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Diving in North West

Quick facts

  • Invariably dry suits are required, although a 7mm suit may be OK during the summer.
  • Plan your dive carefully and pay attention to any likely currents and slack water times.

When to go

Rain and temperature

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Water temperature

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What to see


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Most likely sightingsPossible sightings


The North West of England has poor diving conditions; visibility is very low due to the heavy industrialisation of the area, The coast has few or no sheltered areas so there are few good dive sites, with the exception of the Isle of Mann.

The area of coast between the Wirral to the Solway Firth consists of the counties of Cumbria, Lancashire, Mersey and Cheshire and is probably one of the least dived areas of the UK. The reason for this is that the coastline is made up of sandy beaches and mudflats plus a tidal range of up to 10 metres. Almost everywhere the seabed slopes gently away from the coast meaning that opportunities for shore diving are more or less impossible as the shore line slips very gently away and, as in the case of Morecombe Bay, exposes miles of sand at low tide. The influence of several major rivers The Ribble, Mersey, and Dee and the huge mud flats of the - Solway Firth and, Morecambe Bay mean that large amounts of sediment are deposited into the Irish Sea.

The best area for diving is the Isle of Man. There is good visibility, an abundance of wildlife (including colonies of common seals) and, in the summer months, basking sharks are frequent visitors.

Getting there

  • For the wreck enthusiast, there are many opportunities. Diving from Douglas offers access to a number of wrecks and some scenic drift dives. Regularly dived wreck sites are Albatross (23m), Ballina (33m), Paddle Wheel (30m), Lady Louisa (30m), Afton (24m), Liverpool (40m), Peveril (40m).
  • The Fennella Ann and the Octavia are also popular.
  • Good drifts can often be found off Langness, Santon Head, Little Ness and Douglas Bay.

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