Swanage’s dive school is based on the town’s striking restored Victorian pier and offers some great dives both within Swanage Bay and in deeper waters outside the bay.
Divers Down is Britain’s oldest dive school and it’s been attracting new and seasoned divers since 1958, with its sheltered dive sites, nearby wreck dives and safe Diver Training Zone.
There’s a wealth of sea life to discover directly beneath the pier, attracted by its wooden framework and, lying just outside the bay, there’s a range of both deep and shallow dives, which include various WWI and WWII wrecks.
Divers Down has two charter boats with fully qualified skippers, to take you to and from wreck sites throughout the summer. The boats have rear diver lifts and hot drinks are provided on your return journey.
The dive season typically starts in March/April until October.
Dives can be booked in advance online or by contacting Divers Down.
Safe Diving Zone
An area of five-metre deep water has been buoyed off adjacent to Swanage Pier as a designated Diver Training Zone.
This shallower section of the bay is suitable for both new and qualified divers.
The on-site dive shop stocks all the gear and equipment you’ll need, from masks, fins and snorkels to boots, gloves, neck & wrist seals and glues.
You can get your air and Nitrox fills here – charges per litre/cylinder are listed on Diver’s Down’s website.
And if you need to supplement your kit for your dive you can hire individual items for the day, or hire the full kit by the day or for two days.
The shop also sells a range of refreshments, ice creams and drinks.
Shop opening hours
- Saturday & Sundays – 8am – 5pm
- Monday – Friday – Open most weekdays, weather-permitting
Dive & wreck sites
Explore the sea life under Swanage Pier, try out a shallow dive, or discover the shipwrecks that lie in deeper water outside the bay, including wrecks from WWI & WWII .
Some of the most popular wreck sites include Kyarra (one of the most-dived sites in the UK), Smyrna and Aeolian Sky, whose story intriguingly involves a million pounds of Seychelles rupees and thousands of jars of Marmite.
You can find an interactive wreck site map on Divers Down’s website, which lists interesting information and a brief history on some of the most popular wrecks: www.diversdownswanage.co.uk/default.aspx?p=Wsites
(images credit: Divers Down)
The wooden framework of Swanage Pier provides an enticing home for a wealth of underwater wildlife.
Some of the sea life you’re likely to encounter include lobster, edible & spider crabs, cuttlefish, sand eels and bream.
Follow Divers Down’s Facebook page for latest updates and to view underwater photography posted by divers: www.facebook.com/pages/Divers-Down-Swanage-Pier/111606238925270
Dive courses at Divers Down are all affiliated to the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) and cater to the complete beginner to Dive Master.
In addition you can complete your Emergency First Response diving certificate here, or take the Rescue Course.
Divers Down also offers specialty courses such as night diver, wreck diver and photography diving.
Some courses have minimum age requirements.
Summer sightseeing & school trips
These popular sightseeing trips run during the summer months and are ideally suited to a group of 12 students plus one teacher.
The bay tour takes you around Old Harry Rocks, past Durlston Bay and across to the Anvil Point Lighthouse.
It’s a fun and informative way to explore this special part of the Jurassic Coast, with talks from your guide on local landmarks and geological features, such as erosion.
Isle of Purbeck Sub-Aqua Club
Swanage Pier is also home to the Isle of Purbeck Sub-Aqua Club (IPSAC).
It’s a small and friendly BSAC club, with weekly dives around Swanage and Kimmeridge Bay throughout the dive season.
The club meets regularly on weekends and Wednesday evenings in the summer, and holds various social events throughout the year.
It’s been going since 1988 and currently has about 50 members, of varying interests and abilities.
Membership includes the use of RIBs, training by qualified instructors and regular skills refreshers. Visiting divers can also join the group for the days that they’re in Swanage.
Find out more on their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/IsleofPurbeckSAC
Parking on the pier
Parking on the pier is suitable for cars and vans…
For full information on wreck sites, safety information and booking visit the Divers Down website:
Get in touch by phone or email to book a dive:
📥 Email: email@example.com
📞 Call or text: 07977 142661