Selsey Shore Diving

Selsey Shore Diving

Selsey has an active fishing fleet which moors just off the beach; the scraps thrown overboard assist in attracting the abundance of marine life which can be found in the area. Although the Lifeboat Boathouse (including the remains of the previous Boathouse) has now been removed, there are still objects of interest including a landing craft and a small reef. The area is teaming with shoals of breeding fish, bib, wrasse, gobies, shore, spider and hermit crabs, lobsters, cuttlefish, pipefish, small congers, oysters, mussels and anemones. Average depth 6m - one of our many favourite dives as there is always something to see.

Strong currents mean that it is best to dive at slack water; tide times can be found at -  remember you will need to add 1 Hour for BST in the Summer.

Slack water time will vary dependent on the position in the Tidal Cycle - look at the Tidal range (difference in Low Water and High Water depths) to get an understanding of whether it will be a Neap or Spring tide. Selsey tides can have ranges of 2.1m(Neap)- 5m (springs).

Neap tides - you can use HW - 4hrs and HW + 3 hrs as indication of slack timings; 

Spring tides - use HW - 2hrs and HW + 4 hrs as indications of slack timings (These are the times shown in the Admiralty Tidal Atlas although it should be noted that the Tidal Diamond opposite Pagham is based on very limited data.)

Remember that slack water is not a fixed time and that the weather and time in the tidal cycle (Springs / Neaps)  in particular, will influence actual timing - the above is a guide and not an absolute determination!.

Note that visibility is usually significantly better on the slack after HW unless there has been an extended period of settled weather.  

Use objects such as the orientation of the fishing boats (which will point into the current) and movement of water past the groynes to help you decide when conditions are suitable for you.

Some things to consider:

- if you want a nice long dive (90 minutes is not unknown), getting in early will give you the best of the visibility 

- the current will be least close to the beach and increase as you go further out (so it will be slack next to the beach first)

- if you are planning two dives, allow time to get out and back in again

- can you manage swimming against some current or do you need complete slack (in which case, watch boats and buoys closely to see when they are not influenced by current). Most people can swim against some current quite comfortably -  any disturbance in the water will be carried away and some fish will be more active.

 If you do find yourself being carried by the current then swim at right angles into the beach and exit at the first convenient place. Alternatively, with a little logistics planning, drift diving at Selsey along the beach can be very forwarding!



Safety information

Please note that this is a working beach, more akin to a small harbour than a tourist beach.


  • wires / ropes on Beach from Winching operations; wires will be slippery from grease / oil and may be moving
  • Boat Traffic - Fishing Fleet. Selsey Angling club and both lifeboats.............Surface Marker Buoys to be used at all times.
  • The Inshore Lifeboat and new Shannon All_Weather Lifeboat now launch down the beach in front of the new Boathouse - please do not dive in the area immediately in front of the Boathouse and do not leave equipment on the beach in this area.


There is free Parking along Kingsway and a few spaces around the corner in Albion Rd in front of the Lifeboat Inn. Please do not park in the bus stop or in the spaces within the Lifeboat Station entrance.


Public Toilets are situated on the sea wall adjacent to the Lifeboat Station - these are open 0700 to 1930 in Summer.


Potters has opened in the corner of the Lifeboat Station area and serves drinks, locally caught seafood and home-made cakes.

Post dive drinks at the Lifeboat Inn or Fisherman's Joy (junction of Albion Rd / Manor Rd) or Seal Inn ( High St/ Hillfield Rd)

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