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English Heritage Opens First Submarine Dive Trail



Britain’s first underwater submarine dive trail opened yesterday (Wednesday 30 April, 2014)  on the protected wreck of HMS/mA1 – the first British-designed and built submarine used by the Royal Navy which sank in 1911 in only 39 feet (12 metres) of water in the Solent.

Launched by English Heritage and the Nautical Archaeology Society, the HMS/mA1 submarine dive trial is the fourth underwater tourist trail for protected wrecks to open since 2009 and is part of an English Heritage project to create up to a dozen trails by 2018 for historic wreck sites dating from the 17th to the mid-20th centuries.


The trails that are already running are three sunken wooden warships that have attracted hundreds of licensed divers. They are: HMS Colossus, a 74-gun warship built in 1787 which sank off the Isles of Scilly in 1798; the Coronation built in 1685 and lost off the coast of Plymouth in 1691; and the ‘Norman’s Bay Wreck’, possibly a Dutch ship which sank during the Battle of Beachy Head in 1690 near Bexhill on Sea in Sussex.

Built in July 1902 by Vickers Sons & Maxim Ltd, the HMS/mA1 submarine was actually sunk twice, first in 1904 and again in 1911 while unmanned and being used for underwater target practice using an automatic pilot. It was designated in 1998 under the Protection of Wrecks Act (1973).


Licensed divers on the new trail will be able to see a complete submarine resting upright on the seabed with the bow clearly visible. Divers will be given an underwater guide to help them navigate the wreck and recognise key features such as the conning tower, torpedo loading hatch, and the stern towing and lifting cable.

Terry Newman, Assistant Maritime Designation Adviser for English Heritage, said: “We are diving into history with the launch of our first submarine trail. Protected wreck sites are as much part of our national heritage as castles and country houses, although they are not as widely accessible unfortunately! By giving licensed divers access to these historically and archaeologically important wrecks, we are encouraging greater understanding and recognition of  England’s underwater heritage.”


Mark Beattie-Edwards, Programme Director, Nautical Archaeology Society said: “This is the second trail that we have designed for accessing protected shipwrecks. We are sure that the visiting divers will be amazed at the condition of HMS/mA1 which despite having spent over 100 years on the seabed is still to a great degree intact. It is our hope that visitors will be inspired to help us to protect other example of our maritime history that now lie on the seabed.”

Divers wishing to dive the trail must be licensed to access it. Access is being managed by the Nautical Archaeology Society and the wreck’s licensee, Martin Davies. Licenses are issued by English Heritage.  A fifth dive trail is due to open in June for the paddle steamer Iona II which sank off Lundy Islanden route to the Bahamas in February 1864.

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Dive Training Blogs

Jump into… IDC’s and what to expect



Looking at becoming a PADI Instructor? Why would you not, it is the best job in the world! Getting to become a PADI Instructor though is sometimes a scary process… or so I have heard…. It really isn’t, trust me! It’s actually pretty fun. 

The first thing I always like to get people to remember is their Open water course. When you started did you know everything about how the equipment worked? Did your instructor expect you to know all of the skills before they showed you them? No? Well, guess what, the IDC is a course too. It is about preparing you and working with you to give you the tips and tricks to not just pass your Instructor Examination (IE), but to prepare you for teaching your own students. 

I am well aware that there are courses out there that just teach you how to pass, and I am by far not saying that I have the best IDC in the world. I don’t, and I learn all of the time myself. There’s always an instructor that comes along in the dive season doing something a different way that I pick up and use. We learn all of the time, and is the only way that we ever get better. So to clear up that misconception, the IDC is not just a stepping stone to the IE and you are not expected to know everything before you come along. 

So, what does the IDC actually involve. Theory… obviously. You are going to need to have a knowledge of physics, RDP and all of the other topics that you will have covered throughout you diving levels. The theory side is the ‘boring’ part… I mean, we all dive for the water, no?! But, it is an important part and it’s going to help you be able to explain how to use the equipment, how it actually works, and the other questions that your students are going to be curious about. This section is all about developing your knowledge of those sections.

The water side then, confined water and open water. The fun parts! In short this is where we are going to go through the course skills and see how everyone does them. There is no perfect way for this… you do not have to play Simon says on the course… your way may be better than everyone else! What we will do though, is work with you to make sure that the demonstration is clear, concise and controlled to demonstrate to your students. Again, there is no expectation to be perfect before you come. We want you to ask questions, we want you to make mistakes… because that is how we learn, and most of all, how we get better. 

The other part of the in water activities, aren’t just about the skills though, it is also about your control under the water. We want to make sure that when you head out with your own students, that you are comfortable and can control the situation. Not something that comes to us all naturally straight away, but with coaching on the IDC, I am sure that you will get to this point before the end!

Last but not least, the course standards, content and rescue scenarios. All of this is in place to make sure that you understand the syllabus for each of the courses that you are going to be able to teach, and just as importantly, you are able to effect a rescue if the situation ever presented itself. A gloomy but important situation to think about. 

And after all that… voila! Thats it, the IDC! After completion there is then the ‘scary’ IE with the PADI examiners… they aren’t actually that scary, I promise! The two day IE basically covers what you have learnt in the IDC. No surprises, you are assessed on exactly what you have covered.

So stop putting off your IDC. If you love scuba and want to make it your career. Do it! 

Clare began Duttons Divers at just 19 years old and a short while later became one of the world’s youngest PADI Course Directors. Find out more at

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Final few days to enter the OrcaTorch Search for Atlantis photo competition



You have until the 1st June to enter this unique underwater photography competition that only allows images that depict cave or wreck diving. This unique competition encourages underwater photographers to get creative with their lighting and will be judged by a team of OrcaTorch Brand Ambassadors.

After the final round of entries this week, the competition will move to the second phase where the public can vote for their favourite images, via the OrcaTorch Facebook group, to narrow the field down to the final 10 for the judges to deliberate on.

OrcaTorch are offering a range of their diving lights as prizes for the winners.

For more information about the rules and how to enter the competition click here.

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Book and stay before the end of June and benefit from no single supplements in all room types!

Booking deadline: Subject to availability – book and stay before end of June 2022

Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email

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