerly and the North Westerly extremities of Britain and off outlying islands. Marine life is varied and with the greatest variety in the South West and North West. UK is the Home of BSAC and SSAC organisations and as expected they are the principle factions.
To explore the realms of England, Scotland and Wales click on the respective section of the map for further information or use the left hand nav. bar...
The UK 'enjoys' warm but short summers and cold winters. Most crucially though is the water temperature and sea conditions. To those who have never experienced the unique, 'exquisite' sensation of English Channel/North Sea/North Atlantic waters should take heed to the expletives often shouted by rookie divers just starting/finishing a dive! BSAC Club lore often mentions (amid much laughter and mirth) the folly and naivety shown just before novice warm water divers (strangers to temperate water conditions and often only wearing wetsuits with no hoods!) entering the water.
British people are often noted for referring to the weather in conversation, the reason why it seems so important is its unpredictability. In other parts of the world the weather can be stable and predictable for weeks at a time. Weather here can often play havoc with even the most carefully laid plans. There is a scientific reason for the harsh weather in winter but that's covered elsewhere.
In summer the waters are warmed up a certain degree though inland lakes and lochs tend to remain very cold year round being affected minimally. Longer days and shorter nights also mean this time of year (May-June to Sept-Oct) is more popular with divers. As a result dive sites tend to be more crowded. Sea fog is a problem in the North Sea in the summer months also.
Conversely in winter the sea temperature drops sharply and waters tend to be more rougher with a common 'cruel gray' look to the sky and sea. Most dive sites are almost deserted in winter months and visability can improve slightly.
The prevailing wind direction is South Westerly (remember that wind direction always refers to the direction it blows from i.e Westerly wind will blow from the west to the east).
Weather reports are excellent but note that the longer the prediction the less accurate it becomes, as a general rule of thumb trust in the first 24 hrs then become wary. BBC Radio 4 gives pressure readings, wind strength and surface visibility for each sea area.
Hyperbaric Chambers are available in the event of an emergency. To date there are about 28 chambers in the UK.
For Advice on Diving Related Incidents phone : 07831 151 523