Outline of recreational dive sites

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Recreational diver over a coral reef in the Red Sea
Satellite image of part of the Great Barrier Reef
Wreck of the Fujikawa Maru
USNS Vandenberg in 2015.
Wreck of the RMS Rhone
The wreck of the tugboat MV Rozi rests on the seabed at 35 meters
The wreck of Salem Express in 2010, 19 years after she sank.
Bow of the Spiegel Grove
Anti-aircraft gun on the stern of the Thistlegorm
Deck of the Um Al Faroud
Entrance to the cave system at Dos Ojos
Diving at Piccaninnie ponds
Diving at Stoney Cove
Wazee Lake near Black River Falls, Wisconsin is a former iron mining quarry now used for scuba diving and other uses.
Recreational dive sites of the greater Cape Town region.
NASA image [1] showing locations of significant coral reefs, which are often sought out by divers for their abundant, diverse life forms.

Recreational dive sites are specific places that recreational scuba divers go to enjoy the underwater environment or for training purposes. They include technical diving sites beyond the range generally accepted for recreational diving. In this context all diving done for recreational purposes is included. Professional diving tends to be done where the job is, and with the exception of diver training and leading groups of recreational divers, does not generally occur at specific sites chosen for their easy access, pleasant conditions or interesting features.

Recreational dive sites may be found in a wide range of bodies of water, and may be popular for various reasons, including accessibility, biodiversity, spectacular topography, historical or cultural interest and artifacts (such as shipwrecks), and water clarity. Tropical waters of high biodiversity and colourful sea life are popular recreational diving vacation destinations. South-east Asia, the Caribbean islands, the Red Sea and the Great Barrier Reef of Australia are regions where the clear, warm, waters, reasonably predictable conditions and colourful and diverse sea life have made recreational diving an economically important tourist industry.

Recreational divers may accept a relatively high level of risk to dive at a site perceived to be of special interest. Wreck diving and cave diving have their adherents, and enthusiasts will endure considerable hardship, risk and expense to visit caves and wrecks where few have been before. Some sites are popular almost exclusively for their convenience for training and practice of skills, such as flooded quarries. They are generally found where more interesting and pleasant diving is not locally available, or may only be accessible when weather or water conditions permit.

While divers may choose to get into the water at any arbitrary place that seems like a good idea at the time, a popular recreational dive site will usually be named, and a geographical position identified and recorded, describing the site with enough accuracy to recognise it, and hopefully, find it again. (Full article...)

Reef dive sites[edit]

In the context of recreational diving, a reef may be a coral reef or a bottom of predominantly consolidated inorganic material, like rocky reef, and in the broader sense includes artificial structures and even ships sunk as artificial reefs.

Reef diving regions are geographical regions of arbitrary size known for including more than one named reef dive site, while a reef dive site is a specific part of a reef known by a name, which recreational divers visit to dive.

Reef diving regions[edit]

Reef dive sites[edit]

Cave dive sites[edit]

Many cave dive sites are fresh water, but there are some that are sea water and a few that are partly fresh and partly sea water, and these may have a distinct halocline.

Sea cave – Cave formed by the wave action of the sea and located along present or former coastlines

Caves with exclusively or mainly fresh water

  • Boesmansgat – Sinkhole and dive site in South Africa
  • Cenote – Natural pit or sinkhole that exposes groundwater underneaths
  • Chinhoyi Caves – Group of caves in north central Zimbabwe
  • Engelbrecht Cave – Cave system in South Australia
  • Fossil Cave – Flooded cave in the Limestone Coast area of South Australia
  • Hranice Abyss – Flooded sinkhole near the town of Hranice in the Czech Republic
  • Jordbrugrotta – Cave system in Norway
  • Molnár János Cave – Water-filled cave in Budapest, Hungary
  • Piccaninnie Ponds – Protected area near Mount Gambier in South Australia
  • Silfra – Water-filled rift in Iceland between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates
  • Wakulla Springs – Spring and cave in the Floridan Aquifer under the Woodville Karst Plain of north Florida
  • Zacatón – Water-filled sinkhole in Mexico

Blue holes[edit]

The Great Blue Hole, located near Ambergris Caye, Belize
Dean's Blue Hole, Long Island, Bahamas

