The video below is a short taster for content on the History Hit site. This piece describes how important the Mulberry Harbours were and what they look like today. It is also in part an advert for the channel.

 

John Henry Phillips, Daniel Oron (Director), along with Alison Mayor and Martin Davies from the Southsea Sub Aqua Club dive into the behind the scenes of the search for LCH185; as captured in the documentary "No Roses on a Sailor's Grave."

 

 

 

Exclusive: Learn what it took to put the expedition together, how John learned to dive, what it's like to perform an off-shore dive in the English Channel, and the challenges the team faced along the way. Southsea Sub-Aqua Club members won the Nautical Archaeology Society (NAS) 2019 Adopt a Wreck Award for the search of the landing craft sunk during the D-Day landings.

 

The video below, published on the YouTube channel Real Engineering, gives an overview of the Mulberry Harbours and their construction. It includes various pieces of film showing them being used and the damage caused by the storm on June 19th 1944 which destroyed Mulberry A.

 

On this page, we'll list some of the popular diving sites in the local area, along with some useful information such as which tidal resources are best used and the location of the site.

 

There are a number of diving books available to help find a local dive site. Whilst some were written a few years back, the core information is still valid. For the older ones, you should double-check their location as some aren't too accurate. the wrecksite.eu website mentioned below does provide more current information. The books include:

 

Once you know the site/s that you wish to dive, wrecksite.eu can provide the GPS coordinates.

Do take a look at the list of diving projects which SSAC members have undertaken. Whilst a good number are based off Normandy, many of them are on local dive sites and they can make excellent dives.

 

** Under development **

December 2021: This page is currently being built. Some information may be incomplete. Where possible photos may be added too.

 

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Planning dives often requires local knowledge, good tides and some luck with the weather. There are a number of tools that a diver can use to help make things happen in a safe manner and at the right time.

A BSAC Dive Leader and BSAC Advanced Diver will have been given some training to help plan a dive safely using things such as charts, tides and weather forecasts. Where once a diver would have been using paper charts, tide books and tuned in to the shipping forecast on Radio 4, today those tools are often electronic. With the Internet, it is often possible to get some accurate information too when it comes to tides and weather.

The reference material below may be of use to visiting divers.

 

 Charts

Our club RHIB uses electronic charts that are regularly updated. This does not mean that we do not use paper charts to help plan some dives. The charts listed below cover our local area.

These best Admiralty charts for diving in our area:

  • 536 Beachy Head to Dungeness
  • 1652 Selsey Bill to Beachy Head
  • 2022 Harbours and Anchorages in the East Solent Area
  • 2037 Eastern Approaches to the Solent
  • 2045 Outer Approaches to the Solent
  • 2625 Approaches to Portsmouth
  • 3418 Langstone and Chichester Harbours

These should allow you to review the local area for hidden areas that are shallow, especially when approaching the Langstone Harbour entrance and Selsey public slip at or near low water.

 

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Tides

In the Solent area, Portsmouth Harbour is the main reference point for any tides. Slack times are normally expressed as before or after high water Portsmouth.

Portsmouth Tide times (tidetimes.org.uk) Portsmouth Tide Times (tideschart.com)

Stokes Bay, Gosport (tideschart.com)

Selsey Bill times can be useful for shore dives off Selsey.

Selsey Bill Tide Times (tidetimes.org.uk) Selsey East Beach (tideschart.com)

Usefully, NAB Tower has its own tide times too.

Nab Tower Tide Times (tidetimes.org.uk) Nab Tower Tide Times (tideschart.com)

For those people who prefer to use their mobile phones for the times of the tides, the following apps may be useful, but the information is often just the times and heights at ports.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=me.tidesnear.free

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/tides-near-me/id585223877?mt=8

These free apps and many online sites will only provide tidal times up to seven days in advance. For long-term planning, it may be better to invest in a product that can provide tidal information for a much longer period.

