Licensing of Dive Boats in Ireland
Since the introduction of the Merchant Shipping Act in Ireland in 1992 it is now a criminal offence either to operate or to travel in an unlicensed boat. All boats carrying divers are now legally obliged to have a license. Most importantly a further permit is required to visit the Skelligs. Without these permits which are monitored daily, it is not possible to visit the Skelligs. These licenses are issued by the department of the Marine to carry divers and the Heritage Service to visit the Skelligs.
No license or permits can be issued by Tourist Boards, Hostels, dive operators etc. In view of this requirement we can only advise that you ask to see BOTH permits prior to booking a holiday. There is no dive centre in the area from Caherdaniel south of us to St. Finians Bay and Valentia Island to the North of us with the Skellig permits required. There is really no point in travelling to the Skelligs, sometimes in unkind weather, without being confident that you will be allowed to land there.
Day trips to the Skelligs
We operate two boats to the Skelligs each day departing at approx 11am. On Naughty lady the trip takes approx 50 minutes each way with a further two hours on the Island. The cost in local currency is €40 per person. On the more luxurious Flying Horse the trip takes approx 1 hour each way with two hours on the island and the cost is €40-50 per person (depending om season). As we are only allowed make one trip per boat per day advance booking is recommended.
Dives You Can Expect
In general most dives are scenic and among the most colourful in Europe. However we have recently come across the blade from an airplane of World War II vintage and some cannon guns from the nineteenth century. There is a lot of virgin territory so who knows what secrets the seas around us are hiding! The nearest wreck is that of the Skye Maid in a depth of 25m. The Skye Maid is a 50ft trawler which sank in Ballinskelligs Bay in September 1997. We have obtained the wreck from the insurance company and started diving on it in 1998. While life was accumulating as the season progressed it is an excellent dive assuming it is not broken up by the time you arrive!! Best of all it is in 25m approximately 5 minutes by RIB – ideal for anyone suffering from mal-de-mer!!
Further afield is the Kowloon Bridge (15 – 45m) and a U class submarine (40) with its conning hatch still open! Day trips to dive these can be arranged through us.
We regularly see basking sharks, schools of dolphins and more rarely even whales!!
Seals are very common especially at the Skelligs. Apart from two dive sites currents are pretty well non existent so there is no rush to be at a site at slack water. SMB’s are not used although a delayed SMB while doing stops is required. This is stress free diving!! Imagine no blob, no shotline, no currents, no rush to get home early, no dawn starts and the waters of the gulf stream cleaning and warming everything to give you super vis – paradise?!!
As is this was not enough we can organise a trip to our local pub every night, although our experience is that divers can generally do this unescorted!!