What Is Coasteering?

What is coasteering?

Coasteering NewquayCoasteering originated as a combination of mountaineering and orienteering, and was first talked about in the guidebook for climbing in Devon. 

The activity combines sea swimming, low level climbing, traversing, natural rapid riding and ledge leaps into deep water plunge pools. We run our coasteers along the Gazzle, the Cornish word for armpit and a sheltered stretch of coastline hosting an abundance of native wildlife. Coasteering in Newquay, Cornwall is a great way to get hands on with the landscape and see our coastal flora and fauna up close.

We offer over seven different coasteering activities, including our popular North Coast Challenge and Low Tide coasteers. These use the tide to our advantage, allowing maximum water in the deep water plunge pools for leaps and exciting rapids around the coastal rocks. It’s also been named as a Top 5 beach activity by Cornwall Life Magazine.

The activity started in 1986, when Andy Middleton from TYF began running coasteering as a guided experience. It’s now represented by an advisory organisation, the National Coasteering Charter which monitors operating standards, training standards, upholds sustainable practices, represents coasteering providers nationally to other governing bodies and continually pushes the improvement of coasteering safety. The activity is also discussed regularly at meetings of the Coasteer Charter Symposium.

Lead Coasteer Instructor, Brendo gives us the lowdown:

“It’s the combination of going with the flow of the waves as they push and pull you, and being so hands on with the coastline. You’re really close up to native wildlife like seals and lobsters; it’s exciting and nerve wracking all in one. Then there is the darkness and quiet of the caves, with so much history to those caverns it’s great to know you’ve shared them with pirates from years ago.” 

See our top coasteering tips to know for when you go!

Newquay CoasteeringThe Gazzle is steeped in history, playing host to the UK’s steepest lifeboat slip, deep tea caverns once used by plundering pirates and the ominous Dead Man’s Cove, a rocky inlet responsible for making wrecks of many ships! During our Heritage Coasteers, you’ll be taken on a journey of historical discovery along the coasteer route!

All our Instructors are fully qualified Beach and Surf Safety Lifeguards, ISA surf Instructors and Coasteering trailblazers. They’ve undertaken extensive First Aid training and we endeavour as an Activity Centre to regularly train our staff so they have experience in all weather and water conditions. All coasteering routes have been risk assessed and developed to ensure an adrenaline-fuelled but low risk coasteer. We also work in close partnership with the RNLI presence on every beach to ensure your safety in and out of the water. Check out one of our training courses here.

Coasteering in Cornwall is an exhilarating and adrenaline fuelled activity during which you explore the inter-tidal impact zone between high and low tides. If done without instruction and expert knowledge of the area, coasteering can be a hazardous activity in an unpredictable environment. Having been recognised as a top centre for cultural activities, our professional instructors will lead you in navigating the borders between coast and sea safely, whilst incorporating ledge leaps with low level traversing, wild swimming and natural rapids. We’re also just 500m from the Sunday Times’ No.1 beach for activities, Fistral Beach.

Coasteering in NewquayYes! Coasteering is a year round activity, you just need a few extra bits of kit to keep you warmer in winter months! We even coasteer all the way up to Christmas. Check out our popular New Year coasteers in aid of SSAFA, the armed forces charity.


Wetsuits – You’ll be given a full body 5mm neoprene suit designed to prevent chill whilst submerged in water.

Buoyancy aid – Our non-obstructive buoyancy aids zip up like flotation jackets, designed to ensure you bob in the water and can move freely for climbing!

Helmet – You’ll be clambering up and along rocky outcrops during your coasteer, so the helmet will protect you from any unstable debris that may fall during your activity.

Newquay Coasteering All our coasteering instructors wear exactly the same equipment as you, but carry some extra gear to ensure your safety.

  1. First Aid Kit – Instructors will carry a first aid kit in case of minor injuries along the coasteer route.
  1. Peterson tubes – Each instructor will carry a large yellow float, useful as a jump guide for leaps into the water and easily adaptable into a life float for rest and recovery.
  2. Throw lines – Your coasteer instructors carry a 15metre, super flexible floating rope that can be tossed out into the water at a moments notice. It’s an essential part of coasteering safety kit and strong enough to pull the weight of multiple people.
  3. Towlines – Another piece of useful safety kit is a towline, easily attached if a customer requires towing from the water to the shore during larger swells.
  4. Torches – You’ll be exploring rocky nooks and old smugglers caves during our coasteers, so a torch is a useful guide whilst in darker corners.
  5. Mobile phone – One instructor carries a mobile phone during the coasteer, protected by waterproof casing and fully charged in case of emergency.
  6. Goggles – Goggles are an optional extra if you’d like to peak under the water’s surface on a clear and sunny day! The water is very clear in the Gazzle.
  7. Diving knife – Useful for cutting old fishing lines

We’ve found over 80 marine species along our coasteering route! Whilst making the most of the ocean elements the Gazzle has to offer, we think it is important to consider that it’s a thriving habitat. We work in partnership with the Cornwall Wildlife Trust and endeavour to ensure we make as little negative impact on the ecosystem as possible! You’ll be very likely see Native Seals, Kittiwakes birds, lobsters, and fish whilst on your coasteer.