Blue hole – Marine cavern or sinkhole, open to the surface, in carbonate bedrock

Freshwater dive sites[edit]

  • Ewens Ponds – Flooded sinkholes in South Australia
  • Little Blue Lake – Flooded sinkhole dive site in South Australia
  • Silfra – Water-filled rift in Iceland between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates

Flooded quarries[edit]

Diving at Stoney Cove

Wreck diving regions[edit]

Wreck diving regions: Regions known for having more than one shipwreck used as a recreational dive site:

Wreck diving sites[edit]

Divers at the wreck of the SS Carnatic

A[edit]

  • HMS A1 – Royal Navy's first British-designed submarine
  • HMS A3 – A-class submarine of the Royal Navy
  • USS Aaron Ward – Gleaves-class destroyer of the United States Navy
  • SS Abessinia – German ship wrecked at the Farne Islands in 1921. Now a dive site
  • USS Accokeek – Auxiliary ocean tug of the United States Navy,
  • HMAS Adelaide – Frigate of the Royal Australian Navy, lead ship of the class
  • SS Admiral Sampson – American-flagged cargo and passenger steamship
  • MV Adolphus Busch – Ship sunk off of Looe Key, Florida, as an artificial reef and dive site
  • MV Aeolian Sky – Greek registered freighter sunk off Dorset after a collision
  • USS Aeolus – Attack cargo ship converted into a cable repair ship
  • Agat World War II Amtrac – Sunken amphibious tracked landing vehicle
  • SS Ajax – Cargo steamship that was built in Germany in 1923
  • SS Albert C. Field – Canadian cargo ship, sunk off the Needles during World War II
  • USS Algol – Andromeda-class attack cargo ship
  • Alondra – English steamer wrecked off Ireland
  • Al Munassir – Amphibious warfare vessel operated by the Royal Navy of Oman
  • Amaryllis – Canadian cargo ship
  • SS America – Steam packet wrecked off Isle Royale in Lake Superior
  • USS Anderson – Sims-class destroyer
  • SS Andrea Doria – Ocean liner sunk after a collision off Massachusetts in 1956
  • SS Antilla – Hamburg America Line cargo ship scuttled in 1940 off Aruba
  • SS Antilles – French cruise ship that ran aground and sank off Mustique
  • USS Apogon
  • SS Aquila – British built cargo ship sunk off Ambon
  • Aratama Maru – Japanese munitions transport ship sunk at Guam
  • USS Arkansas – Dreadnought battleship of the United States Navy
  • SS Arratoon Apcar – Steamship wreck in Florida
  • USS Arthur W. Radford – Spruance-class destroyer in the United States Navy
  • USS Atlanta – Atlanta-class light cruiser

B[edit]

  • HMAS Bayonet – Attack-class patrol boat of the Royal Australian Navy
  • SS Ben Doran – Steam fishing trawler that operated out of Aberdeen
  • SS Benwood – Steam cargo ship of the early twentieth century
  • MV Bianca C. – Passenger ship sunk off Grenada
  • SS Binnendijk – Dutch steel cargo ship lost off Portland Bill in the English Channel
  • HMSAS Bloemfontein – Algerine-class minesweeper built for the Royal Navy in Canada during World War II
  • HMS Boadicea – B-class destroyer of the Royal Navy, sunk by enemy action in Lyme Bay
  • Booya – Schooner wrecked in Darwin, Australia
  • SS Breda – Dutch ship sunk off Scotland in 1940
  • Brian Davis – Iris-class buoy tender
  • HMAS Brisbane – Australian guided missile destroyer
  • HMHS Britannic – Olympic-class ocean liner
  • Bud Bar – Artificial reef near Boynton Beach, Florida
  • Bungsberg – German cargo ship sunk near Tallinn, Estonia

C[edit]