The Admiralty Tide Calc software is one such product. Whilst it isn’t as cheap as a local tide book, it could be a valuable club purchase.

https://www.admiralty.co.uk/digital-services/admiralty-digital-publications/admiralty-totaltide

For many dive sites, we refer to various nearby tidal diamonds to help calculate slack water. These include:

SN005AD (Sandown Bay)

SN005AE (east south-east of Ventnor)

SN007D (south of Nab Tower)

SN007E (Bracklesham Bay)

SN007F (south of Selsey Bill)

SN007H (south-east of Selsey Bill)

We’ve found that SN007G tends to not be very useful for the dive sites we visit, even when they appear to be close. Often the slack water times are more accurate with either SN007F or SN007H.

There are several WW1 & WW2 U-Boats further out into the channel. There are nearby tidal diamonds that are available to help predict the respective slack water times.

 

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Weather

As anywhere else around the British Isles, the wind is the biggest factor for calling a dive off in the Solent and surrounding area.

Easterlies or south easterlies are the worse as there is very little protection from the elements for most of the nearby dive sites from these winds. Whilst a westerly isn’t popular, there is often a chance that you’ll get some shelter from the wind in the Bracklesham Bay area.

The list below is the prime places on land for checking the forecast for diving in the Solent local area.

  • Stokes Bay
  • Southsea
  • Selsey
  • Bracklesham Bay

Providing the wind isn’t too strong, diving off Selsey is normally fine with westerly to northerly winds.

Most of the boat dives are a little distance from the shore, so a limit of F4 should be observed in a RIB. Don’t forget to add some additional time for travelling to & from the dive site too as your passengers will be in for a rough ride, even in an F3. Forecasting is definitely an important tool for planning dives and there are often as many different forecasts as there are sources available for them. Please do look around at multiple sources and don’t take one single forecast as likely to be 100% correct. The links below can help but when you arrive do take a look around.

Stokes Bay

Stokes Bay (Met Office)

Stokes Bay (WeatherForecast.co.uk)

Stokes Bay Sailing Club

[powr-weather id="fe33528a_1639959542"]

Southsea

Southsea (Met Office)

Southsea (Weatherforcast.co.uk)

[powr-weather id="450e8e8c_1639959642"]

Selsey

Selsey (Met Office)

Selsey (WeatherForecast.co.uk)

[powr-weather id="a2bbc3b9_1639959813"]

Bracklesham Bay

Bracklesham Bay (Met Office)

Bracklesham Bay (WeatherForecast.co.uk)

[powr-weather id="1d0761d5_1639959761"]

 

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Weather Apps & websites (updated March 2019)

For most UK divers we don't tend to worry about things such as rain or sunshine. Although it is always nice to dive when the weather is good, it is the wind that has the greatest impact on our ability to dive safely. Heavy rain and fog can impair visibility, so must also be taken into consideration. The apps below provide some useful data for wind strength (up to 7 days). Some offer longer-term forecasts for a fee. In practice, such long-term forecasting is often changeable and therefore isn't generally relied upon.

Some of the apps and sites provide information on wind speed and direction in graphical terms, making it much easier to plan your diving. For example, it might be blowing a strong Westerly F4, but close into the East side of the Isle of Wight, it is possible to gain some shelter.

MagicSeaWeed

MagicSeaWeed website

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.phonegap.MSWMobile

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/msw-surf-forecast/id322103952?mt=8

Météo Marine

Marine Weather website

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.lachainemeteo.marine.androidapp&hl=en_GB

https://itunes.apple.com/fr/app/la-chaine-meteo/id324565014?mt=8

Met Office Weather app

Met Office website

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=uk.gov.metoffice.weather.android

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/met-office-weather-forecast/id1068146838?mt=8

PredictWind Marine Forecasts (registration required)

Predict Wind website

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.predictwind.mobile.android&rdid=com.predictwind.mobile.android

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/predictwind-marine-forecasts/id477048487?mt=8

Yachting Weather

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=de.esirion.yachtingweather

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/yachting-weather/id371339359

 

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** Under development **

July 2019: This page is currently being built. Some information may be incomplete. Where possible photos may be added too.

