View Full Version : What do you like about wreck diving?

09-20-2007, 07:37

I'm a newbie diver and have a question. This has been a lifelong dream of mine and I love it. However, I live in the midwest, so barring significant travel the most opportunities I have to dive are on wrecks in the Great Lakes etc. I have yet to do my first wreck dive and I would love some input. What do you like about it? Thanks for any insight you might have!


09-20-2007, 16:27
I'll be watching this thread with you, and I hope we hear from some of the experienced wreck guys on this.

I can't wait to dive a wreck because I love ships, my goal is to dive the Oriskany off of Pensacola. Just the thought of hovering around an aircraft carrier, or any other military boat for that matter just fascinates me....Reading 3 books about wreck diving recently has also captured my fascination with it....

Charles R
09-20-2007, 16:32
Its peaceful and timeless there are alot of wildlife that live on the wreaks just don't get over excited an do a penetration without proper training. it can be very dangerous.

09-20-2007, 18:37
As you descend, light get dimmer, your imagination starts to go on overload. You think of the one moment that time stood still forever in. Thoughts of the lost affect the logical parts of your brain, you know there is no one there, but a cold finger traces down your back. Seriously, the wrecks in the Great Lakes are some of the most pristine in the world....You might never want to go to the sea after you see these....

09-20-2007, 18:55
1. it's a like going to a history museum;
2. there is something surreal about wrecks;
3. pure adventure;

09-20-2007, 19:52
In the Great Lakes, they are about the only thing to see, as there aren't reefs like in the tropics. The cold water is a major reason the wrecks are so well preserved. Many wrecks are from the 1800s and still in great shape. On the same day at the Straits for example, you can see ships from many eras - from wooden schooners to steam ships to a large container ship. They also attract marine life and unfortunately zebra mussels.

09-20-2007, 20:00
honestly, Its deep, its cold, color rendition is not good. I'd rather be looking at some nice corals and fishies. but thats just me. I have yet to be at a wreak area and feel that I'v got to do that dive!

09-20-2007, 20:42
I have only dove one wreck. It was cool to see a man made structure appear out of the murk. Once in it, it was cool to explore, swiming up stairs in a new one.

09-20-2007, 21:09
Why dive wrecks?

There are many different reasons why someone may choose to dive on wrecks. For some, it could be the sea life that a wreck attracts that provides the incentive. A wreck will provide a perfect habitat for many fish and other marine creatures, concentrated in a small area, which is perfect for those with an interest in underwater ecology. Another reason that people may dive a wreck that is the opportunity that wrecks provide for underwater photography. As well as all the different types of fish to take photos of, the wreck itself can provide a distinctive and dramatic background for photographs. Some people dive a wreck out of an interest in it's history.Often divers will have researched the wreck and the circumstances of its sinking before diving on it. And others still dive wrecks just out of sheer curiosity,the tingling excitement of exploring somewhere that used to be an everyday part of life, but is now cut off and out of bounds to most humans. That exception to enter the world of a wreck is allowed to a scuba diver.
The large variety of locales, water conditions,and wreck types means that there is always a new wreck diving adventure just waiting for you out there somewhere. :smiley2:

WV Diver
09-20-2007, 21:26
I love them because it takes me back to when I was a kid, opens my imagination up and gives me that feeling of awe. I love wrecks because you never know what treasure or artifact you may find that no one has seen since its demise. An opportunity of discovery and history. I love learning and researching as much as I can before the dives, getting to know as much as possible about the ship and its crew, passengers and voyage. It's the unknown, the adventure and that eerie ghostly glow that all real wrecks have. Even if it is just an unknown cargo ship that was hauling a load of bricks.

Ships like the Spiegle Grove, Oriskany and other artificial reef wrecks just don't have the same allure for me. They are fun to dive but they are just cleaned up wrecks that offer no real mystery or excitment for me.

09-20-2007, 22:32
Same reason I like exploring old buildings or whats left of them. Never no what you might find. I like seeing how people did things in the past and you can get an idea from wrecks.

09-22-2007, 17:31
Knowing that many years ago someone walked or sat in that wreck. The history always adds to the excitement.

