Selsey lifeboat station has been a landmark on the south coast for many decades but it recently came to the end of it’s useful life. To accommodate a modern, trailer-launched lifeboat, the old structure has now been removed, including anything that might’ve caused a hazard to the new boat. It was a controversial move but ultimately it was done for the benefit of the many people who are helped each year by the RNLI service.
Personally, I was sorry to see it go. Not only was it a fantastic dive-site, providing a sheltered habitat for scores of species of fish, invertebrates and cnidarians, but it was a fabulous foreground subject for night-scape photographs due to it’s southerly aspect and lack of light pollution in the area.
Now it’s gone, the area looks very unassuming and feels, from the surface, much like any other stretch of beach along the South Coast. However, those that dived the lifeboat station know that, even though life was concentrated under the pontoon and boat-house, it spilled out on either side into the surroundings. The silt generated during the demolition process is being washed away, and life is starting to regroup and find new sheltered spots to breed again. Life under the water is not there for our benefit – I for one feel privileged to be able to witness the underwater world as a diver – so even though the life is now more spread out and my enthusiasm for diving there has diminished, I know it’s a purely selfish viewpoint and I find myself more concerned that the life has not suffered in the short or long term. Overall I see nothing wrong with the removal of a man-made structure from the sea and I’m looking forward to seeing the aquatic wildlife return to a less artificial environment.
The photo here is one I took the night before work started on demolishing the boat house. It was featured in SCUBA magazine largely thanks to Simon Rogerson, the editor, seeing the photo on my Facebook timeline and recognising it as a poignant photo to go alongside his piece on diving in Selsey.
I’ve created several prints of this so far and it looks great so if you’d like a copy for your wall, please let me know.