There are a few tempting sites locally for some shore dives. As there is a lot of potential for boat traffic in the area and other potential issues, it is highly recommended that each diver carry their own dSMB and know how to deploy and use it. As a club, we often teach even out Ocean Divers how to use an SMB as even when on the club’s RIB, they are an essential piece of kit.

Selsey

Our favourite shore dive is by the Lifeboat station in Selsey. When diving here it is very important that each diver carries a dSMB. An SMB must be deployed between buddies at all times when in the water. Do not dive immediately in from off the new Lifeboat Station.

Mulberry Marine Experiences have published some great safety information on this site. Consider this a ‘Must read’ before diving here. In the past, a lifeboat launch had to be cancelled due to divers in the wrong place and without an SMB. Please don’t make it another.

The maximum depth for the dive is around 6-8m.

Slack water is around 4 hours before high water Portsmouth (or Selsey Bill) and 3 hours after. The best dive for visibility is on the 3 hours after. Neap tides offer the better and longer slack.

As this site is exposed, when the wind is blowing onshore, the waves can make it dangerous to get in and out of the sea. For this reason, it is best dived with westerly to northerly winds. Avoid diving with an easterly or south-easterly wind.

Sadly the old Lifeboat Station on the pier has now been removed. All the struts were removed too. There are a few items on the seabed where it used to be. When the pier was there, it was possible to see just how much the current runs along this shore. Please do get the tides & timings right, or you’ll have a long walk back to the car at best.

The stony beach can make it a challenge after the dive.

Do check the Selsey Lifeboat Station website and Facebook page for any events. For example, the Selsey Lifeboat Station has an annual launch day and also has a raft race too. This could mean that parking is difficult at best and it may be almost impossible to leave the area, let alone dive, during these times.

The Lifeboat Inn is very popular at the weekend for families, so please remember to watch out for the little’uns running around. The pub provides an excellent place to debrief after the dive and to complete your logbooks before heading home.

 

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Southsea Pier

In the past diving in and around the pier at Southsea was popular. Currently, it is no longer a good idea to dive under Southsea Pier. The pier is in danger of collapse and pieces have fallen into the water.

There is a plan to renovate the pier. This could take a few years. During this time it will be even more dangerous to dive near the pier.

 

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Gosport/Stokes Bay

Off the beach by the GAFIRS lifeboat station (east side of the slipway) are the remains of the pier that was a part of the Gosport railway. The pier was once used by a ferry service that went to the Isle of Wight.

The maximum depth is around 6-8m.

There isn’t much left and the few struts remaining are easily confused with a reef. For this reason, there aren’t many hidey holes for marine life.

Visibility can probably best be described as “interesting”. Ranging from zero & dark to a couple of meters, but illuminated.

Do get the tides right as you’ll easily and quickly find yourself heading towards Southampton or Southsea. It would also be prudent to use an SMB during the dive. There is a sailing club based nearby and the lifeboat crew won’t be too happy if they are unable to launch either due to not knowing where the divers are.

A few club members dived this site a couple of times in 2017 whilst looking for an anchor that someone else had kindly left behind. They were boat dives for the safety of everyone. Off the pier, the bottom is very much “Solent ooze” with little, if any, signs of life. There are better places for a bimble.

 

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Vobster Quay, September 2018 ©Robyn Peel 2018
Vobster Quay, September 2018 ©Robyn Peel 2018

In the local area, we have Andark Lake available for training. This lake was built by Andark after public access was lost to Horsea Island. Horsea Island is now only available to the military and is used as the base for training, not just for Royal Navy divers, but also for the other services.

Andark’s freshwater lake is about 7m deep and has a few items to allow the diver to explore. It’s great for checking out your kit or practising a few skills. Visibility can be good if it is quiet, but on a busy day, it can be easily stirred up.

For anything else, club members will typically travel to Vobster which is around 2 hours drive from the Portsmouth area. Occasionally some members will travel to Stoney Cove, which is around a 3-hour drive from the Portsmouth area.

