Predominantly covering the Kent coastline around Ramsgate, Dover and Folkstone, Mutiny Diving is operated by Chris Webb out of the Dover Marina. This is primarily a wreck diving dive centre, the Dover Straits littered with wreckage from two World Wars and numerous 1700’s and 1800’s maritime disasters.

What Can You Expect?

There will be either one or two dives a day. Unlike other areas around the British coastline, diving the Dover Straits is totally dependent on slack water. Slack water is calculated either before or after high tide and depending on how many high tides in daylight hours will mandate how many dives a day you will get.

Normally divers are asked to meet half an hour before the published ropes off time, allowing enough time to get your kit on board. Most divers typically arrive an hour beforehand to set up their kit.

Once onboard, divers can relax and make themselves at home with a mug of tea before Chris explains the operation of the dive boat, safety briefing and ‘target’ dive site.

Now, we say ‘target’ dive site as it may not always be the case that you dive the wreck that is published. Why? Sometimes the weather and water conditions change overnight and “chasing the visibility” can mandate hopping from one dive site to another to find the best visibility.

Divers normally get a pre-plunge warning to kit up and once the shot is deployed onto the wreck, a final orientation briefing and ascent instructions. That is either “line out and back up the shot” or “bag off” depending on visibility and shipping lane location.

After your dive and back on board, you will be welcomed home with another hot drink and if lucky, a savoury hot sausage roll, pasty, sweet toasted currant bun or toasted malt loaf. Then it’s a slow steam back to Dover.

Back at port and if just one dive, it’s time to unload, say your goodbyes and peddle off home. If divers are in town for two dives, then it’s two or three hours surface interval to the next slack water, enough time to enjoy a late breakfast or lunch. Those needing gas refills or top-ups can hoof it on up to “the workshop” with still enough time for a nibble.

Weather, Tidal Flow And Visibility

There seems a common misconception that there is always terrible visibility in the Dover Strait waters for divers. This is not necessarily correct and is dependent on the weather and tidal flow.

Although the ebbing tide from the Thames Estuary is considered ‘dirty’ compared to the flooding ‘clean’ tide from the Atlantic, dive sites will be suggested accordingly to minimise the particulate in the water. Whether your dive day is sunny or overcast will stipulate the darkness. Normally the particulate is at shallower depths, while dark but clear visibility is found at deeper depths. Whether the dive site is inshore or offshore will also affect water clarity.

On one hand, dark and minimal visibility diving scouring the seabed for treasure and trinkets does focus the mind in a smaller area, while on the other, gin-clear water can make a perfect photography shot. Dive expecting 3 to 4 metres. Anything less can be considered bad and anything more, good.

The Dive Boat

The Mutiny Diving boat is named Maverick, a yellow and white Offshore 105 hard boat, MCA category 2 coded for 11 passengers with stern diver lift and recently fitted marine toilet. Additional facilities include a heated cabin, galley, inboard diesel engine, sonar and side-scan imaging.

Diving With Confidence

Most dive sites are within the 25 metres to 30 metres range as the channel is quite shallow. A little further into the shipping lanes and some deeper 40 metres to 50 metres sites can be found. When Chris publishes a dive site, he will advertise the approximate depth. If the site is changed on the day, it will still be within the advertised depth.

Open circuit divers will typically dive a Nitrox mix on EN32 giving a MOD of 34 metres at PO2 1.4, though EN34 with a 32 metre MOD is reasonable. Don’t forget that if you’re using one cylinder and topping up with air during the surface interval, to test the mix and reset your dive computer.

You will need a powerful light and DSMB for sure, most divers opting for a secondary backup light, DSMB and face mask.

As we have said, visibility can be varying and many times, better than the inland quarries. However, it can be daunting for first-time divers to Dover, so you have to be confident and dive within your training and personal boundaries.

And There Is Treasure

For sure, there are some of the most interesting, historic and amazing shipwrecks off Dover and Folkstone. Finding a little trinket or artefact of a yesterday era that no-one has seen for over a hundred years can be mesmerising.

