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Scuba Diving in Kent

Scuba Diver Silhouette

Scuba diving is something the whole family can participate in. Children from the age of eight can begin to learn how to scuba dive with an experienced qualified diver. However, they can only dive in a closed pool. Children are not allowed to learn in open water until they are at least ten years of age. PADI’s  Bubblemaker and Seal Team programs are an excellent way for youngsters over the age of eight to learn safely with a qualified instructor in no more the six feet of water. The SSI also have the “Scuba Ranger” course and this is for children who are twelve years of age and is also held in a pool no deeper than 6 feet. If your children are over ten years old then a fantastic way to have some fun is to introduce them to the open sea with an introductory scuba course. They learn from professionals while the whole family has great fun.

The question that is often asked is “How good a swimmer do you need to be to Scuba Dive”? Well, the answer to that question might surprise you. The PADI requirement is that you are required to have the basic swimming skills. You need to be able to swim 200 metres (or 300 metres in a mask, fins and snorkels) and be able to tread water for ten minutes if you can do that you’re on your way.

Equipment you need for UK Diving

  • Scuba Diving Mask
  • Regulator
  • Buoyancy Control Device (BCD)
  • Fins
  • Dive Computer
  • Gauges
  • Torch
  • Weights
Scuba Diving Gear Equipment

The waters of the UK can be very cold so where you may wear different gear in warmer climates it is better in the UK to wear Dry suites this will give you a warmer and far more enjoyable experience when diving.

Kent Diving Equipment Suppliers and Clubs

To be able to dive you will need a club, a boat and equipment as well as local knowledge of dive sites that suit your abilities. 

Kent Scuba (Margate)

Kent Scuba are there to assist you with anything you want to know or anything you may require and they are based in Margate.

http://www.kentscuba.com/ 

Scuba Class Instruction

Thanet Diving & Water Sports (Ramsgate)

Thanet Diving and Water Sports will offer a first class diving experience whatever your abilities are. Whether you want to join the Seals or wish to become a Master Diver, Thanet Diving and Water Sports will help you achieve your targeted ambitions.

Children over eight years of age can join the Seals course which takes place in a pool no deeper than six feet in a controlled environment to give the children confidence to enjoy their diving experience. For the new adult divers there is the “Discover Scuba” course which is in a controlled environment teaching the basics of diving. If you realise that you like the diving experience then “The Open Water” course is where you really get the feel and enjoyment of diving. There is some theory on this course and some pool work before taking four qualifying dives. At the end of the course, you have one foot on the bottom rung of the ladder becoming a qualified diver. It is possible to move your diving career all the way up to Master Diver level with Thanet Diving and Water Sports.

Charter boats can be hired out of Ramsgate, Margate Folkestone and Dover such the Mutiny Diving and Kent Scuba.      

There is an array of wrecks to be explored off the Kent coast. In fact, you are spoilt for choice. There is a lot to thank Jacques-Yves Cousteau for as his Aqualung allows the diver to dive for much longer and go deeper than ever before. Therefore, wrecks which were not accessible many years ago are now ripe for exploration.

http://www.kentscubadiving.co.uk/diving 

Inland Scuba Diving

Buckland Lake Reserve (near Rochester)

When planning your scuba diving trip you need to get everything right and in perfect condition ready for your eagerly awaited dive. Everything is planned right down to the most minute detail. You then arrive at your dive destination to be told the dive has been cancelled due to the weather conditions or the sea conditions. The anticipation turns to dread as you consider the drive back home. This is where you need a “Plan B”. 

Why not dive one of the many inland lakes and reservoirs on your doorstep? Buckland Lake Reserve is a great dive site. The depth of the lake is up to 50 feet and has many submerged items for you to explore. They have a double decker bus, a Falcon jet aircraft, underwater forest and the White Share to name a few. There is even a cafe and more on-site for a warm drink after your first dive.

http://www.bucklandlake.co/index.php?id=9#.WlSjIahl_IU

Links

List of Shipwrecks in Kent
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_shipwrecks_of_England#Kent

Scuba Diving Facebook Group
https://www.facebook.com/groups/304179562968172/

Other Dive Schools / Businesses

Whitstable Scuba   
http://whitstablescuba.co.uk/

Blue Ocean Diving (Maidstone)
http://www.blueoceandiving.co.uk/

Maidstone Scuba School 
http://www.maidstonescuba.co.uk/

Dive Machine  (Tonbridge)
http://www.divemachine.co.uk/

Kent Sea Fishing

Sea Fishing Father Son

People often wonder what sport has the most participants in the UK. It comes as a shock when they find out fishing takes the top prize with over 3,000,000 fishermen and Women taking part in all different types of angling. Solitude, peace and quiet with a touch of patience thrown in and your half way to being a decent angler.