 

Approximate locations of sites   Image of Earth courtesy of the ISS, NASA (2022)
Approximate locations of sites Image of Earth courtesy of the ISS, NASA (2022)

 

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There are several businesses in the local area which serve the diving community. Whether you are looking for gas, new dive gear or want it servicing, along with cylinder testing, between them, there is a very comprehensive range of products available. You can also learn to dive through some of them. Whilst the dive shops will offer new gear, please do not be put off when they say that the specific item you are looking for is not in stock. Their knowledge and experience will help you to get the right item for you.

Please note: The listing of any business here does not mean that Southsea Sub-Aqua Club endorses its products and services.

 

 

Important note: With Covid-19 issues, many shops have been opening in different ways to "normal". Many of the businesses listed have also been affected. Please check their respective websites or social media pages prior to popping in.

 

Solent Divers

Our most local dive shop is Solent Divers, which are located in Portsmouth.

Air is available to 232 BAR. Nitrox and Trimix are not available.

Address: 122-128 Lake Rd, Portsmouth PO1 4HH

Telephone: 023 9281 4924

Opening hours:

Monday

8am–4:30pm

Tuesday

8am–4:30pm

Wednesday 

8am–4:30pm

Thursday

8am–4:30pm

Friday

8am–4:30pm

Saturday

8am–4:30pm

Sunday

Closed

They stock a range of dive gear and accessories. If you would like something else, they will order anything they don’t currently have on the shelves. If you want your regs serviced, then this is a good place to visit. Cylinders can be brought here too for testing or O2 servicing.

Solent Divers make their own neoprene suits to order.

 

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Safety Air Services

Safety Air Services is a part of Solent Divers that is located in the Portsmouth area. They primarily test and service cylinders. Should you wish to have your Scuba cylinders tested, you can take them to Solent Divers and collect them from there once the testing is complete.

Address: 32 Middle Street, Southsea, Hampshire  PO5 4BP

email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Website: https://safetyairservices.co.uk/

Telephone: 02392 294 560

Opening times:

Monday:

8.00 to 17.00

Tuesday

8.00 to 17.00

Wednesday 

8:00 to 17:00

Thursday

8:00 to 17:00

Friday

8:00 to 17:00

Saturday

Closed

Sunday

Closed

 

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Triton Scuba

Based in Southsea Triton Scuba is PADI 5 Star shop that can supply all your diving needs. Air and Nitrox are available.

Address: 161 Highland Rd, Portsmouth PO4 9EY

Website: http://www.tritonscuba.co.uk/

Telephone: 023 9283 8773

Opening times:

Monday:

9.00 to 17.00

Tuesday

9.00 to 17.00

Wednesday 

9:00 to 17:00

Thursday

9:00 to 17:00

Friday

9:00 to 17:00

Saturday

9:00 to 17:00

Sunday

9:00 to 17:00 

 

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Andark

Just up the M27/A27, near to Southampton, is Andark.

Air (up to 300 BAR), Nitrox and Trimix is available.

Address: 256 Bridge Road, Lower Swanwick, Southampton, Hampshire  SO31 7FL

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Website: https://andark.co.uk/

Telephone: 01489 581755

Opening hours:

Monday

10am - 6.30pm

Tuesday

10am - 5.00pm

Wednesday 

10am - 6.30pm

Thursday

10am - 5.00pm

Friday

10am - 5.00pm

Saturday

9am - 5:00pm

Sunday

By appointment only

Andark stocks a wide range of gear for water sports users, including divers. As a PADI 5 Star centre with their own swimming pool and purpose-built lake, they are in a very good position to offer diver training. They can service your regs. Cylinders can be brought in for testing or O2 servicing.

 

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Obsequio

Based in Curdridge, Obsequio offers a range of services, including testing cylinders and servicing dive gear.

Address: Unit 3A Calcot Mount Business Park, Calcot Lane, Curdridge  SO32 2BN

email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Website: https://www.obsequio.ltd

Telephone: 0333 355 0824

Opening times:

Monday:

8.30 to 17.00

Tuesday

8.30 to 17.00

Wednesday 

8:30 to 17:00

Thursday

8:30 to 17:00

Friday

8:30 to 17:00

Saturday

By prior arrangement

Sunday

Closed

 

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Southern Cylinder Services

Based in Fort Fareham, Southern Cylinder Services offers a range of services, including testing & filling cylinders and servicing dive gear.

