Wreck Diving: The 10 Best Dive Sites in the World

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Because the scuba diving business was born, individuals have been fascinated by shipwrecks. Whether or not it was discovering new wrecks, salvaging previous ones or treasure searching, lots of an important advances in scuba diving have been motivated by wreck diving. In the present day, there's a wreck for each capability degree, from Open Water to Tec Diver. Though this tends to be a extremely controversial difficulty, we consider these 10 wreck diving websites symbolize the perfect on the earth for PADI Wreck Divers. (Be happy to disagree with us within the feedback on our social media pages!)


Ammunitions on the SS Thistlegorm

1. SS Thistlegorm – Ras Mohammed, Egypt

Situated within the northern part of Pink Sea, the SS Thistlegorm is understood to many as the most effective wreck dive on the planet. A well-liked liveaboard cease, it’s accessible by each dive safari and day journeys from Sharm El-Sheikh. This 420-foot (128-meter) British transport ship was sunk in 1941 following a German air assault. At superior leisure depths, the Thistlegorm is a incredible glimpse into historical past. Divers can nonetheless view the ship’s cargo, together with tanks, vans, jeeps, bikes and even a locomotive! You’ll want at the least two dives to completely see all the things the Thistlegorm has to supply.

  • Required Certification: Superior Open Water
  • When to Go: March to Might; September to November

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2. USAT Liberty – Tulamben, Bali

Thought-about one of the crucial accessible wrecks on the earth, the highest of the USAT Liberty sits in simply 10 ft (three meters) of water, making this wreck good for snorkeling, too. The ship was initially an American warship. It survived WWI solely to be despatched into WWII. In 1942, it was torpedoed by the Japanese off the coast of Bali. The captain beached the ship, and it sat rusting above the water for 30 years. In 1963, a volcanic eruption shifted the ship into the shallow waters simply offshore. The deepest part of the boat lies at 95 ft (28 meters) and measures 390 ft (120 meters) lengthy. Superior divers can full a couple of swim throughs, however open water divers are welcome to discover the shallower sections. The USAT Liberty general makes an ideal introduction to wreck diving!

  • Required Certification: Open Water
  • When to Go: April to November

three. SS President Coolidge – Vanuatu

Initially constructed as a luxurious cruise liner, the SS President Coolidge turned a troopship throughout World Conflict II. In 1942, she was struck by pleasant mines after the captain did not obtain details about a protected passage to harbor. The ship was grounded and all however two of the sailors aboard survived. In the present day, the ship sits between 65 and 230 ft (20 and 70 meters) and is a nationally protected dive website. Scuba divers in Vanuatu can discover the varied decks and holds, discovering weapons, cannons, vans and “The Woman,” one of many remnants of the ship’s former glory.

  • Required Certification: Open Water however a extra superior certification is advisable
  • When to Go: April to October

four. Fujikawa Maru – Chuuk Lagoon, the Federated States of Micronesia

Throughout World Conflict II, the pure harbor referred to as Chuuk (Truk) Lagoon was the primary base of the Japanese navy. As could be anticipated, this focus of ships turned a goal for Allied forces who bombed the lagoon in 1944. This operation finally sunk 12 warships, 32 service provider ships and 275 plane. In the present day, the Fujikawa Maru is among the most accessible of the 60 “re-discovered” wrecks. The ferry sits in simply 30 ft (9 meters) of water and is definitely penetrable. Inside, divers can spot every thing from airplanes to ammunitions.

  • Required Certification: Open Water with out penetration. Wreck Diver with penetration.
  • When to Go: December to April

5. Hilma Hooker – Bonaire, the Caribbean Netherlands

With simply accessible wrecks just like the Hilma Hooker, wreck diving doesn’t get a lot better than it's in Bonaire. This 236-foot (72-meter) freighter sits on her starboard aspect underneath 95 ft (28 meters) of water. Her historical past is an fascinating one. In 1984, the ship and her crew have been detained for drug smuggling. The house owners of the boat by no means got here ahead, so the Hilma Hooker languished and ultimately sank at an anchorage. Fortunately it landed on a sand flat between two coral reef techniques. Little or no penetration is feasible, however with crystal clear visibility, the Hilma Hooker is a dive to recollect.

  • Required Certification: Superior Open Water
  • When to Go: Yr-round

6. The Gunilda – Rossport, Canada

Sometimes treacherous circumstances make the Nice Lakes a sailor’s nightmare and a wreck diver’s dream. The depths of the Lakes imply that most of the wrecks won't ever be visited, however these which were found usually stay in pristine situation because of the chilly and recent water.

The Gunilda was a luxurious steam yacht billed as probably the most opulent boat on the flip of the 20th Century. In 1911, she ran aground on McGarvey’s Shoal in Canada, which reaches up from 280 ft (85 meters) to inside three ft (1 meter) of the floor. The passengers deserted ship and salvage efforts started, however the hull full of water and she or he sank to 270 ft (82 meters). At present, the wreck stays completely intact and as scenic because the day she sank, however solely tec and trimix divers are capable of behold her magnificence.

  • Required Certification: Tec and Trimix
  • When to Go: June to September

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7. SS Yongala – Queensland, Australia

Arguably the highest wreck dive within the Southern Hemisphere, the SS Yongala in Australia was sunk throughout a cyclone in 1911, killing all 124 on board. In the present day, the freight and passenger steamer’s highest level lies at simply 52 ft (16 metres) and goes right down to 108 ft (33 metres). To take care of the remarkably good situation of the hull, divers are prevented from getting into the boat. This serves to scale back the damaging results air bubbles have on the sunken ship.

