By boat from Rathlin, or Ballycastle, Harbour. The site is approx. 200metres off the shore in the middle of Arkill Bay.
Rathlin Harbour has pontoons for around 40 boats. Water and electricity are available on the pontoon but there is no reliable source of fuel. Public toilets are available in Church Bay between the harbour and the pub, near the playground.
Ballycastle Harbour has a gated slipway (open during office hours) and pontoon berthing. Free car parking is available above the harbour and marina. Free public toilets are available in the visitor information office above the harbour.
Berthing fees apply for both Rathlin and Ballycastle Harbour Office; for use of either, contact the Ballycastle Harbour Office: 02820768525 / 07803505984.
Nearest tank filling is Aquaholics in Ballycastle or Portstewart (ring ahead: 028 7083 2584)
- Strong tidal currents, eddies and overfalls occur all around Rathlin Island
Picton’s reef is part of a submerged ridge protruding from the east coast north of Doon Point and into Arkill Bay . Whilst the west side of the reef slopes up fairly gently towards the coast, the south, north and east sides drop off steeply. The top of the reef is at approximately 18m with the base at around 36m. A vertical bedrock wall surrounds the reef with patches of large boulders.
The top of the reef is covered in foliose red algae whereas the sides are dominated by a bryozoan, sponge and hydroid community, including the hydroid species Polyplumaria flabellata, Diphasia alata (both Northern Ireland Priority Species) and the white cluster anemone Parazoanthus anguicomus.
View all species records from this siteA 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
Sponge Diversity of Rathlin Island
Rathlin Sublittoral Survey Report 2009-2011
- 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.
- Ballycastle/Rathlin Harbour Office No. 028 207 68525 Mobile Number 07803 505084
- When navigating within Ballycastle or Rathlin Harbour, use VHF Channel 80.
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