Air & Nitrox fills are available.

Address: Unit 18 Northern Galleries, Fort Fareham Ind Site, Newgate Lane, Fareham PO14 1AH

email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Website: https://www.southerncylinders.co.uk

Telephone: 01329 221125

Opening times:

Monday:

8.00 to 16.30

Tuesday

8.00 to 16.30

Wednesday 

8:00 to 16:30

Thursday

8:00 to 16:30

Friday

8:00 to 16:30

Saturday

Closed

Sunday

Closed

 

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Mulberry Marine Experiences

(previously known as Mulberry Divers)

Based in Selsey, Mulberry Marine Experiences is an SSI Diamond Dive Centre. They offer a selection of both Scuba and Freediving courses.

Air & Nitrox to 300 BAR.

Address: 9 Orchard Parade, East Beach, Selsey, West Sussex  PO20 0NS

email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Website: https://www.mulberry-me.co.uk/

Telephone: 01243 601000

Opening hours:

Monday:

Closed

Tuesday

Closed

Wednesday 

9:00 to 17:00

Thursday

9:00 to 17:00

Friday

9:00 to 17:00

Saturday

9:00 to 17:00

Sunday

10:00 to 17:00 

Please note: When the boat Mulberry Diver is operating, the Dive Centre opens 1 hour prior to the first boat of the day to allow for booking in and collection of equipment.

Mulberry Marine Experiences offer a range of goodies for the Scuba diver and freediver. They keep a good stock of dive gear and can easily order anything that isn’t on the shelves. As an SSI Diamond Dive Centre, they offer a good range of diver courses for the beginner to the experienced.

They often run Marshalled Dives off the beach near the Selsey Lifeboat Station, when the tides are right.

If you require your regs to be serviced, then you can bring them in here. Cylinders can be brought in for testing or O2 servicing.

 

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Island Divers

Based in Cowes, on the Isle of Wight, Island Divers is a PADI 5 Star Dive Centre. They offer a selection of PADI Scuba courses.

Air & Nitrox are both available.

Address: Shepards Wharf, Madina Road, Cowes, Isle of  Wight  PO31 7HT

email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Website: https://www.iowdivers.co.uk

Telephone: 01983 240255

Opening hours:

Monday:

Closed

Tuesday

10:00 to 16:00

Wednesday 

10:00 to 16:00

Thursday

10:00 to 16:00

Friday

10:00 to 16:00

Saturday

10:00 to 15:00

Sunday

Closed

 

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Around the UK are many places where boats can be launched and recovered. Often these places are privately owned but there are many public sites too.

Below is a list of local launch sites that may be of use to you. In many cases, fees may be payable locally. It is possible that recent weather conditions may affect the launch site and some sites may not always be suitable in all conditions. Please check the suitability of the launch site for your own boats and what fees may be applicable for your boat. The sites below don't require you to join a local club, such as a yacht club. Most of the launch sites are accessible at all states of the tide. Many run over stones, so you would be advised to use a 4x4 vehicle that is suitably equipped for both launching and recovering the boat.

General advice on towing, launching and recovering RIBs for Divers

Lee-on-the-Solent, Hampshire

Stokes Bay, Hampshire - No2 Battery

Stokes Bay, Hampshire - GAFIRS

Gosport, Hampshire

Eastney, Portsmouth, Hampshire

Hayling Island, Hampshire

East Whittering, West Sussex

East Beach, Selsey, West Sussex

Littlehampton, West Sussex

 

General advice on towing, launching and recovering RIBs for Divers

The video below was presented by Dave Pegler, an Advanced Instructor and First Class Diver, based in the Dorset area.

Useful links from the above video and a couple of others

Note: The law on towing changed after the above video was recorded, so please read up on what is current. Do check to see that this link is still current. The link below was correct in November 2021.