Kent not only has a most beautiful and varied coastline showing off its chalk white cliffs and its wonderful sandy beaches, it can also boast some of the best fishing in Britain. The nutrient rich waters are home to many species of fish most of which are edible.

Kent Coast Fishing Compedium

http://www.hagstone.net/broadstairs.html

Autumn Sea Fishing (Sept - Nov)

Autumn is sometimes thought of as the best time to fish, as anglers can often be lucky enough to get the best of both worlds. This is where the summer and winter species tend to overlap and so it has been known for an angler spinning on a light rod for Mackerel to hook into a large winter Cod using lures.

Autumn Fishing Rods and Fish

So, it is true that this time of year when fishing, you never really know what you are going to catch. It is however, the time for the bigger fish of all species to start moving in. There will be larger Conger eels, Smooth hound and Thornback rays. The time to target these is on a fine early Autumn evening where the same rule can be applied to the larger Bass, Pollock and Wrasse.

As autumn moves towards Winter these species will become less as the large Cod move in from the colder Scandinavian waters to join the smaller Cod who have remained around our shores all year round. The Plaice will start to migrate to be replaced with cold water flat fish such as Dabs and Flounder these can be great sport to fish, then as Autumn gets closer to Winter the Whiting will arrive to give you some good sport as well.

Ramsgate Pier and Pegwell Bay are excellent this time of year, as is the reliable Mennis Bay and its neighbour Margate with its pier. Wherever you choose to fish on the Isle of Thanet you are sure to enjoy the experience whatever your ability is.

There are only two things more important than the catch itself. They are conservation where you should adhere to the catch and release policy, returning any undersized fish safely to the water and take all your plastic bags and rubbish home with you. The most important of all is your safety. Check tides and weather conditions before you go fishing and let someone know where you intend to fish.

Winter Sea Fishing (Dec - Feb)

Kent for many years has been known as one of the best sea fishing areas in the UK. The coastline is perfect for fishing all year round. Different areas offer different species and this is the same all year.  The beaches at Viking Bay Main Beach, Pegwell Bay Ramsgate, Ramsgate Main Sands, Reculver and Minnis Bay all offer great shoreline winter fishing.

Minnis Bay in winter offers species such as Whiting which can be caught on Mackerel strips while you may also come across some codling. Wander between Ramsgate and Margate and you will find Kingsgate Bay, Botany Bay and Joss Bay. All these sandy bays have rocks just a little out to sea, which give you the chance of bagging a nice Sea Bass using peeler crab or ragworm as bait. 

There are other species of fish you can catch such as Dogfish and Flatfish so be ready and aware for a bit of a fight with the best time to fish being low tide. It is also possible to catch Smooth-Hound and Rays at these bays. A little further along the coast is Deal, which has a superb reputation for big fish and many species. In winter from this venue stick with your beachcaster and target the large Cod that frequent the area. 

Cod Fish on a plate with lemon

A large bait is used for a large fish so you can either use a large squid or make up a cocktail using a combination of frozen peeler crab, squid, lugworm and muscles. If there are Cod about they won’t be able to resist. 

All you need to have for a great days fishing is a Beachcaster rod, a reel – either a spinner or a multiplier the preference is your decision with 18-20 pound breaking strain line and your rigs with your bait. Make sure you have the correct clothing and safety gear – remembering that good fishermen always adhere to the conservation code which states a catch and release policy for undersize fish.

If you choose to stay with us and fancy a spot of Sea Fishing and don’t have your equipment don’t panic! There is an angling shop known as “Pleasure Angling” in Deal (Tel. 01304 239191) who hire out the equipment and bait you need for a good fishing session.

Spring Sea Fishing (March - May)

Early spring is probably the quietest time of year in which to fish. The reason why it is quieter is that in early spring the Winter species will have left for colder waters whilst the summer species have yet to arrive in any numbers, however, that does not make it a bad time fish!

