Scotland’s diving is among the most intriguing locations in the world. From the crystal clear, highly visible waters of St Abbs on the east coast to the hauntingly mysterious wrecks of Scapa Flow in Orkney, the country’s deep waters have many hidden wonders, unkempt wrecks and some magnificent marine life.
Places to dive
The pristine coastal waters of Berwickshire are also idea for scuba diving. Uncover rocky reefs which are home to an astonishing array of marine flora and fauna at St Abbs Head National Nature Reserve, the first of its kind in Britain. It’s no surprise that divers have been coming here for decades.
Diving centres such as Barra Snorkel Safari offer guided tours of the waters around the islands which are bursting with a fascinating collection of marine life. They provide full equipment hire, including drysuits, undersuits, snorkels and fins, as well as guidance for all levels of diver.
Lochlong, nested beneath the Arrochar Alps in Argyll & The Isles is a popular spot for novice divers, a saltwater loch where many new divers become qualified. Once a torpedo testing facility during the Second World War, it still is home to a number of wreckages and is also the habitat of marine wildlife and sea plants, from moray eels to minke whales.
Scapa Flow in Orkney is one of Scotland’s best diving spots where divers can enjoy the unique opportunity of exploring the site where the German First World War fleet was scuttled in 1918. The surrounding islands of Mainland, Graemsay, Burray, South Ronaldsay and Hoy make this one of the largest sheltered anchorages in the world and it is a graveyard of sunken ships.
The Sound of Mull on the west coast of Scotland offers divers a number of exciting sites, including the wrecks of the Hispania, Rhondo, Thesis, Shuna and also the Breda, which support a variety of marine life. There are also plenty drift, shallow, scenic and shore dive sites in the area. Head a little further north to Calve Island and you will find some excellent cliff diving with pinnacles rising to over 90 m.
Divers at Churchill Barrier No.3, Orkney
Where to get PADI certified
You can find out more information about learning to dive, by visiting the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) website. PADI offers a globally recognised certification, which is accepted worldwide and their courses are taught in most dive shops all over the world. Once you have your PADI Open Water certification, you can dive to depths of 18 m.
The Edinburgh- based Deep Blue Scuba is a 5-star PADI Instructor Development Centre, which offers PADI courses from Open Water to Instructor and takes students to some of Scotland’s safest waters to master the basics. You can also do these courses at several other locations, including with Scapa Scuba in Orkney and Puffin Dive Centre in Oban.
You can also visit the Scottish Sub Aqua Club (SSAC), which offers diver training for all abilities.
Find dive centres in Scotland below.