New rules for towing a trailer with a car from 16 December 2021

Checks before you tow

Boat Launch UK website

Planning - Risk Assessments by Dave Pegler (BSAC Membership required)

Safety on the boat (BSAC Website) (various links to useful pages)

BSAC Safe Diving Guide - Seamanship

Guidelines for the Safe Operation of Member Club Dive Boats

BSAC Seamanship Courses

Level 2 Powerboat Handling

 

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Lee-on-the-Solent, Hampshire

Until recently the slipway opposite what is now the Hovercraft Museum on the old HMS Daedalus site was fully open to boat launches. Recently a barrier has been erected and there is now a height limit. Also, the museum has been chartering more Hovercraft trips between Lee-on-the-Solent and Ryde on the Isle of Wight. It may still be possible to launch some RIBs from here, but the height limit (details to follow) may stop many club boats as the A-Frame may be too high.

At the time of writing, there is no fee for launching a RIB.

Hovercraft Museum

 

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Stokes Bay, Hampshire

There are a couple of potential launch sites at Stokes Bay. If there is a large event happening then all the car parks can become full. Traffic can also become an issue and it has been known for Stokes Bay Road to become closed or restricted to one-way traffic.

The first is near to the Diving Museum. With a suitable 4x4 vehicle, it is possible to launch over the stones. The car park is Pay & Display. The public toilets are locked up in the evenings.

Gosport Diving Museum

The better launch site is the concrete slipway beside GAFIRS. The suggestion is to prepare your boat prior to moving onto the slip, then keep your boat clear on the side where the Lifeboat Station is when you launch and later retrieve your boat. There is a good carpark at this site, with plenty of space providing that there is no local event happening. The parking is pay & display. The public toilets are locked up in the evenings.

Gilkicker Car Park

 

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Hardway Slipway, Gosport, Hampshire

Please remember to follow the Portsmouth Harbour small boats procedures and any other applicable procedures whilst within the harbour area. There are times when the entrance may be closed, such as when one of the carriers is moving in or out. It is highly recommended that you check for any shipping movements to ensure that these times do not interfere with your dive planning.

Gosport Public Slipway, Hardway Slipway - Bye-laws

Hardway Slipway Car Park

 

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Eastney, Portsmouth, Hampshire

Free parking is nearby. You must pay the local harbour fees for Langstone Harbour. These can be paid over the phone or in person.

Launching and recovery of the boat is done over the beach. Often the stones form a small mound that can make if “challenging” to get a boat & trailer over. Should this be a problem, then you can contact the local council to ask them to clear it. Typically this may take a few days to be done. It is highly recommended that you have some long strops to help recover your boat if it is heavy or you are likely to have issues moving on the beach.

Do observe the local speed limit whilst in the harbour area of 10kts. As you head out to the Solent, there is a speed limit sign on the end of a pier used by locals for fishing. After this point, you may increase your speed.

There are no public toilets available at the slipway. The nearest toilets are located either at a nearby restaurant, which is a short walk away or on the other side of the water behind The Ferry Boat Inn on Hayling Island. Should you need to use the toilets at the restaurant, please be respectful as they are not keen on lots of divers traipsing in wearing their diving suits. The toilets on Hayling Island are better and it isn't too difficult to get to from the slipway or the Hayling Ferry Jetty.

There is normally a good refreshments trailer located near the Lifeboat station where you can get hot food & drink.

 

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Hayling Island, Hampshire

Whilst this is a public slipway, as with the Eastney Public slip you must pay the local harbour fees for Langstone Harbour. Nearby Public Parking is available, but charges do apply for around half the year. Check for any changes online, as like many others, Havant Borough Council have changed the policy in recent years and it may be only a matter of time before they may the charges applicable all year round.

The public toilets are normally well looked after. Food and drink are available in the popular Ferryboat Inn.

Whilst the slipway on Hayling Island is easier to launch and recover from, we typically prefer to use the one at Eastney as the parking is free.

