Many think that the UK isn’t blessed with the most exotic, clear waters for diving exploration, and they would be wrong.
The UK is littered with some fascinating diving locations, just take a look at our article on Where to Suba Dive in 2017 for some solid proof that we do have some amazing dive sites around Britain.
However, that’s not what we’re talking about today, today, we’re looking at arguably the best diving location in the whole of Britain, Cornwall.
Diving in Cornwall?
What makes Cornwall such a sought-after diving location, is that it has depths that will suit anyone.
For the people that enjoy the shallows and simple sea life exploration, to the ones who want to dive-in deep and scout for sunken wrecks, Cornwall is a place that truly has it all.
A quick heads-up:
Visibility – on a particularly good day, it can reach upwards of 30 metres, whereas bad days you may find a restriction of 10 metres. If you feel the visibility is exceptionally bad, why not give it a miss and go surfing until it clears up?
Cost – you’ll find that the average boat dive in Cornwall ranges between £20-25. However, you’d be wise to check on our site for updates on where we’ll be heading on our diving tours. We have visited Cornwall in the past, so keep checking in to see when we’re next there!
The Reefs and Cornwall’s Shipwrecks
The Manacles are now very renowned in Cornwall, specifically for sinking ships (over 50, in fact), and they have been a natural home for the surrounding sea life. The Manacles were also nominated as one of the best marine conservation areas! Playing host to two of the UK’s most favoured diving wrecks, the James Egan Layne and the WWII Liberty Ship, it’s not surprising it earn't its nomination.
Inside Cornwall’s Sea Life
It’s no secret that Cornwall has an abundance of natural sea life. Take the Pink Sea Fans, for example, they’re most commonly found around reefs and shipwrecks lower to the seabed. Many of the wrecks and reefs are covered in Dead Man’s Fingers, Plumose Anemones, and Jewel Anemones, all of which combine to create a stunning sea life canvas. Be careful, though, as Conger Eels are known to hide within these wrecks and nearby caves.
As stated previously, Cornwall has a broad and varied list of diving areas, suitable for all diving niches. There are dives for those who do not seek to delve into the depths, to those looking for a 100m deep diving adventure! Falmouth for example, has five different dive shores on wrecks as well as reefs. Cornwall actually has many shipwreck sites that are seldom explored, mainly because of the erratic tidal ranges it brings. The fast-moving water off the north coast can hit speeds of up to 7mph, though this usually stops after high and low water, which sometimes tempts the lobsters, crabs and octopuses to come out and scour the shores.
When is the best time to dive in Cornwall?
Cornwall’s waters, as many know, can be quite dangerous and erratic, depending on wind and its direction. Due to this, even the most experienced divers and sailors can get it wrong sometimes, and be caught in a nasty tidal crossfire. With that being said, Cornwall is arguably the best location to dive in the whole of the UK!
When is it warmest? – for warmth, you’d obviously be looking between June and September, though you can dive all year round. Underwater visibility reaches its peak in the summer months, so this is arguably the best time to dive.
When is the best time to dive? – this depends on what you’re looking for! Again, you can dive all year round, but for example, Basking Sharks and other fish are usually more present during May-June just so long as it isn’t too windy. These are the best months for underwater photography due to the visibility factor.
Scuba Diving Conditions
Here are some of the tips for the diving conditions you can expect to experience in Cornwall:
Water Temperature – varies between 16 degrees between June and October, to lows of 7 degrees in January to March.
Depth Range – some wrecks are actually visible from the water’s surface, whereas others can be found over 90 metres below! The best place for reef life is around 20 metres where the seaweed does not grow.
Visibility – as discussed before, it depends when you go! Average visibility ranges between 1-30m. the deeper you traverse, the better the visibility (usually), so on average, the visibility is about 10m.
Snorkelling in Cornwall
If you’ve exhausted your diving fancy, then why not give snorkelling a go?
You can obviously snorkel anywhere in Cornwall, though, there are three main diving sisters that you may want to look out for! You’ll find that in Cornwall, most of the shallow sites will be covered in seaweed, so your visibility will be severely hampered. Falmouth plays host to two German WW2 boats, Castle Beach also has one and if you fancy trekking to Sennen Cove, you’ll find an English Submarine! Maenporth Beach (Falmouth) has the remains of the Ben Asdale, a 422-ton fishing trawler. The boat is even visible at high tide! If it’s shipwrecks you’re into, why not take a look at my article on the Most Mysterious Shipwrecks!
Remember, Dive Safely in Cornwall!
Diving in Cornwall is one of the best experiences you can have as a diver. However, there are steps to ensure your safety that you will have to take. Taking out some travel insurance may be beneficial, as accidents do happen, despite how rare they may be. As long as you are under the wing of a trusted instructor and/or tour guide, you’re sure to be in safe hands.
If you’re interested in diving elsewhere, then take a look at what we have on offer on our tour section. We do go up to Cornwall occasionally, so keep checking for our tour updates!