09-22-2007, 18:39
I like diving of all sorts, living in AZ at times I think about just getting in the tub with my gear on...but wreck diving is something different. Heading down to a deep wreck is amazing. At first its just a shadow and then slowly the details become more and more defined. The sea life is usually great and it is fun to explore, I generally don't venture below decks but going through cargo holds and exterior passage ways just helps you imagine what the life of the ship must have been like.

09-22-2007, 23:18
Oh geez, I don't think I can explain this in one post. Just think of all the history that goes behind the wrecks. Some have been down there for 100 plus years and only divers have seen them. The bad part is that most of the GL wrecks are fairly deep. But deco class will take care of that part.
Btw, Bermuda has a ton of wreck dives in fairly shallow waters. Nice warm tropical waters with plenty of coral and fish swimming around on them. Best of both worlds my friend. Also the air fare is pretty decent from the US.

09-23-2007, 02:43
Though not very experienced, I like wrecks for their sense of story. It:s about being somewhere where people tread who loved, struggled, hoped, and lived. It:s about following that childhood urge to see what:s in the dark, cramped space that not everyone can see. Exploration? History? The procedural challenge? All of the above. I:d think it is pretty keyed to each individual, but that:s my burgeoning story.

09-23-2007, 10:13
the great lakes is one of the best wreck diving places in the world!

cold fresh water has preserved the wrecks very well... and there's over 10,000 wrecks in those lakes.

I like the history involved with them, exploring them, looking at something that was once a great saling vessel now humbled on the bottom of what it was supposed to be on top of for whatever reason.

also every wreck is different. i can only look at reefs and fish for so long.

09-23-2007, 11:22
Oh my, there are so many reasons I love wrecks. I'll make a short list. I could write a chapter on each one.

I like the history, knowing these ships had a life and once served a purpose on the surface carrying people and supplies.

I like the mystery, looking in openings and passageways that lead to who knows where. Some ships are so large that even crew who lived on them could get lost or not see it all.

I like the challenge, doing light penetration with line although I've only taken a few courses and am a beginner. I'm certainly not exploring virgin territory or in an "elite" club but still it's cool going into a hole where most rec divers swimming around outside cannot (or should not) follow.

I like the depth, most wrecks I've dived are around 100' where buoyancy is easier.

I like the marine life though this is not why I dive particular wrecks. When I see people disparage a wreck site because the marine life is not great my reaction is basically, who cares?

09-24-2007, 09:35
Wow, you have all given me a lot to think about! I appreciate your thoughts. Mine had run along the lines of the romance, history, and mystery involved. Let me throw out one further question. Do you do a lot of historical research before you dive a wreck? Seems to me that might add a cool dimension to the experience.

09-24-2007, 18:43
Here is a short example. I convinced my wife to do a trip to Chuuk in Micronesia to dive Truk Lagoon. She had done a few wrecks but none from WWII. She likes the flora and fauna. But once there she really got into it. Read about the ship and its history. Dive deep, explore the wreck, come up shallow, and see the flora and fauna. Repeat as needed. By the end of the week she was really into it so much that we are now working towards going to Bikini Atoll.

09-26-2007, 11:51
It's cool because time stans still on them! I like the natural wrecks as opposed to the wrecks that were sunk to make a reef...only because of the historical value of it...(not that I'd give up a chance to dive on one though!)

10-09-2007, 21:03
It's a good question. Sort of like, "why do you like scotch?". When I think about it, I realize that I want to see the marine life and how it has altered the wreck. Sometimes you see some goliath groupers or other large fish that need cover. A wreck w/o marine life would be disappointing. But even if the reef is teeming with life, I still like to dive the wreck. It is cool to approach the wreck from above, floating down on it. It feels like pure exploration. Maybe even a bit of a feel that I don't belong there, but I get to look around anyway. It is also interesting to observe the entropy. Building a ship is a huge endeavor. Yet mini and micro organisms will eventually reduce it to a heap. Somehow, that is interesting to observe.
Scotch anyone?

10-10-2007, 00:03
I love being able to float around something so large, as if being able to fly around it on land. Roll upside down, look in cracks, explore swimthroughs, shine my light in holds and holes, etc.

It's like being able to look at a ship w/o the weight of gravity. You can see every inch (except that part in the sand :) ).