 

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East Whittering, West Sussex

Billy's on the Beach, Bracklesham Lane, Bracklesham Bay, Chichester, West Sussex  PO20 8JH

Launching here is completed with the use of a tractor that will take the boat and trailer over the beach. There is a fee for this service. Although Southsea has used this in the past, we mostly launch either at Eastney or Selsey for wrecks in this area.

 

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East Beach, Selsey, West Sussex

The route to the slipway starts at the far side of the public car park. The slipway is built from wooden cross-beams that are weathered. As a result, it is slippery when wet. The design is such that it also gets steeper towards the end, making it challenging for those who are familiar with reversing a trailer. It is recommended that you have some chocks to stop the vehicle from sliding down the slip and also some long strops to help recover the boat & trailer.

Caution: There have been a few incidents where people have had their boat, trailer or car fall off the slipway in poor conditions. The RNLI has been called out to assist. If it's too slippery, use the chocks and strops.

The road from the car part to Public Slipway at Selsey

Note: There is a turning point hidden behind the bushes in the image above.

Selsey Public Slipway
Selsey Public Slipway (near high water)

Note: In this third image you can see the general shape of the slipway. The water was approaching high water when the photo was taken. It gets steeper further down. The slipway does not extend into the sea at low water, so you may find yourself on the beach when launching or recovering at these times.

The height barrier to the public car park opens around 6am and closes at 9pm. The gatekeeper lives locally, so may see you if you arrive a little early. Do thank him for his troubles. Outside of these times, cars can get in or out, but not a RHIB and its A-frame or camper van.

Remember to pay and display before you head off to your dive site. The parking here is cheap for all-day parking. 1st April 2019 - 31st October 2019 the charges are 30pfor up to 1 hour, then £1.60 for over one hour. The charges are applicable every day of the week, including bank holiday

There are public toilets and a friendly cafe at the farther end of the car park to the public slip. If you need gas or dive gear, Mulberry Divers aren’t too far away either. It is possible to walk to them, but for getting a fill, it may be better to take the car.

The picture below was taken between dives as members who had dived the earlier dive were removing their empty cylinders and others for the second dive were putting their sets aboard.

Southsea Explorer being loaded (May 2019)

 

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Littlehampton, West Sussex

The public slipway at Littlehampton is off the estuary. Parking is available and harbour dues are required.

Parking for both the trailer and cars is nearby. There are also rules to be obeyed whilst in the harbour. All the necessary information, with various links, is available on the page linked below.

Littlehampton Public Slipway information

 

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Disclaimer

Whilst we have done our best to provide good and useful information on this page, things can and will change periodically that are out of the control of SSAC. Please do not blindly rely on the information on this page and double-check that the information is still current.

July 2019: This page is currently being built. Some information may be incomplete. Where possible photos may be added too.

November 2021: This page continues to be revised periodically. More photos will be added in due course to help illustrate some of the slipways.

 

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Diving around the UK can be a great experience. There are many shore dives available and even more sites of interest that are far enough away from the coast to require a boat to take us there and bring us back safely. Boats are expensive to own and operate and many people operate commercially so that people can go diving. The list below is not an endorsement by Southsea Sub-Aqua Club. It is intended to help other divers find boats that can be chartered or where spaces are available to go diving in the local area.

Lymington, Hampshire

Wight Spirit Diving Charters

 

Selsey, West Sussex

Mulberry Marine Experiences

Previously known as Mulberry Divers.

 

Littlehampton, West Sussex

OurJoy Fishing & Diving

 

Isle of Wight

Island Divers Ltd

Wight Dolphins (BSAC Branch 807)

Whilst, not a commercial outfit, Wight Dolphins have been known to take visiting divers out on club trips. Please do contact them first.

 

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Subcategories

Over the years our club has used a variety of local facilities to help us go diving. There are also a variety of different dive sites available to meet the needs of divers with a wide range of experience and interests.