  • Required Certification: Superior Open Water
  • When to Go: December to February for heat and clear waters. June to November for elevated marine life exercise.

eight. SMS Kronprinz Wilhelm – Scapa Move, Scotland

On the finish of World Struggle I, 74 German vessels have been scuttled off the Orkney Islands in Scotland. This motion was taken with a view to forestall the ships from falling into the palms of the British. After salvaging efforts between 1920 and 1945, 7 of the German ships stay in Scapa Flow. These battleships be a part of British naval vessels and block ships to create a wreck diving wonderland.

Whereas many of those wrecks lie under leisure limits, the SMS Kronprinz Wilhelm is definitely accessible at 40 to 115 ft (12 to 35 meters). The dimensions of the 480-foot (146-meter) could be appreciated at a shallow depth, however the ship’s armaments are higher loved from superior depths with using Nitrox.

  • Required Certification: Open Water however Superior Open Water is beneficial
  • When to Go: April to October

View Dive Deals in Scotland


9. Bianca C – Grenada, Caribbean

The one ship within the prime 10 to have been sunk twice. In 1944, earlier than completion, the boat was torpedoed in tow. It was subsequently raised, renamed and eventually accomplished 2 years later. After 12 years of various success as a passenger cruise liner, the Bianca C lastly met her finish when, anchored simply of the coast of Grenada, she caught hearth. Of the 673 individuals on board solely 2 died.

As we speak, this spectacular 590-foot (180-meter) wreck sits at 100 to 164 ft (30 to 50 meters), mendacity between a reef system and the open ocean. So that you get each reef and pelagic motion in an already incredible dive. Dives often embrace a go to to the swimming pool (38m) and work alongside the bow, ending on the bow tip (30m).

  • Required Certification: Superior Open Water
  • When to Go: December to June

10. USS Saratoga – Bikini Atoll, the Marshall Islands

Initially constructed as a category heavy cruiser, the united statesSaratoga (CV3) was transformed into an plane service and ultimately commissioned for obligation in 1927. After a number of years of service earlier than and through WWII, the 880-foot (268-meter) service discovered itself surplus to necessities on the conflict’s finish. At this level, the Saratoga was assigned to Operation Crossroads, a program to evaluate the impact of atomic bombs on naval vessels in Bikini Atoll.

After surviving her first publicity to atomic firepower, the united statesSaratoga would ultimately sink beneath the influence of the second check. It got here to relaxation on the sand 177 ft (54 meters) down with its bridge at 18m. Immediately, a lot of the wreck nonetheless stays unexplored. As a result of the Bikini Atoll stays uninhabited, the marine life within the space can also be astounding, and the Saratoga has develop into residence to an awesome variety of marine species.

  • Required Certification: Superior Open Water
  • When to Go: Might to October

Whereas wreck diving can result in memorable experiences, there are some additional issues to make earlier than your first expedition.

Wreck diving equipment

What Gear is Mandatory for Wreck Diving?

As a result of wreck penetration typically consists of overhead environments, particular gear could also be crucial. Whereas the gear wanted will change based mostly on the state of affairs, critical wreck divers may need to contemplate investing within the following gadgets:

  • Dive Mild: You’ll need a good dive mild for penetration and searching into darkish corners of the wreck. Be sure that the sunshine’s grip matches your hand and features a lanyard or wrist strap. You might also need to spend money on a secondary dive mild in case the primary unexpectedly fails.
  • Dive Knife: Dive knives are important for wreck diving. You might want it to chop fishing line, rope or wires inside or outdoors the boat. You dive knife ought to have each a serrated in addition to straight edge and will match into your calf or weight belt.
  • Underwater Slate: Whereas an underwater slate is useful for communication in most diving conditions, it may be notably helpful inside a wreck. It’s primary perform whereas wreck diving is to map the ship you're exploring.
  • Wreck Reel: Utilized in each penetration situations and conditions the place you're exploring a brand new wreck that could be damaged up, a wreck reel is a useful gadget for marking your path.
  • Marker Buoy: For those who’re exploring a brand new wreck, a marker buoy could be useful in figuring out the precise GPS location of the wreck as soon as you come back to the floor. It’s additionally an excellent security software.

Getting certified as a wreck diver

Do I Have to Take a Wreck Diver Specialty Course?

We all the time advocate taking the Wreck Diver course earlier than wreck diving. Basically, there are three varieties of wreck diving:

  • Non-Penetration Diving: That is the least dangerous sort of wreck diving. Usually, divers descend, circle the wreck and work their approach again the floor. Though non-penetration diving doesn't require specialised wreck diver coaching, scuba divers ought to nonetheless concentrate on entanglement risks.
  • Restricted Penetration: In this kind of wreck diving, divers can penetrate the wreck as long as an exit level continues to be seen and a minimal of pure mild exists.
  • Full Penetration: With the best dangers, full penetration permits scuba divers to enter the wreck previous the sunshine zone and with out the power to flee in an out of air state of affairs.

Dangers of wreck diving

Is Wreck Diving Harmful?

Like all sort of diving, wreck diving carries dangers, however with correct coaching, these might be minimized.

The most typical danger in wreck diving is entanglement. This could happen in non-penetration wreck diving as fishermen’s nets and features typically grow to be ensnared on ship buildings. A dependable dive knife can go a great distance in fixing this concern.

One other danger to think about is a silt-out. In a restricted penetration state of affairs, a silt-out can turn out to be endangering if the close by exit is blocked from view. Restricted visibility causes confusion and sometimes divers will progress additional into the wreck by accident. Because of this, wonderful buoyancy is important to wreck diving.

You might need to think about taking the Peak Performance Buoyancy course along with the PADI Wreck Diver course earlier than you start wreck diving.


What number of of those wrecks have you ever visited? In case you’re able to dive into top-of-the-line wreck dive websites on the earth, begin planning your journey on PADI Travel now.

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