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Diving in Turkey

The seas all around the world are getting dirtier day by day. Despite everything; it is still possible to see the dance of the weed, the beauty of all colors in the bodies of the fish, and the little sea stars running from one place to another in the seas.

If you are not satisfied with looking at the surface of the seas, it's better to dive see all the beauty of the deep blue seas. The first thing to do is to put your aqualung and to dive to the mystery of this blue paradise! You will certainly discover the places untouched yet. You will be the witness of the wild, natural beauty and the lovely creatures of the sea that you have never met before; maybe you will even have the chance of finding and amphora which will take you to the ancient times suddenly. You will admire the beautiful colors of the nature and the mystery of these remainings. You will discover this strange taste and adventure at the bottom of these beautiful seas. Nothing will prevent you from diving anymore after all this beauty.

Don't worry if you don't have the equipment and knowledge about diving; because there are many firms giving private courses to groups day and night, they also provide equipment. If you still don't want to finish your one week holiday by these courses, there is another alternative for you. First, you are taken to a proper place by boat and you will be given some knowledge about diving and the necessary equipment. Then, with the help of a few professional divers, you will dive 7-8 m deep for one-two hours time. The duration of these courses for those who don't want to dive professionally is 5-10 days. During this time, you have the chance to learn about the first dive theorically which is known as " Discover scuba"; the first aid technique and the usage of the equipment with the help of professional divers of course.  After this course, you can accept yourself " a diver" now; but you are not allowed to go deeper.  If you really want to be real professional you have to join one month courses.  During this course, you will be trained both theorically and practically.  The first practical diving lessons is held in a swimming pool; it takes four lessons, after these lessons, you are allowed to start diving in the sea. At the end of this course, you are given an exam, if you pass this exam you will be given a certificate and an ID card.

Scuba diving in Turkey is a relatively new activity that's gaining popularity especially in the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts. Although it cannot be compared with destinations like the Red Sea or the Caribbean in terms of marine flora and fauna, Turkish waters offer other opporunities to be discovered and attract divers from all over the world. The diving clubs and travel agencies which offer specialized diving trips increase in number and the quality of the services offered increase als

 

The most outstanding feature of the Turkey's seas is the remains of past civilizations. Hundreds of underwater wrecks lie on the bottom, waiting to be discovered and explored. For example, world's oldest known shipwreck, which dates back from the 14th century B.C., lies off Uluburun, near the town of Kas. Other interesting wrecks are the Glass Wreck (11th century) in Serce Limani, Marmaris and the Bronze Age Wreck (12th century B.C.) in Bodrum. Renowned American underwater archeologist George F. Bass and scientists from the Institute of Nautical Archeology (INA) have discovered and mapped more than 125 shipwrecks off the Turkish coast.

Turkish waters are also home to a large number of wrecks from recent times. The Gallipoli campaign during the World War 1 left many wrecks in the Straits of Dardanelles and around the Gallipoli peninsula. Diving to these wrecks of the French and British World War 1 destroyers and cruisers is an unforgettable experience and provides fascinating material for underwater photographers. There are also numerous wrecks of aircraft shot down in Turkish waters during World War 2, the most famous one being the Italian fighter plane in Kas. Bosphorus also offers a large numbers of diveable wrecks but this needs advanced training because of the dangerously high currents of the straits.

 

As far as cave diving is concerned, Turkey offers a lot of potential. A recent expedition organized by a Turkish-American team including American cave divers Todd Kincaid and Jarrod Jablonski, resulted in the discovery of "Asia's largest cave".

 

Like any other sea except tropical seas, fish and other marine creatures obey some natural rules and are subject to local and/or seasonal migrations. These migrations are functions of typical parameters like temperature, salinity, food resources, turbidity and sea states. This means that you need to be at the right place at the right time to be able to see and photograph them. One day they're there in hundreds, next day not even one. Predicting where the fish will be at what time requires a lot of local knowledge and not every dive center is capable of doing that. Ask other people who took the same trip beforehand and make sure that you're going out with the right guys. Or you may not be able to see even one fish. As far as invertebrates and small fish like wrasses, gobies and sea breams are concerned, they can be seen and photographed during every dive.

The temperate climate along the Mediterranean and southern Aegean coast makes diving with a wetsuit possible all year round, although the seven months between April and October are reckoned to be ideal. Late fall, after the first rain, is the best time to be down if you're interested in seeing fish activity.

 

Divers should note that the regulations differ for Turkish citizens and foreigners in some cases. Turkish scuba divers may dive in permitted areas after informing the relevant authorities (municipalities and Coast Guard) but foreign divers must be accompanied by a Turkish licensed diving guide who is responsible for ensuring that the archeological finds and marine life will not be harmed at all times. Foreigners must also hold a scuba diving certificate issued by an authorized international (PADI, CMAS) or national (any club registered with the Turkish Underwater Federation) organization. Those without such a certificate, however, may attend training classes at any diving school certified by the Turkish Underwater Federation. Also, keep in mind that spear fishing with scuba or at night using a flashlight is not allowed.