Bin Bags for litter collection – Towards the end of your coasteer, we always run a 2-minute coasteer clean-up to give back to the environment and help protect the quality of the area. See our Eco Coasteers to find out how we’re helping protect our coastline’s natural wildlife.

If you have your own suit please bring it along but wait until you’ve spoken with our instructors before putting it on. Some wetsuits are not suitable for coasteering, specifically shorties and triathlon suits. The same applies for wetsuit boots / beach shoes. Some are suitable and others aren’t. Trainers for example, are perfect for the rocky terrain.

Bring a pair of lace-up trainers to wear during your coasteer. They will of course get wet, so you can also hire wetsuit boots or trainers for a small charge of £5.

All you need to bring is your swimwear, a towel and some old trainers to wear in the water. We will provide you with everything else, including a wetsuit, buoyancy aid, helmet and a rash vest.

You’ll have the opportunity to do a variety of different jumps along your coasteer route that vary in height. The highest we jump from is 8 metres but this may vary depending on the tide during your coasteer. You’ll need to demonstrate good technique before your instructor will allow you to do the larger jumps. So you want to coasteer but don’t know if the big jumps are for you? Don’t worry, all jumps are optional! Here at Coastline Coasteer we use our 15 years of experience plotting the area and knowing exactly all the exit and entry points along the way. Our coaches make sure that at any jump or obstacle, there is a way around, whether you swim to the next checkpoint with an instructor, or climb out and follow the route along the breath-taking cliff path, re-joining the others at the next part of the course. There is something for everyone at Coastline Coasteer; it’s not just about the jumps, it’s about you enjoying this environment in different ways. We can tailor every activity to the individual, just let us know!

One of the other phenomenal experiences that you can come across at Coastline Coasteer on a low tide are the freshly exposed caves waiting for you to explore. Enter Gollum’s Cave for one of the best adventures of your life; you will find it bursting at the seams with vibrant marine life! Beadlet and Strawberry anemones will greet you all around, and the orange breadcrumb sponge, a single living organism plastering the entire roof of the cave, may reveal some unusual culinary delights! Then be amazed by the smugglers’ tales and spooky feel to some of these deep, dark and mysterious areas.

Please arrive at the centre at the start time of your session. This can be found on you booking confirmation email. There is no parking outside the centre so please allow plenty of time to park and walk down to our centre on Fore Street. Once there your instructor will welcome you.

If you have any medical needs, injuries or special requirements, just give us a ring and we can talk through how best we can cater for your needs during your coasteering experience!

Newquay CoasteeringWe ask that everybody who takes part in our coasteering experiences can swim a minimum of 50 metres. However, you’ll be given a buoyancy aid as part of your coasteering kit so there’s no need to be nervous of you’re not the strongest swimmer!

Coasteering requires a basic level of fitness. During the route you’ll be doing low level climbing and will need to be able to pull yourself out of the winter onto rocky traverses. It’ll certainly get the heart pumping but you don’t have to be an athlete.

From changing room to water’s edge is a 5-minute walk! You’ll make your way down to the coasteer starting point as a group.

Lockers for valuables are available at the centre free of charge to ensure they are safely stowed away whilst you’re down on your coasteering route. There are also storage compartments available for the rest of your gear including clothes and shoes. Please note that any items are left at the guest’s own risk.

The minimum age limit for our group activities is 8 years old. However, we offer private sessions for every activity so no one has to miss out of coasteering in Newquay, Cornwall! All our instructors have years of experience working individually with children of all ages.

Why not combine your coasteer with our Super Stand Up Paddle Boarding experience, the summer’s hottest new activity as featured in the Newquay Voice! Navigate your around Newquay’s historical shorelines and natural caverns whilst exploring the history and wildlife of the local area.

Yes! You can burn even when it’s cloudy! We ALWAYS advise that you slap on good slather of factor 30-50 water-resistant sun cream before taking part in one of our activities. You can also use a bit of zinc for extra protection.

It is generally best not to wear glasses if possible. Talk to your instructor on the day and explain what level of sight you have without glasses and they will advise. In calm conditions it should not be a problem, however we always suggest glasses have a cord/lanyard, or that they are securely tied onto your buoyancy aid. Using disposable contact lenses is advisable.

All our sessions are fully insured and are covered in the price of the activity.

Coasteering NewquayWe’re not afraid of some wind and rain, but Mother Nature occasionally intervenes and makes it impossible to run a safe session.  In the unlikely event that this should happen, we would endeavour to change the date of your session or offer an alternative solution.  If this were still impossible then a voucher would be issued for the value of the activity.

Our cancellation policy is outlined in our terms and conditions.  If cancellation occurs 4 weeks or more from the activity’s start date then a full refund will be issued.  If the session is cancelled 2-3 weeks before start date then a 50% refund will be given.  Unfortunately if the cancellation occurs less than 2 weeks to activity’s start date then no refund can be issued. If the booking is changed more than 21 days prior to the Experience we will make every effort to change the requested booking. Less than 21 days prior to the start, no changes can be made.

Cornwall CoasterringThe Gazzle is only a short walk from our activity centre and easily accessible for those not wishing to take part in the coasteer. You’ll be able to follow the coasteer group from above.

Yes, you can book directly via our website or ou can give us a ring and we can take payment directly over the phone. Call our bookings team on 01637 877722.  Our lines are open from 8:00am until 10:00pm.