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World | UK | England | Diving South Coast:

South coast overview



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Scuba Diving on the South Coast of England

Water temperature:

In March temperatures are around 7°C (45°F) and by May they have generally reached 9°C (48°F). The sea continues to warm up over the summer to a maximum of about 17°C (63°F) in August and September


A drysuit is recommended for comfort for the whole year, but a semidry can comfortably be used from June to October, or all year round if you are brave!


1 - 20 metres (3 - 65 feet)

Type of diving:

Mostly wreck diving, drifts, some reefs

Marine life:

Conger eels, cuttlefish, dogfish, bib, bass, pollack, pouting, flounder, plaice, crabs, lobsters

When to go:

Most divers consider diving on the south coast to be viable from March through to October, although the weather can prevent it from being possible to dive towards either end of the season

How to get there:

The English Channel is accessible from many different launch points and harbours, such as Brighton, Littlehampton, Swanage and Eastbourne. To see which is most appropriate, read the individual dive site reviews for the site nearest to where you want to dive

The relatively shallow strip of water that joins the Atlantic and separates southern Britain from northern France is known as the English Channel. It is the smallest shallow sea in Europe with an area of about 75,000 square kilometres. It begins at an arbitrary limit marked by a line between the Scilly Isles and the Isle of Ushant and tapers eastward to its junction with the North Sea at the Strait of Dover. The channel is fairly narrow and the shortest crossing point between England and France is a mere 43 kilometres from New Romney in Kent to Boulogne. The depth of the channel shallows around the coastal waters and in an easterly direction. The deepest spot of water is 120 metres at the entrance to the Strait of Dover, but the average depth is around 40-60 metres, making it a very accessible patch of sea for divers!

As far as diving is concerned, the channel holds many delights in the form of wrecks. It is littered with them along its entire length and the range of depths on offer means there is something for any level of diver. The wrecks, of course, are home to a large number of marine creatures, satisfying those of you who prefer to look at fish rather than the carcasses of ships. However, even those of you who aren't wreck diving fans would have to agree that there are some fantastic wreck dives out there. There are hundreds of war casualties and many ships that well over a hundred metres in length. Other than wreck dives, steady currents provide the opportunity to go drift diving almost anywhere along the south coast. There are a limited number of shore dives available such as Swanage Pier. The Mulberrys, a temporary harbour wall built for the D-Day landings are now home to plenty of life and make an interesting scenic dive.

On dive site directory the south coast dive site map runs from Kent in the east to Dorset in the west.

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