Treasure, Spidge And Receiver Of Wreck

What is Spidge? The answer is slang for “Treasure” brought up from shipwrecks on the seabed by scuba divers.

For “Treasure” read “Mainly bits of brass and rubbish”. For “Brought up” read “Furiously chiseled off against the clock”. For “Scuba Divers” read “Thieving pikeys”. For “Seabed” read “Murky depths of cold water with visibility of two metres”.

For Spidge there is a hierarchy of value, disregard all gold, jewels and other fantasy land nonsense. The real wreck treasure chart goes something like this:-

  1. Ships bell
  2. Telegraph / telemotor
  3. Compass binnacle
  4. Helm
  5. Steam whistle
  6. Nice brass Nav or deck
  7. lights
  8. Portholes
  9. Crockery & cutlery etc

Consolation prizes for the lower ranks of the air diving one tank numpty are rubber soles from dead seaman’s shoes, an unidentified piece of brass, crockery fragment, lead shot, hooked up fishing weights and pieces of diving equipment dropped by other novices.

All of the quality items have to be reported to the Receiver Of Wreck who finds out if you are allowed to keep the stuff. The remaining detritus is used to decorate your fireplace until you get married, when your wife “accidentally” puts it out for the dustman.

"Report wreck material, for example parts of a ship or its cargo, to the Receiver of Wreck. You must report any material you recover within 28 days, or you could be fined £2,500."Reporting wreck material gives the legal owner the opportunity to have their property returned."

Don’t forget, anything you find must be declared to the Receiver of Wreck. Remember that even today, that shipwreck belongs to someone. Here are some useful links:

Gallery Of Some Treasure And Spidge

How To Join A Dive?

To join a dive, simply contact Chris direct by phone or text. He regularly advertises spaces on Facebook in several groups, but ask him to add your name and number to his text list. That way you will have instant access to all forthcoming trips direct to your phone. Mutiny Diving does have an email address and yes, Chris does have access to Facebook Messenger, but text messaging is best. He doesn’t do WhatsApp.

Contact Details

Telephone & Text

+44 7889 821266

Email

mutinydiving@icloud.com

Facebook

@mutinydiving

Website

https://mutiny-diving.co.uk

Maverick berth and meeting point.

Dover Marina
Union Street
Dover,
Kent, CT17 9BU
United Kingdom

Office and workshop for gas fills.

Unit 9 The Glenmore Centre
White Cliffs Business Park
Whitfield
Dover
Kent , CT16 3FH

Popular Dive Sites

Uboat SM UB-55 was commanded by Oberleutnant z Ralph Wenninger, UB-55 added to the U-Flottile Flandern in August 1917. She left Zeebrugge on her final patrol on 21st April 1918 with 35 men, 28 crew and 7 trainees. In the early hours, she reached the Dover Barrage, diving to avoid searchlights. Shortly after leaving the surface, an explosion occurred on her starboard side between the engine room and stern. Two compartments flooded immediately, the submarine coming to rest some 33 metres on a sandy seabed.
 
One of her engineers tried to shut the watertight door between the engine room and torpedo room, but it was impossible. Every time he tried to close the door, the flooding water forced it back, water jetting into the compartment whilst the men were thrown to their feet.
 
As the starboard ballast tanks were ruptured, Wenninger could not bring his vessel to the surface. The crew in the stern sections and engine room had already drowned, while the survivors huddled near the hatches on the middle and foreward. Twelve men in the forward and eight in the middle command centre.
 
The lights went out and the survivors were forced to use headlamps and while the rising water increased the internal air pressure, they experienced immense headaches. Breathing became difficult and painful while the penetration of the seawater into the battery compartments lead to the leakage of chlorine gas. Panic ensued and two crewmen tried to commit suicide using a pistol, unsuccessful as the cartridges were damp.
 