I also love the history. I love to think what people were doing on these decks, what the boat did and looked like before it sunk. I often float in areas, listening for nothing.

It's a great feeling, it's one of the most peaceful forms of diving for me. It's also one of the most exciting!

10-11-2007, 12:23
There are two things that I like about wreck diving. First the history that goes with the wreck. To dive on a WWII U-Boat or ship that sank pre 1940's is fascinating.

The second thing that I enoy is the abundance of sealife that lives in or around the wrecks. These "artifical reefs" are home to many schools of fish, eels, and often sharks. Wreck diving is a pretty good way to spend your day.

10-11-2007, 13:20
Knowing that many years ago someone walked or sat in that wreck. The history always adds to the excitement.

I am working toward getting the experience I need to dive wrecks for this exact reason.

I love thinking about the history of old places that used to be important and busy, that are abandoned and quiet. Old buildings, battlefields, factories...

I also like the idea of testing myself, doing something that requires grit and will. When you dive to a wreck, it brooks no foolishness; it demands respect. I miss the adrenaline that comes with challenge.

10-15-2007, 22:53
Every time I dive a wreck my 1st sight of the wreck absolutely takes my breath away. They are so beautiful. I had a bit of a miserable experience learning to dive and the next few dives I did weren't much better. My turning point was diving a wreck and I haven't looked back since. I love all types of diving but wrecks are my favourite!

10-17-2007, 09:36
Every time I dive a wreck my 1st sight of the wreck absolutely takes my breath away. They are so beautiful. I had a bit of a miserable experience learning to dive and the next few dives I did weren't much better. My turning point was diving a wreck and I haven't looked back since. I love all types of diving but wrecks are my favourite!

My first dives were not that great either so I am hoping my first real dive at the Chesapeake Light House will help with the bad experiences...

10-17-2007, 10:03
Wrecks are like underwater museums. I can't really put my finger on any specific reason, but I really like them. Maybe it's the connection with the past, or just being somewhere that most people will never get to see except on a video.

I personally enjoy looking inside rooms that still have the old fixtures, and to realize that they won't ever be above water again. I'm not talking about penetrating dives that require lines, just the swim throughs that are open.

I've never been to the GL wrecks, but someday I intend to. So far i've been limited to the keys & bahamas.

10-17-2007, 10:09
I'm totally not a wreck diver. In fact I go out of my way to vote for the reef dive over the wreck dive. However I did recently make an exception and I'm glad I did.

We dove the RMS Rhone off the BVI's last spring. On the way out to the dive our DM (the GM of DiveBVI) told us the story of the wreck. And what to look for when we got there. The wreck is in pretty good shape for having gone down in 1867 - there's a big swimthrough in the front and the back is a second dive as it split off and sank a couple hundred yards away.

The front of the Rhone is the wreck made famous by Jacqueline Bisset in The Deep so that was fun to recreate. And there's some really interesting superstructure still remaining, including most of the bow.

But the back was by far more interesting, the massive prop shaft, a little silver spoon welded to the boat, the porthole of the only surviving passenger (the captain ordered all the passengers lashed to their bunks for "safety" during the storm) and the huge prop. It's one of the signature shots on the BVI tourism boards magazine ads.

So I've changed my opinion about wrecks since then...

10-17-2007, 10:48
A wreck is like a woman...



You are drawn to it...

Seduced by it...

It hold many treasures...

You get limited bottom time...

...and if you don't penetrate correctly you are gonna regret it...

10-28-2007, 10:32
Most of our diving here in Virginia is wreck. Wreck diving is what I learned early on in my diving career and absolutely love the history of shipwrecks. WWII vintage wrecks are my favorite. Seeing all of the marine life that inhabits wrecks is an added bonus.

10-30-2007, 18:08
I have a thing for anything mechanical related. It fascinates me to see a ship being built, or a condo being built, or generally anything like that. So, in turn, I enjoy seeing all different things inside of a ship.

11-26-2007, 19:25
Wrecks are very cool and that is what i love to dive.

11-26-2007, 21:21
Wreck diving is like going to the Opera.

For some, the first glimpse of a wreck changes them forever It becomes a passion unto itself. Others will look and see a sunken vessel to look at. They ma continue to go on wrecks, but never really appreciate how all encompasing they are.