  1. Boat Charters
  2. Launch sites
  3. Dive Shops (Gas & Gear)
  4. Inland diving
  5. Shore Dives
  6. Boat Dives
  7. Charts, tides & weather
HMS A1
HMS A1

We are lucky to be located in the middle of the south coast. The local area offers the possibility of a range of diving from shallow easy dives for a trainee diver, to deeper, more challenging dives for the experienced mixed gas diver. The sites are often based around a wreck, with a few gullies or reefs too. The wrecks include a wide range of crafts. They are not limited to just shipwrecks from both wars, even if these are the more common. We have a range of historic sites including the Mulberry Harbours, Tanks & Bulldozers, aircraft, and submarines. There are a few protected sites too, such as the HMS A1, HMS Invincible & Thorness Bay protected wrecks which are diveable with the permission of the respective Licensees.

Tompot Blenny ©Martin Davies 2008
Tompot Blenny ©Martin Davies 2008

Sealife varies from season to season. It includes things such as sponges, pink fan coral, Pollack, blennies, pipefish, common starfish, painted top shells, whelks, mussels, oysters, scallops, cuttlefish, dogfish, wrasse, a variety of crabs, lobsters, eels, rays and many flatfish. If you are lucky, then you may be accompanied by a pod of dolphins on your way to the dive site!

Picking the right conditions can be tricky. The Solent Ooze covers some areas and can contribute to the debris floating in the water column. It isn’t helpful when the dredgers are busy improving the local harbours which would otherwise silt up. There are a couple of dumping grounds, the most popular being just south of the Nab Tower to the east of the shipping channel on the east side of the Isle of Wight.

Club RHIB ©Rob Dawson 2018
Club RHIB ©Rob Dawson 2018

The local tidal forces are unique. The Isle of Wight has an effect and when the conditions are right, you can get a double high tide. This can make planning slack water “interesting” at times. Some areas are better dived at low water slack, whilst a few are better dived at high water slack. There are a handful of drift dives, but most diving is best completed on slack water.

Guides such as “Dive Isle of Wight and Hampshire” or “Dive Sussex” are useful for identifying many of the local dive sites. They haven’t been updated for a few years and there are several errors in many of the listed sites as a result of time and more up to date information becoming available. For more accurate GPS marks, it can be better to use the website https://www.wrecksite.eu/ .

** Under development **

July 2019: This section is currently being built. Some information may be incomplete. Where possible photos may be added too.

 

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Members of Southsea Sub-Aqua Club often plan a weekend, long weekend, week or longer trips together to a variety of places either in the UK or abroad. Sometimes a member of the group will put together a diary or report and illustrate it with some images of the holiday. Often too they'll include a little humour as well. Below are some diaries and reports of what they got up to on a few of the trips. Many are holidays and a few are about the expeditions or projects which members have been involved with too.

 

Britain has relied upon the seas surrounding her for many millennia. Whether it has been for fishing, the import and export of goods, travelling and exploration or for protecting her shores from potential invaders. Occasionally a craft has failed to complete its journey and has sunk below the waves, leaving a wreck. More often this has been caused by a storm at sea, but can also have been caused by an accident (i.e. collision), navigational error or through warfare.

Southsea Sub-Aqua Club has a long history of wreck site investigation, the most well-known being "Project Solent Ships" which directly led to the discovery of the Mary Rose, but we didn't stop there. Over the years the Club has developed an association with a number of local wreck sites and some off the Normandy coast.

The projects involve a number of different types and ages of wrecks. They include ships, landing craft, aeroplanes, Mulberry harbours, armoured bulldozers and tanks from the two World Wars, as well as older wrecks, much older.

Today there are various courses available to help divers to record the sites and various members have completed such courses. They may have been completed within the club or through other organisations, such as the Nautical Archeology Society (NAS) or a University.

Some techniques have changed over the years as new technologies have become available. Where once an accurate sketch may have been sufficient, today you'll often find people still using tape measures and underwater slates, but also you'll find some using underwater cameras to help produce stills, video and 3D images. Often local and national news services have become interested in the stories of the projects too.

The articles below provide links to the various projects. They include photos and drawings of the sites, a record of the kind of life observed by the teams as well as some history to help bring them back to life.