There is something eerily intriguing about­­­ your first wreck dive and seeing manmade structures transformed into vibrant living reefs. From the mystery of a once lost vessel to a collapsed lighthouse to more famous wrecks like the James Bond wrecks, there is so much to see that only certified scuba divers and advanced divers with proper training can safely explore. Wreck diving is one of the most thrilling and beautiful adventures, and it belongs on every diver’s bucket list. PADI is the world’s largest and leading diver training organization providing diving certification at PADI dive shops worldwide. PADI offers a variety of specialty courses including the popular Wreck Diver course. For planning information, to find a PADI Dive Center or Resort or to book a liveaboard trip check out the new PADI Travel™ resource and dive destination “wizard” to find a dive that best fits your diving bucket list goals. PADI Travel is the ultimate travel resource for divers and adventurers alike, offering planning information for more than 300 dive locations around the world. Thank you PADI for sponsoring this blog post, as always all opinions are my own.

Here are the 10 best wreck dives around the world:

 

1. S.S. Yongala, Australia:

 

Wreck Dive Adrian Stacey
Photo: Adrian Stacey

Often lauded as one of the best dives in the world, S.S. Yongala was an unsolved mystery for about fifty years after it disappeared during a cyclone in 1911. Once discovered and identified by the safe serial number, sand was scoured away leaving the structure as an artificial reef. Discover this unique wreck located in the center of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

 

 

 

2. Dakota DC-3, Turkey:

 

3 Dakota DC-3 Mediavia.co.uk
Photo: Mediavia.co.uk

This 65-foot long plane was deliberately sunk off Turkey in 2009 and still sits almost fully intact with its wheels on the Mediterranean floor.

 

Dakota Mediavia.co.uk
Photo: Mediavia.co.uk

It is now an artificial reef, home to a variety of marine wildlife like shrimp gobies and barracudas. Did you know it is also the same type of DC-3 plane that is now in worse condition, crashed on the Sólheimasandur black sand beach in Iceland?

 

 

3. S.S. Sapona, Bimini Islands:

 

SS Sapona Bimini Padi scuba diving wreck
Photo: Padi

This ship, partially visible above the water, has a unique history which began when it was commissioned by President Woodrow Wilson just before the end of WWI.

 

 

SS sapona perrinjames1
Photo: @perrinjames1

Due to limited supplies of steel during the war, the structure was built with concrete, little of which remains. It changed hands a few times until in 1924 it was sold to a one-armed man, Bruce Bethel, who was a rum runner in the Bahamas during the Prohibition. It was run aground while being towed to the Bimini Islands. He considered turning it into a floating nightclub, until a hurricane destroyed it in 1926.

The ship was even used for target practice by the U.S. Armed Forces during WWII. The 20-foot deep site is ideal for beginners to go snorkeling or diving. Adventurous visitors even climb up it to dive about 30 feet into the water.

4. Carlisle Bay, Barbados:

Barbados has about 200 wrecks, including the amazing Pamir, Friars Crag and Stravronikita wrecks, but for snorkelers and new divers explore Carlisle Bay to see five wrecks in just one dive! The shallow calm bay is home to the Berwyn (WW1 tug boat), the Eilon (sunk in 1996), Ce-Trek (sunk in 1986), the Bajan Queen (sunk in 2002) and the Cornwallis (freighter sunk during WWII and relocated here). Celebrate a full day of diving with a Bajan rum punch. Read more about Barbados in our Guide to Barbados and Best Beaches in Barbados.

 

5. Mary Alice B., USA:

Mary Alice B wreck photo by Andy Morrison
Photo: Andy Morrison

The U.S. Great Lakes have more shipwrecks than all other bodies of water combined. The Mary Alice B., located 92 feet under Lake Huron, has a unique advanced dive perk of a fully accessible wheelhouse with intact wheel. The tug boat sank mysteriously in 1975 while being towed by another tug boat. When the tug was found in 1992 it had open valves, a possible indication that it was sunk purposefully.

 

 

 

6. James Bond Wrecks, Bahamas:

James Bond Wrecks Photo: David M. Benz
Photo: David M. Benz

Movie aficionados will enjoy diving to see these 007 film props turned tropical underwater paradise located in the Bahamas. Swim amongst colonies of lionfish, turtles, barracuda and fire coral. Dive in the crystal-clear waters to a maximum depth of 45 feet to explore both the Tears of Allah and the Vulcan bomber from Thunderball in one dive.

 

 

Courtesy Lionel Pozzoli The Islands of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism
Photo: Lionel Pozzoli The Islands of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism

Movie aficionados will enjoy diving to see these 007 film props turned tropical underwater paradise located in the Bahamas. Swim amongst colonies of lionfish, turtles, barracuda and fire coral. Dive in the crystal-clear waters to a maximum depth of 45 feet to explore both the Tears of Allah and the Vulcan bomber from Thunderball in one dive.

 

7. Vought F4U Corsair, USA:

Corsair in Hawaii 2015 with diver
Photo: Greg Piper

 

This fighter aircraft is one of the coolest wrecks in Hawaii. In 1945, the Corsair’s pilot, leaving Pearl Harbor, ran out of fuel forcing him to land in the water near Oahu. Though production of this single-seat carrier-based fighter plane ended in 1952, there are still over two dozen Corsairs currently airworthy.

The plane is fully intact including the wings and cockpit’s whiskey compass. Magnetic compasses originally used alcohol as a non-freezing lubricant, which is where the whiskey compass gets its name. Beware of the moray eel that lives inside the cockpit. Located about 108 feet deep, it is a short and advanced dive.

8. Lighthouse Wreck, Indonesia:

Lighthouse Wreck feather star coral


Indonesia is part of the Coral Triangle, home to 20% of the world’s coral reefs. One of Indonesia’s great drift dives is to see the wildlife built up above a collapsed lighthouse that sits in a channel between Lighthouse Island and Kepayang Island. This is an especially challenging dive as the current can be strong. See colorful coral, nodule seastars, sea fans, urchins and feather stars.

 

9. Cross Wreck, Raja Ampat, Indonesia:

10 Cross Wreck, Raja Ampat

This Japanese Navy Patrol boat from WWII is one of the most accessible wreck dives in Raja Ampat, Indonesia and is perfect for new wreck divers. Raja Ampat is an archipelago of over a thousand islands and is home to seasonal whale sharks and some of the top dives in Indonesia including Boo Rock which is famous for the two big eyes you can swim through in the reef. Raja Ampat also holds the world record for the most species of fish recorded on one dive of (284 species during a dive in Kofiau Island).

 

10. Cristóbal Colón, Bermuda:

Cristobal-Colon-Shipwreck

Bermuda has more shipwrecks per square mile than anywhere else in the world! The Cristóbal Colón is an almost 500-foot long Spanish cruise liner and the largest of Bermuda’s shipwrecks. The ship’s wreck sat high on the reef, where many items were pirated and sold, from furniture to paintings now found in local homes. The empty shell was a practice bombing target for the British in WWII which sank the wreck to its current position 55 feet below the surface. Now scattered on the seafloor, one highlight for divers is the large propeller.

Which wreck dive is on the top of your bucket list? Comment Below!

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Best 10 Wreck Scuba Dives in the World

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