Thanet Coast SAC

Status: Designated


Site overview

This Special Area of Conservation partially overlaps with Thanet Coast Marine Conservation Zone - both are different types of Marine Protected Area. This site is in place to protect the chalky reefs around the coastline, as well as the sea caves. Thanet Coast has around 90 caves or cave-like features, as well as some stack and arch formations. 

MPA Type

Special Area of Conservation

Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) are strictly protected sites designated under European legislation. They contribute both to the UK MPA network and set up to protect habitat types and species considered to be most in need of conservation at a European level (excluding birds).

Designation date

1 October 1996

Surface Area

28.14 km2 (10.87 mi.2)


58.23 km (36.18 mi.)

Coordinates (central point)

51° 22' 44" North, 1° 23' 8" East

  • Submerged or partially submerged sea caves

    Typically associated with reefs, caves that are either underwater all the time or welcome the sea at high tides, caves provide a habitat for a wide variety of plants and animals.

  • Reefs

    Areas where the bedrock, stable boulders and cobbles or structures created by animals arise from the surrounding seabed. They attract and provide a home to a huge variety of plant and animal life.

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The site is rarely dived by Seasearch as it’s a very challenging exposed coast with high sediment loading.

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Did you know?…

To the shelf limits, Scotland has 61% of UK waters, of which 23% are now in existing or new ‘marine protected areas’

Over 170 parliamentarians from across the political spectrum signed up to our Marine Charter calling for a network of ‘marine protected areas’ in UK Seas

Over 500,000 records on undersea habitats and species have been collected by volunteer Seasearch divers providing significant evidence for inshore ‘marine protected areas’