Skip to Content

Search for
Scuba Diving : Articles : Scuba Diving Trivia : The World's Best Wreck Dives

The World's Best Wreck Dives

Submitted by admin on 2009-09-04 | Last Modified on 2010-06-07

Rating: 12345   Go Login to rate this article.   Votes: 0 | Comments: 2 | Views: 12361

Wreck diving is a passion amongst many divers and allows for a bridge between the underwater life and that which exists on dry land. There is something about being dwarfed by a massive 100 meter large vessel underwater that is extremely humbling. Below are a list of 10 of the worlds best wreck dives.

SS Thistlegorm - Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt

Scuba Diving Article - The SS Thistlegorm
The SS Thistlegorm
Photo by alfonsator
Image by Helen Parris

The SS Thistlegorm is a 126 meter long merchant vessel was built in 1940 and was commandeered during World War II by the Navy. On the 6th of October 1941 she was anchored behind Shab Ali while planning to head to North Africa to provide British troops with cargo, she was then attacked by a German aircraft and sank.
She now lies on a sandy sea floor at a depth of 30 meters and its highest point being at a depth of 18 meters. The cargo which this amazing ship was transporting is still intact in some cases and consists of various ammunitions as well as even some trucks and motorbikes.
There is some current around the wreck and visibility can have its ups and downs so this dive should be done by the more experienced divers. The fish life is great here though with Barracudas, Jacks, Batfish, Surgeonfish and more. This dive site is without a doubt one of the top scuba diving wreck sites in the world and is the subject of many great underwater photos. It is truly a breathtaking wreck dive and is highly recommended for those who want to perform beautiful and memorable dive.

Blackjack B17 - Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea

The Blackjack B17 consists of a B17F, 4-engine Boeing manufactured plane wreckage which is located just off shore. It sank when it was involved in a crash landing on the 11 July 1943 when it was returning from an air raid. She currently sits upright next to a reef wall which is home to numerous coral formations. Due to the depths of this dive, one may not get the desired time to explore the wreck so multiple dives may be required.
The dive is only suitable for advanced divers- laying at a depth of 40 meters. Despite over half a century underwater the Blackjack wreck remains in great condition with the cockpit looking almost as it did over 50 years ago- this dive site is also coupled with an area of good visibility, adding to the experience and definitely securing it as one of the worlds best wreck dives.

Zenobia - Larnaca, Cyprus

Scuba Diving Article - Diver descending onto the Zenobia Wreck
Diver descending onto the Zenobia Wreck
Photo by utnapistim
Image by Utnapistim

Located 10 minutes boat journey from Larnaca harbour Zenobia is one of the top ten wreck dives in the world and a favourite among scuba divers all over the world. It consists of large ferry which limped into Larnaca with bouyancy problems though it eventually ended up sinking there.

The 178 meter long ferry went down with over 100 large vehicles on-board, giving this dive plenty of exploration possibility. In 30 minutes of diving you won't even have a chance to have explored 1/10 of this wreck, making it wonderful for numerous visits. One of the most appealing aspects of this dive is the fact that it accommodates for all levels of divers- descending down from 16 meters to a more adventurous 43 meters. This dive should not be missed!

Captain Keith Tibbetts - Cayman Islands

Scuba Diving Article - The MV Captain Keith Tibbetts
The MV Captain Keith Tibbetts
Photo by Venson Kuchipudi
Image by Bjbrake

This scuba dive consists of a beautiful wreck which was intentionally sunk in September 1996 as an artificial reef. This 100 meter long Russian vessel now lies in an area where she has been broken a bit via Nor'Wester which has now left a few areas which divers can penetrate. Located near to the bow of the wreck there is a sandy area which leads to some corals as well as an interesting wall and a drop off. The wreck and wall combination provide an interesting scuba dive in an area which is quite rich in both coral and fish life. The large size, ability to penetrate and good visibility establishes The Captain Keith Tibbetts as one of the worlds best wreck dives.

Umbria - Wingate Reef, Sudan

Scuba Diving Article - The Umbria wreck in Sudan
The Umbria wreck in Sudan
Photo by david_salvatori
Image by ClifB

This popular 130 meter long wreck lies in a sheltered area near Wingate Reef, this vessel originally a German freighter became an Italian cargo vessel and was carrying bombs, attempting to evade capture when it sunk and still has some inside. She lies on her port side with some of the wreck breaking the surface of the water. There is very little current around The Umbria which makes it diveable at all times. The wreck happened to sink while carrying numerous bombs (in excess of 300 000 bombs) as well as cars and lifeboats, providing numerous smaller wrecks apart from the main attraction. The maximum depth is at 36 meters and one is even able to explore some of the wreck by snorkelling. An absolutely stunning wreck dive which is highly recommended.