In truth, there is just something about wrecks. Then there is the gold ring: being the first to find a wreck. I know an old diver who's forgotten more about diving than I will ever dream to know and he has found 3 of the superior wreck, 2 Michigan and 2 Atlantic wrecks and has the ship's beels to prove it.

11-26-2007, 21:50
I beg the question: What is there not to like about diving true wrecks?

11-26-2007, 23:06
I love wrecks. I learned to dive to see wrecks. My first wreck dive was on the S.S. Wisconsin. The vis sucked!! I did not know where I was until I landed on the wreck. I WAS HOOKED!! I still tell my students about my first wreck dive and i still get all excited about it.
for me there is so much more to a wreck the the wreck site. The history the human stories, the companies that owned the ships.
Then there is the diving itself. getting the gear ready the night before. Pumping gas, marking and loading the cylinders. The boat trip to the site. Getting geared up to get in. THE DIVE:)......
Even talking about the dive after. Unloading tanks and gear only to start planning the next trip out..
I have tried warm water w/ colorfull fish and coral. They do not get me going like ship wrecks..

I see you are from Southern Wisco. You have to check out the wrecks off of Milwaukee. There is every level of wreck you could want. from mild to wild. Rec to Tech.

You will know you are hooked when you star buying all the books about Great Lakes shipping, wrecks, maritime history. Check out Ghost Ships Festival this March. This is a small dive show. Its all about the Great Lakes and their wrecks.

Happy Diving

BouzoukiJoe A.K.A. wrecker130 AKA Chuck Norris AKA joeforbroke (banned)
11-27-2007, 12:35
I have an old friend in Chicago. Maybe an excuse to make it up that way and do some wreck diving. Gotta get comfortable with a dry suit first, though. But that's my diving goal for the next 4 months anyway.

11-27-2007, 12:40
There are lots of cool things to see on wrecks, not just sandy bottom ocean floor (I dive in the gulf off of Florida) But more than anything, the BIG fish live on the wrecks and they are fun to Spear. I really wish they would open up the season on Goliath Grouper. Those things suck.

01-23-2008, 00:46
I really like to know a lot of history on it before diving the wreck. Then I like to pretend that I'm the very FIRST one to dive it. (It's a lot more fun than thinking about it being an old tug boat that 3,295 divers have crawled around on the past few years.)

01-23-2008, 11:05
I love wrecks for the same reasons posted here I love the aspect of exploring something new whats behind that corner or in that dark hole plus there is usually good marine growth and lots of animals who inhabit it which is another plus. I research some of them even if it is an artificial one I will research how it was sunk that sort of thing I get a thrill from it like no other

01-23-2008, 11:52
I'll be watching this thread with you, and I hope we hear from some of the experienced wreck guys on this.

I can't wait to dive a wreck because I love ships, my goal is to dive the Oriskany off of Pensacola. Just the thought of hovering around an aircraft carrier, or any other military boat for that matter just fascinates me....Reading 3 books about wreck diving recently has also captured my fascination with it....

Just watched a TV special on the sinking of the Oriskany last night. Had seen it before but nevertheless a great watch again.

I agree with many of the other posts - the history aspect. I particularly like looking at utilitarian features of a wreck (sink, bed) and thinking that 100 years ago someone washed their hands or had a nap in that very spot.

01-23-2008, 13:56
The history is fascinating and researching wrecks can become as big a part of one's hobby of scuba diving as making the dive, if not more so. Maritime history is really a deep and interesting subject filled with villains and heroes and soap-opera storylines.

And diving them is really quite different from diving a reef. Unless a big storm comes through, reefs are pretty much the same day after day, year after year. But wrecks change all the time. You can visit a wreck one day and swim through a particular floor, and come back the next day and find the ceiling collapsed, and what you saw just hours ago will never be seen again. Or you might come back and kick just right and uncover an artifact from the silt that hasn't been seen for a 100 years.

I've only done a few, but I'm just completely hooked on wrecks.

It's very different than diving on a reef.

For me, diving on a reef is visiting another world where humans don't really belong. I'm a voyeur to the creatures there. Diving on a wreck is visiting another time, where humans do belong, and I'm in some way a participant in that history. I become part of the story instead of just watching it. I'm not sure if that makes sense, but I hope it does.