Diving into a shipwreck is an exciting and unique experience that can be enjoyed by divers of all levels and abilities. From the Thistlegorm in Egypt to the Iro Maru in Palau, there are plenty of wrecks around the world that offer an unforgettable adventure. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced diver, here is a guide to some of the best shipwrecks for diving. The Thistlegorm was bombed on its way to Alexandria (Egypt) in 1941, resulting in an explosion that split the ship in half and scattered its cargo across the seabed.
With the main superstructure at a depth of just 30 feet, this wreck is an ideal spot for divers to explore. You can find large piles of ammunition, two steam engines and an anti-aircraft gun still in place. The Fujikawa Maru is another great wreck for diving. Located in the Chuuk Lagoon, this wreck has crystal clear waters and no current, making it easy to explore the many artifacts scattered on the seabed.
The whole area has a feeling of being frozen in time, with a ghostly window into the past. The SS President Coolidge was a huge luxury ocean liner that was converted into a troop transport during World War II. In early 1942, it hit two mines while trying to enter the port of Espíritu Santo Island and was stranded on the nearby reef before slipping to its current position at a depth of 70 to 240 feet. The 5,340 evacuated soldiers left all their personal and military belongings on board, creating a fascinating underwater museum of artifacts. The USS Kittiwake is an excellent place for first-time divers to explore a wreck. With its summit just 27 feet in the water, divers can enjoy much of it without needing any special equipment or training beyond an open water certification.
The area is also home to many tropical fish and groupers, crabs and tunas can be seen regularly nearby. The Oriskany, located off the coast of Florida, is another great wreck for divers with a variety of skills. With much of its superstructure less than 30 meters away, divers can explore its bridge, flag bridge and cockpit with radar and navigation equipment still in place. More than 900 feet long and 148 feet wide, this wreck offers plenty to explore. The U-352, located off Cape Hatteras on the Outer Banks, is one of the most popular wrecks in the United States. This German submarine is 110 feet deep and its helmet is almost intact.
The visibility of up to 100 feet and warmer waters make this a great North American wreck to explore. The Iro Maru, located in Palau, is one of more than 60 military ships that were sunk during World War II. This 470-foot vessel sits upright at a maximum depth of 130 feet with much of its deck, bridge and mast above 80 feet. It has excellent penetration dives for experienced divers as well as plenty to see in its outer superstructure. For some who are dedicated to wreck diving, historical interest is the driving force. Investigating the background and circumstances that led to the tragedy and then visiting the shipwreck site years later can be like taking a trip through a time warp.
Other divers are simply fascinated by the size of many wrecks and by the main components and machinery that can be accessed and observed underwater. Swimming next to a soldered anchor from the colonial era or seeing an old crusty canyon lying in the sand can evoke memories of another time. Or swimming across an engine room, bridge or crew rooms can make you wonder what life was like on board years ago when it sailed across the seas. Wrecks also offer many divers an environment to simply advance and hone their diving skills. From Egypt to Palau, there are plenty of shipwrecks around the world that offer an unforgettable adventure for divers of all levels. Whether you are looking for historical interest or simply want to hone your diving skills, there is something for everyone when it comes to exploring shipwrecks.