Scotland has some of the finest scuba diving sites available in the United Kingdom, numbering approximately 130 dive sites in twenty five destinations. Along with shore diving, inland diving is also possible in Scotland, which is complemented by a good amount of marine wildlife like whales, dolphins, porpoises, otters, seals, puffins, sea eagles and terns. There are also a large number of wrecks in Scotland, though these are generally concentrated in a few places like Scapa Flow.
The most popular diving sites in Scotland are St Kilda, Scapa Flow, Loch Fyne and Isle of Mull. To get the most out of diving in Scotland, divers frequently take the guidance of dive operators. There are a large number of dive centres operating in Scotland that are both well equipped and professionally managed. Many of these centres are PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) certified and offer certification courses, dive equipment and unique diving opportunities in their nearby locality. In addition to PADI certification, some diving centres also carry additional certification from BSAC and SAA, along with a variety of customized diving training programmes. Information on some of the well known dive centres in Scotland is listed below:
Deep Blue Scuba
Deep Blue Scuba is an Edinburgh-based 5 star PADI Instructor Development Centre. It offers a wide range of scuba diving courses from beginner to instructor level throughout out the year. In addition, it organizes monthly trips to UK and overseas destinations and also runs a dive club. The shop at the centre offers the latest in scuba equipment and is available for members and non-members alike. The dive equipment can be hired for fun dives, boat dives and overnight trips.
Deep Blue Scuba offers a number of specialty courses in the field of scuba diving like Deep Diver, Project Aware Diver, Drysuit Diver, Wreck Diver and a few more. Experienced divers have the choice of going for more professional courses like Divemaster, IDC Master Instructor and can also become PADI professionals.
Deep Blue Scuba organises day trips, overnight trips or fun dives. The Day Boat Dropping package offers divers the chance to explore St Abbs and Eyemouth Marine Reserve. Each dive day consists of two boat dives and an instructor is provided to lead the trip. The package is priced at £37 per individual plus air and equipment hire, if applicable. The dive abroad trip is a liveboard dive trip to the Southern Red Sea with a chance to see sharks and large pelagic marine life. This package costs £1375 per person.
Based at Burnt Island, Dive Bunker is well-established PADI Scuba Diving School and Dive Shop. It offers a broad range of services including diver training and development, servicing and equipment and also commercial services including survey and media activities. Dive Bunker owns a well-equipped shop stocked with top brands in dive equipment. Stock items include dry suits, BCDs, regulators, fins, computers, masks and other accessories. Dive Bunker is headquartered at the Fife of Forth, which is famous as one of Scotland's best wreck diving sites. In the vicinity are wrecks complete with submarine torpedoes, mines, fighter aircraft and other world war remnants. Dive Bunker offers diving trips to ten nearby wrecks, which along with the reefs on the coast make the dive packages offered by Dive Bunker a one-of-a-kind experience.
Aquatron Diving Centre
The Aquatron Diving Centre is a PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre, with over forty years of experience in the diving business. Aquatron offers a wide range of PADI approved diver training courses for both beginners and experienced divers. The dive centre also runs a number of speciality courses like Equipment Specialist, Night Diver, Underwater Naturalist, Multilevel Diver and Underwater Navigator for the Open Water Diving course. The Advanced Open Water Diving course comprises specialized courses like Deep Diver and Search and Recovery Diver.
Aquatron also has a full range of scuba equipment available for daily rental. It also offers a servicing option on all available dive kits and equipment. Aquatron organises dive trips on the first and last Sundays of the month with all the staff, to either Loch Long or Loch Fyne. Trips are organised every month to exotic locations like the Red Sea, St Abbs and the Sound of Mull.
Lochaline Dive Centre
The Lochaline Dive Centre is the only British Sub Aqua Club in Scotland and offers a number of BSAC courses. Training dives offered at Lochaline include the Shore Dive, Nitrox dive, Shot Line dive, Wall dive and the like, and are all taught by qualified instructors. Along with BSAC courses, PADI courses are also taught here. The Lochaline Dive Centre is located at the Sound of Mull, which is home to some of Britain's most famous wrecks and therefore easy access to these is granted to club members. With access to rift, shallow and scenic dive spots, the training courses are a perfect mixture of classroom and practical teaching.
The dive centre has two dive charter vessels on offer, the Sound Diver and Sound Diver II. The centre also supplies air, nitrox, trimix and moorings for small dive boats. Lochaline has a special license for visitors to visit the protected wreck sites at Duart Point and HMS Dartmouth. These dives start at £44 per person.
Puffin Dive Centre
The Puffin Dive Centre is built on a three acre waterside site. It holds the prestigious PADI Career Development Centre and Gold Palm Five Star Instructor Development Centre ratings. Many dive sites are as close as five minutes away from the centre, making its location extremely favourable for practicing divers. The Pufin Dive Centre has many diver training and certification courses to offer, taught by experienced staff including three resident PADI Course Directors.
