Diving in Marseille

the mediterranean destination

Marseille is the capital of diving in France. Because of its history, it offers the opportunity to dive in a wide variety of sites.

Marseille the capital of recreational diving

History of diving

The year 1936 marked the launch of a new recreational and underwater activity in France: recreational diving. All the essential elements that make up a diver’s equipment are created and personalities emerge: Yves le Prieur, then Philippe Tailliez, Frédéric Dumas and Jacques-Yves Cousteau.

But already in 1934, in Marseille, François Cluzot opened a department dedicated to diving equipment in his shop on Cours Lieutaud, the future mythical “Au vieux plongeur”. Pierre Vogel took over in 1967 and for 50 years this shop was the Ali Baba’s cave for divers from France and abroad. The same year, Georges Beuchat launched his company manufacturing underwater equipment and Marseille was to become the home of a sports federation dedicated to diving in 1948.

During the Second World War, two dives marked the year 1943. First of all, Georges Commeinhes, inventor of the very first breathing apparatus, dived on 30 July at Estaque and reached a depth of 53 metres with his regulator with integrated face mask. Not forgetting Frédéric Dumas who reached -62 metres at Les Goudes and who, with Cousteau and Tailliez, formed ‘the trio of mousquemers’ (the three musketeers of the sea).

In 1952, Captain Cousteau conducted archaeological excavations on Roman wrecks at the Grand Congloué site in Riou and the young Albert Falco, 25 years old, who had grown up in the Sormiou cove, boarded Calypso as a deckhand and never left.

Immersion in the world of silence

The coastline of the Bouches-du-Rhône is home to an abundance of underwater relics that bear witness to the history of the department, and particularly of Marseille.
In Marseille, divers can discover ancient amphorae, ancient and modern shipwrecks and numerous military aircraft from the Second World War. Not forgetting the multitude of drop-offs, caves, arches and wells that make up a varied natural underwater landscape that seriously competes with the climbing cliffs, valleys, peaks and caves of the Calanques massif.

The diving area of Marseille is divided into sectors

Marseille has a 57 km long coastline, an immeasurable area of discovery for divers and diving clubs. To make it easy to find your way around, the diving area is divided into 4 sectors, which are briefly presented below, starting from the north to the south. To reach them, departures are by dive boat from the Pointe-Rouge, the Vieux-Port, the Frioul, the Estaque and Corbières.

The harbour of Marseille & Frioul

The harbour of Marseille, which stretches from Estaque in the north to Cap Croisette in the south, includes the Frioul archipelago, which lies at its centre. This area has 12 diving sites.

The Planier

Planier is a lighthouse on an islet, 5 nautical miles (8 km) from the coast. It marks the entrance to the waters of Marseille for those arriving from offshore. Most of the diving spots are concentrated along its northern coast. There are 9 diving spots.

The Archipelago of the Riou Islands

Riou and its chain of islands are located off the Calanques massif and are home to seabeds known throughout the world for their beauty, richness and diversity.
The archipelago is divided into 4 large islands: Maïre, Jarre, Plane and Riou.
And several islets: Tiboulen de Maïre, les Pharillons, Jarron, the small and large Congloué Moyade, les Moyadons and les Impériaux.

The Calanques

The Calanques sector is the underwater area that stretches along the coastline between the south of Cap Croisette and the Pointe de la Cacau in Cassis.

Diving areas outside Marseille

The playground for divers is even larger if you add the diving spots along the Côte Bleue, Cassis and La Ciotat, three communes that surround Marseille to the north or south.

Did you know?

The Marseille Tourist Office and Convention Bureau, in partnership with the City of Marseille’s Maritime Department, have been participating for several years in the diving exhibition that takes place every January in Paris. It is with pleasure that we meet you every year to discuss diving in Marseille!

Diving clubs and associations

in Marseille