An hour and a half passed and the cold water had reached a height of 1 metre, making it possible to equalise the pressure to open the foreward and conning tower escape hatches. Wenninger knew that there were only four Dräger escape sets, dividing the survivors into two groups. Six men beneath the conning tower hatch and twelve men under the hatch in the torpedo room.
 
When the hatches were opened, most of the crew were able to escape within the enormous air bubble. However, most suffered embolisms and lung overexpansion and were found dead on the surface. There were still eight survivors found floating on the surface, one being Wenninger, picked up and saved by the British trawler Mate and one who died without gaining consciousness on the trip back to Dover. Of the others, two of the survivors were vomiting blood and oil, whilst others would not stop screaming.
 
The survivors were Ralph Wenninger, Friedrich Dietrich, Fritz Jahnke, Alex Neumann, Ewald Kestner and Peter Hammel. After the war, Wenninger remained in the navy and joined the Luftwaffe on 1st March 1935 and died in Italy under unknown circumstances on the 13th March 1945. Topical in today’s world of Covid-19, Dietrich died seven months later from Spanish Flu at the Shipton officers camp.

SM UB-55 [1918]

On April 22nd, 1918, the German submarine UB-55, built in 1916 by Weser A. G. was sunk by a mine. Between 15 and 20 men escaped from the sinking submarine, but only 8 were found alive by the British trawler Mate . One of the men died on the ship while being transported to Dover.Read more at Wrecksite.EU
Schematic of UB-55
Schematic of UB-55

SM UB-78 [1918]

Mined and sunk with all hands while traveling through the Straits of Dover into the English Channel from occupied Flanders. The Royal Navy had a poor understanding of when specific Flanders-based U-boats sailed and their assigned patrol areas, and thus did not realize that the submarine that they believed had sunk on a mine on April 19, 1918 was UB-78. Identity confirmed by local divers from markings on the U-boat’s propellers.Read more at Wrecksite.EU 
Looking Down The Barrel Of The Deck Gun On Uboat UB-78
Looking Down The Barrel Of The Deck Gun On Uboat UB-78

HMS Flirt [1916]

HMS Flirt was a Star-class destroyer (three-funnelled C-type). She was launched by Palmers in 1897 and served in the great war patrolling the Strait of Dover as part of the Dover Patrol. Her service came to an end when on 27 October 1916 during the Battle of Dover Strait she was torpedoed and sunk by German destroyers.Read more at Wrecksite.EU
HMS Flirt
HMS Flirt

SS Cuvier [1900]

The SS Cuvier was am iron screw steamer weighing 2,000 tons and sank on 09/03/1900 after collision with the SS Dovre off East Goodwin Sands, 38 lives lost. The captain and 37 men of the crew were drowned. The Dovre did not stand by and offer assistance. Following the collision the survivors stated that she blew her whistle for assistance, and shortly afterwards settled down by the stern and sank. Most of the men were in their bunks.Read more at Wrecksite.EU
SS Cuvier Crockery
SS Cuvier Crockery

HMS Brazen [1940]

British Navy Destroyer; 1928; Palmer & Co; 1.360 tons; 323x32x12; 34.000 shp; 35 knots; turbine engines; 3 drum boilers; four 4.7 in guns; rwo 2 pdr; five m.g.; 8 T.T The destroyer Brazen was engaged in convoy work in the North Sea when she was attacked by German bombers on July 21st, 1940. She shot down three aircraft before she was hit and badly damaged. An attempt was made to tow her but this proved impossible and she was abandoned and sank some hours after the attack.Read more at Wrecksite.EU
HMS Brazen
HMS Brazen

SS Unity [1918]

SS Unity, built by Murdoch & Murray, Port Glasgow in 1902 and owned at the time of her loss by Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Co., Goole, was a British steamer of 1.091 tons. On May 2nd, 1918, Unity, on a voyage from Newhaven to Calais with a cargo of ordinance, was sunk by the German submarine UB-57 (Johannes Lohs), 9 miles southeast of Folkestone. 12 persons were lost.

Read more at Wrecksite.EU

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