The ocean depths are home to many mysterious relics from the past, and wreck diving is a popular recreational activity that involves exploring the wreckage of ships, planes, and other artificial structures. In recent years, retired ships have been sunk to create artificial reef sites, and diving in crashed planes can also be considered wreck diving. When it comes to wreck diving, there is no distinction as to how the boat ended up at the bottom. The limited visibility can cause confusion, so it's important to follow the instructions of the dive boat when putting on your equipment.
If you're close enough to the wreck, you can descend quickly and protect its structure from the current. For a more advanced wreck site, take Spiegel Grove off the coast of Key Largo, Florida as an example. This dive can present additional complications; if it's intended to be a decompression dive, divers will normally transport decompression gases in cylinders mounted on the sides. Non-wreck diving is the least dangerous form of wreck diving, but divers should still be aware of potential risks such as tangling nets and fishing lines that can be caught in the wreck (wrecks are often popular fishing sites), and sharp edges in the underlying terrain.
Most recreational diving organizations teach divers only to penetrate as far as the limit of the light zone or a maximum total distance from the surface (depth and penetration) of 100 feet. It's important to keep in mind that currents can change quickly anywhere, so always take note of the direction of the current once you're in the wreck and plan your dive conservatively in case it changes during the dive. For instance, Spiegel Grove remains perfectly intact and as picturesque as the day it sank, but only technical divers and trimix divers with advanced open water certification or a logbook that shows a recent history of similar dives can contemplate its beauty. Dives usually include a visit to the pool (38 m) and work along the bow, ending at the tip of the bow (30 m).
If you're a beginner or novice diver and need a little help, you can usually hire one of the dive instructors in the store to guide you and help you stay safe on these advanced dives. An alternative approach, popularized by deep-wreck divers in the Northeastern United States, is known as progressive penetration. This technique involves gradually increasing your depth until you reach your desired destination. If you don't have a partner yet, talk to the dive teacher after the boat briefing to make sure you know who you're diving with. For instance, Spiegel Grove is between 65 and 230 feet (20 and 70 meters) deep and is a nationally protected dive site. Wreck diving is an exciting activity that allows divers to explore some of history's most fascinating relics.
It's important to remember that safety should always come first when planning a dive. Make sure you follow all instructions given by your dive boat and hire an instructor if necessary. With proper preparation and knowledge, you can enjoy an unforgettable experience exploring shipwrecks.