In later spring the transitional period begins where the species who migrated to warmer waters in the winter start to return as our water temperatures increase. In Later spring, you will see Plaice and Mackerel arriving along with Sprats and Sand-Eel with the odd Garfish making an appearance.

Ramsgate Harbour Boats Yachts Marina
Ramsgate Harbour & Marina

The ever-present Pollock and Wrasse who move out to deeper water in the winter also start to come into shallow water again where they will come in close enough so that the shore fishermen will be able to once again target them. There are always the usual Conger Eels, Rays and Smooth-Hounds to keep you amused or try a light spinner rod and fish for summer flatfish, Bass and Pollock. This can be great fun.

Ramsgate offers two miles of good sporting shoreline with the harbour piers giving the person fishing plenty of options including what fish to target and from where they think they will catch.

For keen anglers, night fishing is probably the most productive as the beaches tend to get very busy in the daytime with holiday makers. From Ramsgate shore in Spring you can expect to catch bass, soles, flounders, dabs and the odd thornback ray.

Broadstairs can be a fun place to fish in later spring. With the Mackerel coming in to join the Bass and Dogfish. Fishing off the jetty can make life a little easier in later spring when tourist numbers increase. Night fishing can also produce good bass and flounder when there are less visitors around.

Do not forget to try Joss Bay and Botany Bay, which also produce specimen fish. If you’re having no luck take a short walk and try either bay.

Margate and Minnis Bay can be a productive mark if conditions are right where you can catch Bass, Thornback Rays, Smooth-hound, Flounders and Eels. Mennis Bay is a fantastic shore fishing venue and is a must if fishing in the area.

Summer Sea Fishing (June - August)

Summer is a great time to fish. A different target species and better weather make it a lot more enjoyable and a lot more comfortable. The Kent coastline remains a fantastic area to fish with record results repeatedly. 

Reculver Tower Whitstable
Whitstable Reculver Towers

There are productive marks around Whitstable Harbour where there are Dabs, Flounders, Silver Eels, Lesser Spotted-Dogfish and School Bass. If you are a decent caster, the same species can be caught from the pebbled beach. Herne Bay is worth a go as on a good day you can catch Flounder and Silver Eels while the estuary can give you the opportunity to spin (spinning requires a light rod, reel and a lure) for Bass for a bit of fun. 

Dogfish can also be caught from the beach along with Rays and Smooth hounds. Three miles to the East, you will come across Reculver, which is a very productive area with several good marks. Fish around the towers of St Mary’s Church and the sea walls which offer good Flounders and dabs with Dover Sole being caught on worm and crab baits. 

In the summer Ramsgate pier and harbour offer lots of variety of fish such as Dover Sole, Pouting, Flatfish, School Bass and Dogfish. Remember also in the warm summer months the Mackerel come into the harbour so there is plenty of action to be had there.  

PortOfRamsgate Map
Ramsgate Harbour Layout

There is good fishing to be had in Sandwich Bay, Deal, Dover and Folkstone. However, in the Summer months there are holidaymakers to consider while contemplating which venue to fish at. Many of the beaches and bays will be difficult to fish from in the summer months – not impossible but restricted.

Boat Fishing

Boat fishing is a great way to get away from it all and fish. You are almost guaranteed to catch something from a boat plus you get to see the fantastic chalk cliffs along the coastline. The skippers look after you and assist you when you are fortunate to catch something. The price of the fishing trip normally includes the hire of a boat rod and all the fishing gear plus some frozen bait. 

It is advisable if possible to get your own fresh bait for the trip. The chances of catching something big are increased as you will be fishing over wrecks and other such marks like the Goodwin Sands . It really is a fantastic days fishing. Tuition is provided on board if required.

http://www.charterboats-uk.co.uk/port/ramsgate/

http://ramsgatefishingcharters.co.uk/

Tackle / Bait Shops

Shopping in Broadstairs

Woman smiling while shopping - small

Take a stroll around Broadstairs and take in its traditional High Street, which is always a pleasant experience. The town is vibrant and diverse with many different shopping outlets from fishmongers to shoe shops and wedding shops to greengrocers – Broadstairs has it all. To experience shopping in Broadstairs you will need to venture onto the High Street, The Broadway, Albion Street, Harbour Street, Charlotte Street and York Street as these are the main shopping areas. 

