Dive beneath the surface of the Baltic Sea

The Baltic Sea looks completely different beneath the surface. Plants and animals change as you go deeper, and the colour of water can be practically anything from bright and clear to green with algae to humus-containing red and brown. Many Finns only go scuba-diving abroad in warmer waters, even though our very own Baltic Sea has some amazing places to see as well.

 A northern pike swimming among aquatic plants.
More exotic-looking fish can also be seen in Finland.

A whole new world opens up beneath the surface 

Forests of bladder wracks waving in the sea hide a group of fish larvae and invertebrates, and dozens of other species have made their homes on top of mattresses of blue mussels and in various cracks between. Polyps of moon jellies adhere to vertical rock walls, shipwrecks rest at the bottom of the sea – where not even naval shipworms can damage their structures – and broadnosed and straightnosed pipefish, cousins of tropical seahorses, live in fields of common eelgrass.  

 Dense bladder wrack bushes.
Forests of bladder wracks teem with life at the bottom of the sea.

Everyone who has completed a scuba-diving course can go scuba-diving. In Finland, no separate permit is required for scuba-diving, except in the Åland Islands, areas restricted by the Finnish Defence Forces and national parks in the Archipelago Sea, as well as in a few protected shipwreck sites. Scuba divers cannot go closer than half or one nautical mile to seal conservation areas, depending on the time of the year. 

Scuba-diving in Finland calls for proper gear 

If you do not own any scuba diving equipment, you can rent all you need from various shops and clubs along the coastline. 

Many scuba-diving clubs also arrange trips to coastal areas that offer you tips on good diving areas and a boat to get there. Some scuba-diving shops also arrange organised trips to certain sites, particularly in the Gulf of Finland.  

Remember that the water in the Baltic Sea is most likely cold. When diving to shipwrecks at greater depths, the water remain at around four degrees year-round, even if surface layers are closer to twenty degrees. This is why a dry suit should be preferred over a wetsuit, especially if you are planning to dive deep.  

 A diver taking photos of aquatic plants.
The water is most likely cold at the bottom.

Snorkeling is an easy way to experience the life beneath the surface

Snorkeling may be the easiest way to take a look at all the wonders beneath the surface of the Baltic Sea. You may not necessarily need anything else than a mask and a snorkel, while fins and a wetsuit will increase comfort.  

Underwater rocks, beaches on outer islands and clear lagoons are the best places to go snorkeling. These often offer sufficiently clear and shallow waters and are full of life that is fun to watch. 

You do not need any permits or training to go snorkeling. However, you should practice how to breathe through the snorkel. If the tip of the snorkel goes underwater or if you dive deeper, remember to blow the snorkel clear of any water before inhaling! 

 Fins, a mask, snorkel and weight belt on a pier.
Snorkeling can also be started with basic gear.

Special permits are needed for scuba-diving in the Åland Islands

Diving laws of the Åland Islands require that you obtain a diving licence granted by the Government of Åland and that the licence holders maintain a written report on their diving activities. This means that you cannot go scuba-diving in the Åland Islands without a proper licence.