USS Oriskany - Florida

Scuba Diving Article - Jellyfish alongside the USS Oriskany
Jellyfish alongside the USS Oriskany
Photo by divemasterking2000
Image by Divemasterking2000

USS Oriskany was sunk May 17th, 2006. Ex-USS Oriskany CVA-34 the only aircraft carrier that you can scuba dive to. Intentionally sunk as an artificial reef outside Pensacola Florida in 2006 the Mighty O is providing both recreational/sport and technical scuba diving. The USS Oriskany boasts itself as the largest artificial reef in the world with a length in excess of 250 meters. She currently sits upright and descends down from depths of only 20-odd meters down to depths in excess of 45 meters, making the USS Oriskany suitable for all levels of experience while holding something special for those able to descend to the deeper depths. Ship dimensions: - Length: 888 feet - Foot beam: 157 feet. Marine life includes Amber Jacks, Grouper, Tuna and more.

Fujikawa Maru - Truk, Micronesia

Scuba Diving Article - Inside Fujikawa-Maru
Inside Fujikawa-Maru
Photo by mmichishiro
Image by Craig Grobler

The Fujikawa Maru is a 6,983 ton 6-hold freighter – the most popular wreck in the lagoon with tons of coral around the stern and bow guns and five Zero fighters in the second hold. You can see the engine room but it requires special wreck diving skills Its 9 meters and including the deck 18 meters. The bottom is 34 meters and it is 132 meters long with a gross Tonnage of: 6,938 tons. It lies between the Eten and Uman Islands – great for night dives too. It was originally a passenger cargo ship that was recruited in 1940 by the Imperial Japanese Navy into an aircraft ferry.

During Operation Hailstone in 44’ planes from US launched 3E-1 two torpedoes causing a slow irreversible process toward sinking. More than one dive is needed to get the full impact of the ship – first head to the bow where you can see the telegraph on the portside. You can also see wing tanks, coils of wire, tail sections of fighters, engine cowlings, machine guns, wings and shells as well as an outboard motor, drums and a radial plane engine. On the third hold you can penetrate the bridge from the door in the deck where there are rooms with saki bottles strewn around.

The multi-level catwalks are worth exploring as is the engine - six cylinder diesel. If you dive for 45 minutes seeing the prop and deeper holds you’ll need three minutes of decompression at three meters. The whole ship is bedecked with rainbow coral to rival Pacific reefs.

Bianca C - Grenada

The Bianca C is a large 200 meter long cruise liner which sunk in 1961, she now sits upright at a depth of around 50 meters. This wreck is well known and has been ranked as one of the top 10 wreck dives around the world. It's an absolute must for any advanced diver. The waters here are clear and warm providing a beautiful scuba dive. Marine life around the wreck includes Barracudas, Eels, Rays and Spadefish to name but a few. This wreck also goes by the name "Titanic of the Caribbean". Definitely worth diving if one is located near Grenada.

SS Yongala - Townsville, Australia

Scuba Diving Article - SS Yolanda housing various marine life
SS Yolanda housing various marine life
Photo by lukes flickr
Image by Lukes flickr

The SS Yongala is an Australian passenger vessel which currently lies in the Great Barrier Reef Park. The wreck which sunk during a cyclone on the 23 March 1911 was only discovered in 1958.

She is around 100 meters long and weighs 3,664 tons. She was originally launched in April 1903 and named Yongala which means "Broad Water" in Aboriginal. Currently she is located 30 minutes from shore which allows this wreck to be classed one of the best wreck dives in the world. Marine life around this wreck includes rays, turtles, trevalley and many more.

SMS Markgraf - Orkney, Scotland

The SMS Markgraf was a Konig Class German Battleship and sister ship of The SMS Kronig. She served in the Deutschen Kaiserliche Marine in WW1. She sank in 1962 after her crew scuttled her. Its a very beautiful wreck dive with lots to see and explore as the hull is open allowing divers to peer inside, she lies in the Scapa Flow body of water where over half a dozen wrecks can be found; These wrecks sunk here when they tried to evade capture. She weighs in at 26 000 tons and is just short of 180 meters in length, due to the size divers usually require 2 or 3 dives on her. She lies at a comfortable depth of around 24 meters. Abundant marine and coral life.

If you feel that there is a wreck out there that deserves a place on this list comment below with the name and location of the wreck and we shall look into it for a possible future follow-up article.


Delicious  Digg  Reddit  Facebook  StumbleUpon  Technorati

2 Comments CommentAdd a Comment

 More ArticlesArticle RatingsArticle CommentsProfile
There are numerous ships sunk off of Vancouver Island British Columbia that are as fantastic to dive as the ones you have written about here. I travel every year to dive the MacKenzie, the GB Church, the Saskatchewan, and others. Huge wildlife is everywhere. It is cool water though, 52 degrees, so a drysuit is highly recommended.
 More ArticlesArticle RatingsArticle CommentsProfile
Thanks for the information on the best wreck dives. I've dived some of the above, but I'm always looking to try more! Many of those are wrecks I hadn't heard about before. I'm going to put them on my list of wrecks to dive.

Add a Comment