Fresh Food & Produce

Trout Fish Fried Vegatables Pumpkin Beetroot

The Broadway is where the local renowned Fishmongers Fruit de Mer sell wonderfully fresh fish. They have several deliveries of fresh fish a day straight from the local boats and onto the display shelves you – you cannot get much fresher or environmentally friendly than that.

Red wine, bottle fire

If you fancy a bottle of wine with your fish, you just need to cross the road to The Offy, which is an independent off-license. There are also several high street supermarkets outlets within the town such as Tesco, Co-Op and Budgens. Fresh Fruit and vegetables can be found at two High Street shops, they are Prentis and Hinge of London both sell quality produce.

Desserts and Cakes

There are also a number of Bakeries such as Crusties and The Old Bakehouse where you can rest up and have a cup of tea or coffee and a pastry of your choice. There are three butchers on high street – Brogdale the Butcher, Hazells and Rooks offering a wide selection of fresh, locally sourced meats.

Fashion, Clothing & Antiques

Broadstairs has not been left behind in the fashion stakes either. Recently opened are two ladies boutiques known as The Boutique and La de Da Boutique. However, in between these two new boutiques is Kerry’s Boutique who caters for the larger sized garments.

Teddy Luggage Antiques

If you venture along to Charlotte Street you will see Antiquarian Antiques, Bottleneck Off-license, Peter’s Shoe Repairs and Key cutting services. On this street, there is a great new shop that has just opened named Kits that sells brand new fashion clothes, gifts and housewares suited to both men and women. Their stock is minimal, elegant, and very classy but will not break the bank if you decide to buy.

Gold Crystall Jewellry

When you leave Kits cross the road to G.M. Arrowsmith with its original signage. There you will find gifts and crystal jewellery and downstairs there is a Women and Children’s clothing Department. Broadstairs has lots more to offer with its Antiques, Painting Galleries, Photographic Galleries, Jewellers and quaint seaside gift shops.

Westwood Cross Shopping Complex

https://westwoodx.co.uk/shops

Westwood Cross is an out of town Shopping and Leisure Complex. There are free car parking spaces for 1,500 vehicles and 46 stores within the complex with the main stores being Marks and Spencer’s and Debenhams.

Westwood Cross Marks and Spencer TopShop External

For the Ladies there are many outlets for fashion including JD, Next, Outfit, Primark, New Look, River Island, Select and T.K. Max. If you then require accessories to go with your new designer clothes there are stores such as Clare’s, Design 29 and Monsoon. If its footwear you’re after then Clark’s, Debenhams, JD, DW and Next are there to assist you.

Primark External

If the Gentlemen are looking to spoil their partners why not take look around Clinton’s and Thornton’s who can resist a box of chocolates. Health and beauty is very important to the ladies so a wander around Boots, Superdrug, Holland & Barrett, The Body Shop and The Perfume Shop will leave you feeling refreshed and happy!

If you are a little hungry by this stage you can eat in one of the many Café’s, Bars or Restaurants such as  Ask Italia, Cafe Rouge, Cafe Nero, Chiquito, Five Guys, Frankie & Benny’s, Nandos, Greggs, Subway, Costa Coffee and Coffee Corner. There is something for everyone.

If you are on the look out for a piece of jewellery for that special occasion or special person then Ernest Jones and H. Samuel are both great choices.

Westwood Cross is also a leisure facility so if you are feeling a little more energetic why not join the DW Sport and fitness club. There are classes to suit all ages and abilities and there are even kid’s fitness classes. If you like a dance, swim, yoga, Pilates or fight training it is all here.

If the Ladies would like a hairdresser or the gents need a barber they are available in the club as well. There is also a relaxation area with a steam room and a sauna as well as a lounge area where you can have a hot drink and relax.

Within the complex, there is a Mecca Bingo, which brings great games, great prizes and a bit of fun. For the people who like a night out there is a Grosvenor Casino where you can relax play whatever table you wish, have a drink and a meal.

If you are a Cinema buff then this is the place for you. Vue has 10 cinemas all screening various different films so why not grab your Coke and popcorn choose the film you wish to view and relax.

Distance – 2 miles.