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Take the plunge into a peaceful environment of spectacular landscapes, seaweed covered wrecks, amazing marine wildlife all in the clear, warm waters around our coast.

Diving in Northern Ireland allows you to explore the magnificent waters which boast spectacular landscapes that are teeming with marine life and dotted with amazing ship wrecks. The 400 wrecks include the HMS Drake, a torpedoed cruiser off Rathlin Island, the Alastor, a large motor yacht which sank in 1946 in Strangford Lough, the Sumatra, the largest sailing vessel wrecked on the Antrim Coast which rests of Islandmagee and even a World War II German submarine lying off the coast of Portstewart.

Diving will allow wildlife lovers to find luxurious growths of dead men's fingers and big sponges. Seals are a common sight as well as conger eels, dog fish, cuttlefish, lobsters, gunnels and gobies. Diving gives a feeling of weightlessness and freedom and the chance to explore this unique habitat first hand. All you need to do is take the plunge!

How to get started?
There are a number of dive centres in Northern Ireland who can introduce you to the sport - most of the centres offer a "try dive" experience before you would commit to doing a full course.

Diving Schools                                                                                                                                                                                                There are broadly two "schools" of diving in Northern Ireland: BSAC and PADI. PADI tends to be the more popular qualification and most divers will always check that the diving centre they go to is PADI qualified.  All PADI dive centres will include equipment hire and insurance as part of the instruction cost. Alternatively, there is also a good network of diving clubs to help you meet other divers and learn new skills. However you may be required to supply your own gear.

Is it easy?
To go diving you need to be able to swim 200m and to be able to swim or float for a further 10 minutes. You must be physically fit and be a minimum age of eight years to learn to dive in a pool, or 10 years for open water diving. After an hour's training, you can take your first dive, either in sheltered sea conditions or in a swimming pool.

Is it expensive?
The 'Discover Scuba Diving' course is a standard, worldwide course with PADI accreditation. It costs approximately £35 for around 1 hour's instruction/try dive, and contributes to the full PADI course. If you continue to study for the remainder of the PADI qualifications, most centres will deduct the cost of your introductory dive from a training course.

Just Some Ideas

Peninsula Charters, Portaferry

The MCA Coded North Star, based in Portaferry, is on hire from February to the end of October. Services include angling, dive charter, Stranglford Lough tours and wildlife tours, incorperating seal watching and bird watching.

North Irish Diver Ltd, Islandmagee, Larne

Gobbins Cliff Path sea tours on board 10m fast passenger rib "North Irish Diver", the quietest in NI. Skipper with over 30 years seafaring and diving experience. Fully insured and MCA/YDSA Compliant. Covered seating for 12. Commercial survey charter.

White Heather Boat Trips, Bangor

Fishing trips and cruises around Bangor Bay and Belfast Lough from Pickie Family Fun Park (Bangor seafront). 30 mins.

Zidivers, Randalstown, Antrim

Scuba Diving courses in Northern Ireland for adults and children alike – from your first breath under water to more Advanced diving at depth

Cuan Marine Services, Portaferry

Marine Surveys, diving, sight seeing trips, fishing trips. All year for some activities and June –October fishing

Aquaholics Dive Centre and Sea Safari's,

PADI FIVE STAR DIVE CENTRE with offices in Ballycastle and Portstewart.

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