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UK Inland Diving (site now closed)
Dive Site: Horsea Island
Location: Horsea Island Dive Centre, West Bund Road, Port Solent, Cosham,
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO6 4TT
Description: Inland sea water training centre
Depth: 7 metres (23 feet)
Visibility: 3 metres (10 feet)
Horsea is a salt water inland site that is filled by the sea. Facilities including a shop, fills, tea, coffee, and toilets. The site is divided into sections according to experience and attractions include land rovers, a helicopter and decompression chambers. The bottom is very silty, and covered in weed but you might still find one of the many tiny stinging jellyfish, a pipe fish or a crab and whatever other life the sea water brings in with it. Horsea is ok if used for training purposes. It opens at 8am on weekends and at 9am during the week; entrance prices are £9.50 if you pre-pay and £12 if you pay on arrival (as of July 2004).
It's sad to say but it looks like Horsea is now closed to the public. This from the Horsea website "Unfortunately we have lost our battle with the military to remain open for diving and have NOW PERMANENTLY CLOSED. The SETT & Dunker are unaffected. Many thanks for your custom and support."
This will be a great loss as it is a fantastic training site.
I learnt to dive at Horsea with Andark back in March 2005. Staff members at Horsea are friendly and a good laugh, vis can be very poor at times depending on weather and the quantity of trainee divers kicking up silt, items within lake are well worth a look as staff members at Andark have added a couple of funny ones. Even though only a 2 star site its well worth getting wet there. I've now dived this site in temperatures from 4 - 22°C and vis from 1 - 8 metres and every dive was different. Jellyfish, eels and silver fish seen on every dive along with other great items.
I did my basic training at Horsea Island also. It's actually an excellent site, which I think is worthy of more than a 2 star rating. The vis when I was there (June 2005) was at least 6-8 metres, and the water temp was 19°C. A very enjoyable couple of days.
Please note that due to popular demand, dive site directory have upgraded Horsea Island's rating to 3 stars!
I did my open water dives at Horsea Island to become an open water diver! I found it an excellent experience and would come down again for more dives.
Horsea's a great place to learn to dive. I completed my Open Water course in June 2005 and then did the Advanced course there the following month. All training was with Andark who I can recommend. I also met Richard Welch (see above) on my AOW course and have dived here several times with him since.
Horsea's a great place to practice your newly acquired skills after completing any course. It can sometimes be a bit cloudy - but that can actually add to the fun. It's not deep, but this makes it a more comfortable dive as a beginner as you're never to far from the surface should you get lost or things go wrong. The club here also offers events like summer BBQs, evening dives and visits to the SETT (Submarine Escape Training Tower) in Gosport, where submariners learn how to surface from the bottom of the 30m column of water.
I'll be here again once the water's warmed up a bit and will be doing my Rescue Diver course with Triton in July 2006.
Horsea Island is a great place to dive for beginners but also for divers that simply want to brush up on their skills in a safe environment after they have passed their open water like myself. The site is very well laid out with various zones which include: Land Rover, Helicopter, small wreck and lots more. Oh yes... and a plastic pig (if you can find it)There is a small well stocked shop and snack bar for that early morning bacon buttie but best of all... hot showers. Horsea is worthy of its 3 stars and well worth the visit.
I've dived at Horsea Island many times and although the vis can get rather bad when the silt is stirred up the site is still an excellent place to train. The out of water facilities are excellent compared to some other sites!
I am not sure that I would describe my diving there as fun, I trained there as a Royal Navy shallow water diver with oxygen re-breathing sets in about November 1959 (or was it 1958?), it was very cold indeed. One day after being underwater for an hour one of our number was taken to hospital after attempting one of the tasks we were set, cutting wood under water and cutting a link out of a metal chain. Every morning we did a mile swim in rubber suits as well as underwater swims.
In those days there was not much on the island, we lived on cheese rolls and corn dog rolls and hot soup, there was a 'secret' radio station on the 'island'. We got there across a causeway by lorry from HMS Deepwater (ex-German ship) the diving School at HMS Vernon. We had to do duty on there some nights and we lived at the radio station. I remember one night being attacked by the Royal Marine SBS as an excercise, I woke up with a sten gun in my ear. Happy Days! I am not sure about giving it any stars, but I survived!
Rob Jerrard's Royal Navy web site
First dived as a ships diver then as a BSAC club instructor. This is an ideal training site and for equipment testing. It deserves three stars just for the training facility (if you want good viz get in real early before the mud kickers!).
Horsea is a fantastic site, you see so many twin set and rebreather divers who are practising skills. An excellent safe site that you can dive in almost any weather. The underwater attractions make it good clean fun and the facilities are among the best I have seen. I have dived here loads and will continue to do so.
Interesting I did part of my Royal Diver training at Horsea Lake.... God those were the days, adopting a telegraph pole and running everywhere with it then doing skinny dips in the middle of winter as questions about diving theory were thrown at you. Very nostalgic and happy memories.
It's a shame it has closed as new divers wont be able to experience the site.
Given the limitations of restricted depth and only fair viz, this was still a really excellent site, with plenty of underwater attractions to swim around and superb facilities.
Kitting up and getting into the water could hardly have been easier and it was always a very pleasant place to be. It's a real shame that it has now closed as it always made a great day out.
Peter Snow | 18/07/09
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