 

Dive centers registered with the Turkish Underwater Federation get all the necessary documents and signatures and arrange a smooth diving trip for your convenience.

 

Do not forget that it is your responsibility to check with the local government agencies to receive up-to-date information. Also keep in mind that these regulations are strictly enforced...

 

Diving anywhere along the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts is likely to reveal the remains of a wreck or the scattered pieces of an amphora and the need to preserve these wrecks and their contents made it necessary to restrict scuba diving in certain areas. A map which gives a general overview of the areas where no scuba diving is allowed is attached here . The detailed official version of the restricted areas can be found in the Turkish Official Gazette #20257, August 19, 1989. In all other areas, scuba diving is allowed but it is subject to regulations set by the Turkish Underwater Federation. The Turkish Official Gazette #20450, March 3, 1990, contains these regulations which give detailed information on the required diving permits, diving limits and standards relating to equipment.

 

Who Can Scuba Dive ? Anyone finishing his/her 13th age with no serious health problems can perform this form of diving. People from all age groups take part in scuba diving training courses. This activity is not confined to summer seasons and can be exercised in winter as well. 

 

 

Sites Not Allowed for Diving

The Marmara Sea

Istanbul Sedef Island and Surroundings
Istanbul - Area Between Buyukcekmece, Guzelce ile Degirmen Cape
Kapidag Peninsula - Area from the East of Gundogdu Port to Cape Ormanli
Akcaada and Surroundings
Area Between Kapidag and Erdek
Marmara Island - Area Between Cape DomuzCape and AbaCape and West of Hayirsiz Island
The Aegean Sea
Canakkale Strait Exit, Area Between Kumkale and Cape Baba
Edremit Strait - Area Between Cape Sivrice and Cape Kadirga
Ayvalik - Maden ve Kucukmaden Islands and Surroundings
Candarli Strait - Area Between Cape Maltepe and Cape Foca
Izmir Strait - Urla Port
Area Between Cesme, Karaburun Lighthouse and Cape Doganbey
Didim - Area Between Cape Tekagac and Cape Kocaburun in Akyarlar - Bodrum
Gokova Strait - Yaliciftlik and Surroundings, Area Between Karaburun and Cape Akbuk
Gokova Strait - Area Between Northeast Exit of Camli Port and Cape Gokova
Gokova Strait - Kormen Port Northeast Part and Inceburun and Surroundings
Gokova Strait - Area Between North Exit of Mersinci Port and Cape Datca Inceburun
Hisaronu Strait - Area Between Datca Tapancaada and Cape Karabuk, Datca
Hisaronu Strait - Area Between Bencik Port Entrance and Cape Kadirga, Marmaris
Marmaris Kumlubuku -Cape Asarcik and Surroundings
Saros Strait- complete area between Buyukada, Kucukada and Minikada islands
The Meditteranean Sea
Area Between Cape Turnali, Marmaris and Cape Esek, Koycegiz
Dalaman Waterside Thicket - Area Between Cape Akca and Cape Bal, Gokcek
Fethiye - Area Between Cape Iblis, Belcegiz Strait, and Cape Yogun
Fethiye - Yediburunlar Location - Area Between Cape Kotu and Cape Zeytin
Around Kalkan - Area Between Cape InceBurun and Cape Bozburun
Kas - Areas Between Cape Inceburun and Geyikova, GOkkaya Port Exit and Cape Kuzey
Finike - Area Beween Cape Akcaoglu and Cape Inceburun, Kemer
Coastal Strip of Antique Side
Alanya - Area Between Cape Karaburun and Kargiciftligi
It is strictly prohibited to dive anywhere in the Black Sea and the Coastal Strip from Alanya to the Syrian Border, since these parts have not been surveyed for determining diving sites and places.

COORDINATES OF SECOND-DEGREE FORBIDDEN ZONES AROUND THE AKSAZ MARINE BASE COMMAND : "(24550-68260), (24380-72280), (24180-74160), (23220-74820), (22460-76240), (20560-76260), (19780-77120), (19880-78540), (20840-80740), (21840-82800), (24080-83100), (25440-83640), (27280-83560), (28680-84100), (29800-84700), (30820-84640), (31400-83570), (32020-83440), (32600-80240), (32660-77770), (34540-77020), (35000-76040), (35400-74740), (34360-74160), (34340-68400)"

 

PHONE

Capa Hosp. Dept. of Marine and Underwater Tel:+90 (212) 531 35 44
34390 Capa - Istanbul  
Cubuklu Underwater Rescue Tel:+90 (216) 322 25 80
Istanbul (MILITARY RESCUE)
Gata, Haydarpasa Underwater Department Tel:+90 (216) 345 02 95
Istanbul (MILITARY RESCUE)  
Bodrum Underwater Research Institute Tel:+90 (252) 316 24 91
Bodrum  

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