The Centre also houses a fully stocked retail and online shop, selling the top brands in diving equipment with masks, regulators, BCDs, fins, dry suits and under suits available. Diving equipment is also available on a weekly or daily basis for rental, along with air tanks. Refills are performed from early in the mornng to late in the evening. Puffin also organizes trips to local dive sites and reefs like the Ardouny Pier, Creran Reef, Easdale Quarry and the Puffin Reef, along with shore diving at Gallanach Bay.
Scottish Aqua Club
The Scottish Aqua Club was founded in 1973 and is one of the oldest amateur diving organisations in Europe. It is recognised by Sportscotland as the National Governing Body for Sub Aqua in Scotland. There are now around 70 branches and over 1900 members. The Scottish Aqua Club organises a range of events throughout the year including diver training events, instructor courses, social events and an annual dive conference. The qualifications awarded by the Scottish Aqua Club are recognised worldwide. The club also has third party liability diving insurance when you become a member underwritten by Rapid Insurance. It has a training program with three distinct threads: snorkelling, scuba and instructing. The specialist qualifications awarded by the club include Deep Diving Award, Dry Suit Endorsement, Nitrox, Boat Handling and Deep Rescue Endorsement.
5 Bells Diving
5 Bells Diving is run by David Black, a PADI qualified Staff Instructor with over fifteen years of experience in scuba diving. It is located on the west coast of the Scottish Highlands, which provide some of the best diving locations in the British Isles. 5 Bells offers a variety of courses from entry level ones like the PADI Open Water Dive course to more specialised courses like Dry Suit Diver and Peak Performance Buoyancy. Equipment will be available for purchase on the retail premises soon, though next day delivery is already available. Along with selling equipment, 5 Bells also performs servicing in the form of cylinder inspection and hydrostatic testing
Trips are organised frequently due to the number of dive sites present in the nearby locality. A few of the famous dive sites in the vicinity of 5 Bells are Seal Island, Avalanche Shelter, Cuddles Point, Loch Reraig, North Strome and the wreck of HMS Port Napier.
Central Scotland Dive Club
The Central Scotland Dive Club was originally set up in the seventies as the East Kilbride Sub Aqua Club, later renaming itself due to massive popularity in Central Scotland. It offers its series of diving courses, diving series and pool training sessions from September to end of March. It is a member of the Sub Aqua Association (SAA) and therefore its training programmes are SAA approved.
Along with basic and advanced diver training courses, it also offers the following specialised courses for advanced divers - Nitrox Diving, Oxygen Administration and Diver Rescue. Divers are also trained in Technical Diving for those interested in riskier dives like ice diving, diving to extreme depths or deep exploration in wrecks or caves. The experienced and certified support staffs at the Central Scotland Dive Club, in addition to teaching dive courses, also offer expert advice in purchase and maintenance of scuba equipment.
Dive and Sea the Hebrides
This shore-side dive centre was established in 1986 and is situated in the fishing village of Stein. Dive and Sea is a one-stop destination for divers due to its reliable dive charter boats, experienced dive skippers and moorings. Due to its close proximity to sheltered and shallow water, it provides divers the best practical training by introducing them to the underwater world
Instructors trained to the PADI Divemaster level teach the courses offered here. The dive centre offers accommodation for a maximum of ten divers at a time, with two twin rooms and one room for six individuals. Self catering facility is available and all the living rooms boast of magnificent sea views. Dive and Sea offers standard five day trips and seven day trips, with the pckage including accommodation, air fills and an average of two dives per day.
Above And Below in Yorkshire
Above and Below was born out of a passion for scuba diving by Sharon and Martin Ainsworth. The two PADI Course Directors have been training scuba divers for over 20 years and have made Above and Below a leading Centre of Excellence for diving. It is a PADI 5 Star Dive Centre and all the diving courses offered by it are taught PADI certified professionals. Along with teaching courses, it also organises holidays and dive trips on a frequent basis. The retail shop at the dive centre sells diving equipment from most top brands and also provides servicing options. Above and Below recently acquired its own deep water facility called Blue Lagoon Diving and Leisure. It is primarily a dive site for dive school students and also allows qualified divers to hone their skills.
Above and Below organises dive trips aboard its liveboard called the Mistral. The holiday dive trip is a classic itinerary in the Northern Red Sea and takes seven days, with over twenty five dives scheduled for the entire trip. The seven nights are spent on board on a full-board basis in a twin share cabin, with all the marine park fees and accommodation included in the package. Two expert guides monitor the entire trip.
The package costs £1375 per person. Another package offered is at Sharm, Egypt with classroom lessons intermixed with practical lessons. It aims at finishing the PADI Open Water course in a fun filled environment. Accommodation is provided at the Camel Resort at Sharm. The dive centre at Naama Bay has decades' of diving experience and comes at a price tag of £995 per person.