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Ballyholme Beach East


Average score: 3.7

Site name: Ballyholme Beach East
Location: Descriptive location referring to nearest landfall i.e. town, village, harbour or island
Type: Describes whether this dive site can be dived from the shore, from a boat, or both
Wreck: Dive sites which include a shipwreck (or part of a shipwreck) are labelled with a ‘Yes’
Min. dive depth (m): The approximate minimum depth of the dive given in metres
Max. dive depth (m): The approximate maximum depth of the dive given in metres

Max. seabed depth (m): The maximum depth of the seabed at the site taken from the intersect between the dive site point and the depth contour on an Admiralty Standard Nautical Chart

Diving experience (min level): The recommended minimum level of diving experience for a specific site, described as Novice (<50 dives in temperate/cold waters and minimum certification of PADI Open/Advanced Open Water, BSAC Ocean Diver or CMAS 1 star), Intermediate (50-100 dives in temperate/cold waters and minimum certification of PADI Rescue Dive, BSAC Sports Dive or CMAS 2 star) or Advanced (>250 dives in temperate/cold waters and minimum certification of PADI Divemaster, BSAC Dive Leader or CMAS 3 star

Optimal wind direction: The general wind direction which causes minimal exposure at the site, corresponding to 8 points of the compass: North (N), North East (NE), East (E, South East (SE), South (S), South West (SW), West, North West (NW)

Exposure: The approximate level of exposure to wind and wave action at the site on any given day, described as Sheltered (inshore sites surrounded by a form of shelter on all sides), Moderate (sites which are partially sheltered) or Exposed (sites with little to no shelter)

Tidal strength: Anecdotal description of tidal strength at the site

Marine Protected Area: A Yes or No highlighting whether or not the site occurs within a Marine Protected Area

Visibility: Anecdotal description of the typical underwater visibility at the site
Best time to dive: Anecdotal recommendation for the best time to dive the site for optimal underwater conditions. This typically relates to the stage of the tide
Getting There: Directions for getting to the site

Following Groomsport Road, come off at Bank Lane and park in Ballymaccormick carpark. Access the shore on foot from here and swim out in a northerly direction towards Ballymaccormick Point. Snorkel/dive in the area off Ballymaccormick Point or follow the headland.

Facilities: Details of nearest facilities to dive site i.e. public car parking and toilets, slipways etc

Free car parking and public toilets are available in Ballymaccormick Carpark.

Nearest tank filling is DV Diving, Newtownards.

Hazards: Anecdotal information on possible hazards at the site for divers and snorkellers

Recreational boat traffic in Ballyholme Bay.

Description: A general description of the physical features of the dive site

As you swim out from the beach you cover an area of bare rippled sand, which transitions to an area of cobbles, pebbles and shell (visible from Google satellite). As you get closer to Ballymaccormick Point, the seabed is dominated by tall patches of seaweed attached to larger cobbles, boulders and bedrock outcrops.

Biodiversity: A description of the species composition at the site. Species of interest are highlighted. Follow the links for more information about the species on the NBN Atlas Northern Ireland website

The sandy area is bare aside from worm cases and shore crabs (often half buried in the sand). The cobble/pebble/shelly area is colourful, dominated by red encrusting algae, tube worms and tufts of brown algae. The rocky area beneath Ballymaccormick Point is dominated by tall brown fucoids (seaweed) with shoals of juvenile fish, including the two-spotted goby. This is an interesting site for seabirds, keep an eye out for activity at the surface!

View all species records from this site

A link to the dive site location on the NBN Atlas Northern Ireland website, showing all species records from within a 1km boundary of the site centroid. Any new species records from the site submitted to Seasearch, iRecord, CEDaR Online Recording or iNaturalist will appear here
Local Charters: A link to the website for the nearest Dive Centre to the site. A map of all dive centres is provided under ‘Go Diving’

DV Diving

Environmental and Historical Designations: A list of any environmental or historical designations attributed to the site, or overlapping it. Follow the link for more information

Outer Ards ASSI
East Coast Marine Proposed SPA

More Information: Links to additional information found online for the dive site

Northern Ireland Marine MapViewer

Safety: Safety tips

  • In an emergency call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.
  • Follow VHF radio Channel 16 (156.8 MHz), the international distress frequency. Send a distress alert followed by ‘MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY’ and ‘This is [boat name]’.
  • Find nearest defibrillator (AED) here
  • Bangor Harbour Master: 028 9145 3297
  • When navigating within the harbour/marina, use VHF Channel 11
Latitude, Longitude: The approximate XY coordinates for the dive site in Decimel Degrees (DD). These can be converted to DMS or DDM by following the link below
54.6708, -5.6372

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  1. claraalvar says:

    Very handy site for snorkelling with easy access to the shore, parking and toilets. It’s a long swim to the more interesting rocky area towards Ballymacormick Point but we got a lovely day for it! 14/08/2020

  2. Sally says:

    A lovely evening snorkel. Great visibility close to sure, but reducing with distance away from the shore due to dense plankton. Plenty of shore crabs, periwinkles and shoals of small fish including two-spotted goby. Highlight was a juvenile black guillemot swimming past me! Plus a camouflaged Dragonet! A great site for snorkelling with easy access, parking and toilet facilities close by. Would love to hear what this is like as a dive!

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