When it comes to wreck-diving, UK is probably one of the best dive destinations in the world. With thousands of ship wrecks scattered all across the isles, there is always a wreck an avid diver can explore in every known dive destination in the Kingdom. Some sites offer even more scenic spots and unique animal encounters under water that no other destinations can provide. Here’s a list of the top 7 dive sites in the UK.
Weymouth and Portland, Dorset
Weymouth has more than 120 wrecks within a 20-mile radius. The wrecks include warships, submarines, steam ships and freighters, among others. The most popular are the M2, the Salsette, the Avalanche, and the Aeolian Sky. Situated in the centre of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, the area has an abundance of reef and ledge dives and are home to an amazing variety of marine life.
Plymouth is where experienced divers often explore the wreck of the HMS Scylla, a Leander-class frigate, sunk as an artificial reef in 2004. Also visible is the James Eagan Lane, a US Liberty ship that was sunk by a U-boat in World War 2. The area also has a smattering of shoals and reefs, in case divers opt for a change of scenery.
Located on the eastern side of the Lizard Peninsula, the Drawna Rocks in Porthkerris boasts of the best shore dive in England. Just a short ride to nearby Manacles are numerous wrecks such as the Mohegan, the Volnay and the Spyridion, among others. Apart from the wrecks are pinnacles, drop-offs, reefs and an abundance of marine life. During the months of May to August, Porthkerris is visited by the second largest shark in the world, the Basking shark.
Skomer Island, Pembrokeshire, Wales
This is a marine reserve with a sharp drop-off that goes down to 45m. It is the site of the Lucy, a 52m intact coaster that sunk perfectly upright in 40m of water. It’s also home to frolicking grey seals, rare gorgonian fans (found in only a handful of areas in the UK), and various crustaceans.
Isle of Man
Located in the southwest of the Isle of Man is the islet Calf of Man, which hosts a dive site called the Burroo. This is rated as one of the top 50 dive sites in the world. Due to the strong tidal currents in the area, the marine life is abundant and diverse and may possibly be the best in all of the British Isles. There is an intact wreck of a Manx trawler, the Fenella Ann. Other wrecks worth seeing are the Ringwall, SS Liverpool and the Thracian. There is also an interesting cave worth exploring in the nearby Sugar Loaf dive site.
Farne Islands, Northumberland
This area is famous for its colony of 5,000 grey seals that often accompany divers. It offers scenic wrecks such as the Somali, Chris Christianson, Abyssinia, and Britannia. It also has a pinnacle, a wall, some reefs and rocks covered with soft corals and a huge, deep-water anemone, the Bolocera.
Scapa Flow, Orkney, Scotland
This is a natural harbour offering the best wreck diving in the UK. In the area are three battleships: the Markgraf, the Kronprinz Wilhelm and the Konig; and four light cruisers: the Coln, the Brummer, the Karlsruhe and the Dresden. These are popular wrecks among the 52 ships of the German High Seas Fleet that were scuttled near Cava at the end of World War 1. Due to their sizes, it usually takes several dives to view and appreciate just one wreck. Aside from these Dreadnoughts, there are also several wrecks of fishing boats, trawlers, cargo ships and a host of others scattered all over the harbour.
Divers will have their calendars full just navigating these 7 spots in the UK. There isn’t a lack of places to explore, and definitely not a shortfall in exciting things to see.