  • HMAS Canberra – Guided missile frigate
  • HMCS Cape Breton – Royal Canadian Navy Cape-class maintenance ship
  • USCGC Cape Henlopen – Type "C" Cape-class coast guard cutter
  • Captain Keith Tibbetts – Class of Soviet anti submarine frigates
  • SS Carl D. Bradley – Self-unloading Great Lakes freighter that sank in a Lake Michigan storm
  • SS Carnatic – British steamship wrecked in the gulf of Suez
  • Carthaginian II – Steel sailing vessel sunk as artificial reef
  • SS Cedarville – Great lakes bulk carrier wrecked in a collision
  • ROCS Chen Hai – Casa Grande-class dock landing ship
  • SS City of Launceston – Steamship operated by the Launceston and Melbourne Steam Navigation Company
  • HMCS Chaudière – Restigouche-class destroyer of the Royal Canadian Navy
  • SS Clan Ranald – Turret deck steamship that sank off the Yorke Peninsula, South Australia
  • USCGC Comanche – Coast guard cutter
  • Constandis – Fishing vessel sunk as a recreational dive site in Limassol Bay, Cyprus
  • HMAS Coogee – Passenger ferry that briefly served as a Royal Australian Navy armed patrol vessel
  • SMS Cormoran – German armed merchant raider of WWI scuttled at Guam
  • HMS Coronation – 90-gun second-rate ship of the line of the English Royal Navy
  • Crusader – Australian Army amphibious operations support ship of World War II
  • USS Curb – Diver-class rescue and salvage ship
  • USCGC Cuyahoga – Active-class patrol boat

D[edit]

  • MV Dania – Cargo ship scuttled as a dive site off Bamburi, Kenya
  • David Tucker – Steel-hulled patrol boat of the 95-Foot or Cape class.
  • SMS Dresden – Light cruiser of the German Imperial Navy
  • SS D.R. Hanna – 552-foot steel freighter that sank on Lake Huron in 1919
  • USCGC Duane – United States Coast Guard cutter
  • SS Dunraven – British cargo vessel wrecked in the Gulf of Suez
  • SS Dwight L. Moody – Liberty ship of WWII

E[edit]

F[edit]

G[edit]

H[edit]

  • MT Haven – Crude oil carrier that sank off the coast of Genoa, Italy in 1991
  • Hermann Künne – Type 1936-class destroyer
  • HMS Hermes – 1924 unique aircraft carrier
  • Herzogin Cecilie – German-built four-masted barque wrecked near Salcombe
  • Hilma Hooker – Shipwreck in Bonaire in the Caribbean Netherlands
  • SS Hispania  – Swedish steamship wrecked in the Sound of Mull, now a dive site
  • HMS Hood  – Royal Sovereign-class battleship of the Royal Navy scuttled in Portland Harbour
  • HMAS Hobart – Royal Australian Navy scuttled shipwreck

I[edit]

  • Igara – Bulk carrier wrecked off the east coast of Malaysia and partly salvaged
  • USS Indra – Landing craft repair ship built for the United States Navy during World War II
  • SS Ironsides – Wooden-hulled American package freighter on Great Lakes service
  • SS Isaac M. Scott – American Great Lakes freighter

J[edit]

K[edit]

  • Kashi Maru – Japanese auxiliary minelayer, now a dive site in the Solomon Islands
  • King Cruiser – Car ferry that sank off the West Coast of Southern Thailand
  • USS Kittiwake – Chanticleer-class submarine rescue vessel
  • Kizugawa Maru – World War II-era Japanese freighter ship
  • SMS Kronprinz – Battleship of the German Imperial Navy
  • Kyarra – Cargo and passenger luxury liner torpedoed and sunk near Swanage

L[edit]

  • Lady Thetis – Cypriot passenger ship sunk for use as a recreational dive site
  • HMS Laforey – Royal Navy destroyer sunk by a mine off Sussex
  • USS Lamson – Mahan-class destroyer
  • USAT Liberty – United States Army cargo ship torpedoed by Japanese submarine and beached on the island of Bali.
  • SS Louis Sheid – Belgian ship sunk off Devon on 1939. Now a recreational dive site
  • USS LST-507 – US Tank landing ship sunk off the south coast of England, now a dive site

M[edit]

