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Tourism

  • Basking Sharks
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Basking Sharks

The Isle of Man is internationally renowned as a hotspot for these rare and impressive sea creatures which are the second largest fish in the world!

Overview

Between May and August Manx waters are infiltrated by high numbers of basking sharks - sometimes many more than are recorded in the British Isles.

Most basking shark sightings are reported within one kilometre of land, which means visitors to the Island stand an excellent chance of seeing these magnificent creatures up close and personal.

Why not pay a visit to Port Erin, Niarbyl or Peel? The sheltered south coast and south western shores of the Island offer a perfect vantage point to view the basking sharks as they feed on the plankton which floats on the water’s surface when the sea is calm.

You can also see the basking sharks further out to sea by taking a chartered boat trip. A number of accredited companies will take you to the spots regularly frequented by the animals, without disturbing them in their natural habitat.

Suggestions

Basking sharks are most commonly spotted off the south and south western coasts of the Isle of Man and this is a good place to focus your attention if you want to see these magnificent creatures.

Why not start in the Island’s ancient capital of Castletown and work clockwise around the Island? Try the Chasms and Spanish Head in Port St Mary and the sheltered bay of Port Erin before moving towards Niarbyl, Glen Maye and finally Peel – where the sharks are often spotted.

If you’re not lucky enough to spot the basking sharks from the shore consider taking a chartered boat trip. A number of boat operators run wildlife trips from Peel and Port Erin. Look out for the WISE symbol which shows that the boat operator has been accredited as a wildlife safe operator.

The Manx Basking Shark Watch is a public sightings scheme and scientific project run by the Manx Wildlife Trust. It registers where basking sharks have been sited on the Island so it’s worth checking before you start looking.