I speak to a lot of divers and normally the topic of UK diving comes up. Many divers instantly turn their noses up – normally due to preconceived ideas. I wanted to just get over just why you should give it a go and find out for yourselves. It’s not for everyone, but if you have given it a go at least you will know for sure. You never know, you might just love it.
Ok let’s get straight in with the number one objection – the water will be freezing….. I’m not going to try and tell you that the water temperature is the same as the Maldives, it isn’t. We can however make ourselves really comfortable in the cooler water.
Even in warm water if you don’t wear the right wet suit you will get cold and it is the same thing with UK diving. Have the right equipment and you will stay warm. A steamer, semi-dry suit or a dry suit can lead to dives where the temperature of water just isn’t an issue.
You don’t wear your summer clothes in the winter so don’t think you have to adopt this principal in the water.
2. The Kit
Most people think that the equipment needed for diving in the UK is a mile away from the kit they dived with on their last holiday. They conjure up images of days gone by with bell helmets and lead boots. The primary difference is the exposure suit. Drysuits and a thicker wetsuit is needed to keep you warm but the technology and the improvements of the materials used have made a big difference and they are a lot more comfortable and flexible now. Most UK divers invest in their own suit so quickly get used to it whereas a lot of tropical divers rent equipment so have to put up with ill-fitting basic wetsuits.
You don’t need to have any extra training to dive in the UK- nice shallow dive in the warm seas in Cornwall would be fine for Open Water divers in a thick wetsuit in calm conditions. If you want to dive in a drysuit you will need to do a course but this is certainly worth it. The best way to do this is to combine this with your advanced course which cuts down on cost and time and this will open up lots more cool diving in the UK down to 30 metres.
As a long-standing sea faring nation and having partaken in a few naval altercations over the years there are so many great wrecks to dive on around the UK coast.
They are normally a lot quieter than the famous ones abroad so you aren’t fighting with people to look in the hold or getting caught in silt storms kicked up by the previous 6 groups of divers. My first UK wreck was the James Eagan Layne which is just off the coast of Plymouth and I was blown away by it. Loads to see and lots of sea life in, on and around it and in 20 meters of water it wasn’t too demanding. Stepping up a level there is the world class diving destination of Scapa Flow in Scotland. So, no matter where you are in the UK you aren’t far away from bumping into some heavy metal!
Like temperature this one of the key objections to getting in the water in the UK. It seems to be how a lot of divers judge their dives. Yes, none of us like diving in truly bad visibility, well maybe one at our club but most of the time, especially on the south coast the visibility is pretty good and not uncommon for us to have 10-15 meters. You don’t need to have crystal clear water to have a good dive and sometimes the misty water can add a lot of atmosphere especially on wrecks.
6. Marine Life
Yes, there is loads of it! Just because the water is a little cooler doesn’t mean we don’t have sea life. Some great encounters can be had in the UK and when you have the opportunity to dive with the second biggest fish in the sea, the mighty Basking Shark you really have something to look forward to. Playful seals, loads of fish on the wrecks and reefs. Take a grab bag as it’s amazing to grab a few scallops or the od lobster for the post dive BBQ.
Not many of us can afford to be on holiday all the time so diving in the UK enables us to keep diving and not break the bank. At Wraysbury I can get in the water for £10, hardly an expensive hobby when a ticket to the footie will set you back £60. We have plenty of UK trips and these start at £160 for 4 dives and accommodation so this really brings diving into most people’s budget.
Just Do it
Diving in the UK can be truly rewarding and will certainly make you a better diver. You get to meet people that you can continue to dive with and learn about the marine environment around our coast line. Our inland dive centres are great training grounds and can help you learn or just to see if you like it.
So, what are you waiting for???