  • HMS M2 – Royal Navy submarine monitor wrecked in Lyme Bay
  • HMCS Mackenzie – Mackenzie-class destroyer of the Royal Canadian Navy
  • SS Maine – British ship sunk in 1917 near Dartmouth, Devon. Now a recreational dive site
  • SS Maloja – UK registered passenger steamship sunk by a mine off Dover
  • HMS Maori – Royal Navy Tribal class destroyer sunk in Malta
  • SS Maori – Shoreline historical wreck in Leeugat Bay on the Cape Peninsula west coast
  • Marguerite – French ship sunk in Lyme Bay in 1917. Now a dive site
  • SMS Markgraf – Battleship of the German Imperial Navy
  • SS Mauna Loa – American cargo ship
  • USAT Meigs – United States Army transport ship sunk in Darwin Harbour
  • SS Mendi – Passenger steamship that sank after a collision south of the Isle of Wight
  • MV Mercedes I – Merchant ship built in 1952 in Hamburg, Germany
  • MS Mikhail Lermontov – Soviet cruise liner wrecked in the Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand
  • SS Milwaukee – Great lakes train ferry that foundered in a storm
  • USS Mindanao – US Navy Luzon-class internal combustion engine repair ship in service 1943-1947
  • SS Miowera – Passenger and refrigerated cargo liner
  • USS Mizpah – United States Navy patrol yacht
  • USCGC Mohawk – US Coastguard cutter sunk as artificial reef off south-west Florida
  • SS Mohegan – British steamship which wrecked off the coast of the Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall (1898)
  • RMS Moldavia – British ship sunk in 1918 off Beachy Head, now a dive site
  • HMS Montagu – Pre-dreadnought battleship of the British Royal Navy
  • MV RMS Mulheim – German owned container ship wrecked at Land's End, United Kingdom
  • USS Muliphen – Andromeda-class attack cargo ship

N[edit]

  • Nagato – Super-dreadnought sunk by nuclear test in Bikini atoll
  • HMCS Nipigon – Annapolis-class destroyer of the Royal Canadian Navy

O[edit]

  • SS Oceana – Cargo and passenger ship sunk off Beachy Head after a collision
  • Oite – Kamikaze-class destroyer built for the Imperial Japanese Navy during the 1920s
  • USS Oriskany – Essex-class aircraft carrier of the US Navy
  • MS Oslofjord – Ocean liner sunk after hitting a mine off the River Tyne
  • Ozone – Paddle steamer built in Scotland in 1886

P[edit]

  • P29 – Ship scuttled as dive site off Malta
  • P31 – Minesweeper/patrol boat scuttled for use as a recreational dive site
  • SS Panay – Passenger vessel built for the Great Western Railway
  • SS Papoose – Oil tanker built in 1921
  • SS Pedernales – Lake tanker damaged by a torpedo at Aruba, part of the ships remains as dive site
  • SS Persier – British ship sunk in Plymouth Sound in 1945. Now a dive site
  • HMAS Perth – Guided missile destroyer of the Australian Navy, sunk as a dive site off Western Australia
  • SS Pewabic – Package freighter that served ports on the Upper Great Lakes
  • SAS Pietermaritzburg – Algerine-class minesweeper built for the Royal Navy during World War II
  • USS Pilotfish – Balao-class submarine sunk at Bikini atoll
  • MS Piłsudski – Polish passenger ship sunk off the Yorkshire coast
  • SS Pioneer – Steam dredging ship
  • USCGC Point Swift – United States Coast Guard cutter
  • MV Pool Fisher – British merchant vessel that sank off the Isle of Wight
  • SS Port Kembla – A steamer owned by the Commonwealth and Dominion Line
  • HMS Port Napier – British World War II warship
  • SS President Coolidge – American ocean liner sunk by mines in the New Hebrides
  • Preußen – German steel-hulled five-masted ship-rigged windjammer sunk in Crab Bay after a collision
  • HMS Prince of Wales – King George V class battleship of the Royal Navy

Q[edit]

R[edit]

  • SS Radaas – Ship sunk in 1917 near Portland Bill, now a dive site
  • Rainbow Warrior – Greenpeace vessel bombed by French intelligence operatives in Auckland harbour (1985)
  • USS Rankin – US Navy Tolland-class attack cargo ship in service 1945-1947, 1952-1971
  • SS Regina – Steel ship that foundered in Lake Huron in a storm
  • HMS Repulse – Renown-class battlecruiser of the Royal Navy
  • RMS Rhone – Royal Mail Ship wrecked off Salt Island in the British Virgin Islands in a hurricane
  • Riva Palacio – Admirable-class minesweeper built for the United States Navy
  • Riva Palacio – Admirable-class minesweeper built for the United States Navy
  • USS Rochester – Second United States Navy armored cruiser so designated
  • SS Rondo – Ship sunk in Sound of Mull in 1935, now a recreational dive site
  • SS Rosehill – Steam collier torpedoed and sunk near Fowey, Cornwall
  • SS Rotorua – New Zealand Shipping Company steam ocean liner and refrigerated cargo ship
  • Royal Adelaide – Iron sailing ship wrecked on Chesil Beach
  • Royal Charter – Steam clipper wrecked off Porth Helaeth on the coast of Anglesey
  • MV Rozi – Tugboat scuttled as a dive site off Malta

S[edit]

  • HMS Safari – Royal Navy S-class submarine which served in World War II
  • HMCS Saguenay – Destroyer of the Royal Canadian Navy
  • Sakawa – Agano-class light cruiser
  • MV Salem Express – Car and passenger ferry wrecked off the Egyptian coast
  • Sanko Harvest – Bulk carrier that sank off Esperance, Western Australia
  • USS Saratoga – Lexington-class aircraft carrier
  • HMCS Saskatchewan – Mackenzie-class destroyer of the Royal Canadian Navy
  • USS Scrimmage – Admirable-class minesweeper built for the United States Navy
  • USS Scuffle – Admirable class minesweeper sunk as an artificial reef off Cozumel
  • HMS Scylla – Royal Navy frigate sunk as artificial reef off Whitsand Bay, Cornwall
  • HMS Sidon – Royal Navy submarine sunk in Portland Harbour by explosion of a faulty torpedo
  • USCGC Spar – Iris class sea going buoy tender
  • USS Spiegel Grove – US Navy ship sunk off Key Largo as an artificial reef
  • Stanegarth – Steam tugboat scuttled as a dive feature at Stoney Cove
  • SS Stanwood – British ship sunk off Falmouth in 1939
  • SS Stella – Passenger ferry wrecked off the Casquets
  • SS Stepas Darius – Liberty ship built in the United States during World War II
  • HMAS Swan – Australian naval ship, built 1970

T[edit]

  • USCGC Tamaroa – Coast guard cutter
  • USS Tarpon – Submarine of the United States
  • Texas Clipper – Merchant marine training vessel with the Texas Maritime Academy
  • SS Thesis – Steamship wrecked in 1889 in the Sound of Mull, Scotland. Now a recreational dive site.
  • SS Thistlegorm – British armed merchantman sunk in the Red Sea at Ras Muhammad
  • Thunderbolt Wreck – Mine planter of The US Army
  • Toa Maru – Japanese transport ship sunk by a submarine off Gizo, Solomon Islands
  • HMAS Tobruk – Modified Round Table-class Landing Ship Heavy of the Royal Australian Navy
  • Tokai Maru – Japanese passenger-cargo ship sunk in Apra Harbor, Guam
  • SS Torrey Canyon – Oil tanker wrecked off the coast of Cornwall
  • SAS Transvaal – Loch-class frigate in the South African Navy
  • MV Treasure – June 2000 environmental disaster off the coast of South Africa
  • HMNZS Tui – Conrad class oceanographic ship

U[edit]

  • U-40 – German submarine sunk by a mine in the English Channel
  • U-352 – German World War II submarine
  • U-1195 – German World War II submarine
  • Um El Faroud – Libyan owned tanker scuttled as dive site off Malta

V[edit]

  • SS Varvassi – Greek freighter wrecked at The Needles in a storm after engine failure
  • USS Vermilion – Tolland-class attack cargo ship
  • SS Vienna – Steamship sunk after a collision in Lake Superior

W[edit]

Y[edit]

  • USS Yancey – Andromeda-class attack cargo ship sunk as an artificial reef off North Carolina
  • YO-257 – US Navy yard oiler scuttled off Waikiki, Honolulu, Hawaii
  • SS Yongala – Shipwreck in Queensland, Australia
  • HMCS Yukon – Mackenzie-class destroyer of the Royal Canadian Navy

Z[edit]

  • MS Zenobia – RO-RO ferry that capsized and sank near Larnaca, Cyprus
  • SS Zealandia – Australian cargo and passenger steamship sunk in the bombing of Darwin
  • Zingara – Cargo vessel wrecked in the Straits of Tiran in the Red Sea

External links[edit]