10 Wreck Dives for Beginners

While seeing vibrant marine life and coral is the main draw of scuba diving, as divers we also yearn to discover what buried treasures are hidden at the bottom of the ocean. This is why many people enjoy wreck diving. Unfortunately, most well-known wrecks are located 30 meters or deeper below the surface of the water and are in environments that are unsafe for open-water divers.

What does this signify for novice dives, then? You can certainly go acquire your advanced license, which we strongly advise. But if you aren't quite ready to make that commitment, we've put together a list of some beginner-friendly wreck dives from across the globe (in no particular order) to give you a taste of ruin diving.

1. USAT Liberty Shipwreck

During World War II, an American warship named USAT Liberty was torpedoed. Following Mount Agung's eruption in 1963, it spent 20 years beached close to Tulamben, Indonesia, before sinking to the ocean below. The 130m-long wreck is close to the coast, making it simple to access, and it is filled with soft coral and marine life. Eels, surgeonfish, turtles, angelfish, potato cod, barracuda, blacktip sharks, humphead parrotfish, and if you're really lucky, the elusive mola mola are among the common marine species (sunfish). Keep a look out for the weapons, anchor chain, and even the bathrooms, all of which are still in tact, on the wreck.

Location: Tulamben, Bali, Indonesia.
Depth: Between 5-30m.
Conditions: Although it is a simple and peaceful diving site, the surface might be turbulent.
Temperature: 24 – 29 degrees Celsius.
Best time of year to visit: March to December.
Suitable for: Snorkellers (at lower tides), discover scuba, open water diver and above.

2. Underwater Museum of Military Vehicles

During late July 2019, Jordan's new Underwater Museum of Military Vehicles opened. In order to provide relief to the adjacent reefs, 19 military vehicles have been intentionally sunk to create a tourist attraction. Between 15-20m and 20-28m, 8 and 11 vehicles, respectively, have been submerged. An ambulance, a military crane, numerous tanks, and even a combat aircraft are among the vehicles that have had the hazardous material removed. A must-see if you're interested in witnessing a variety of man-made artifacts submerged.

Location: Aqaba, Jordan.
Depth: Between 15-28m.
Conditions: Easy and calm place to dive.
Temperature: 21-27 degrees Celsius.
Best time of year to visit: All year-round.
Suitable for: Snorkellers, open water and above. It is even open to non-divers who are able to see the wrecks from glass-bottom boats.

3. P31 Shipwreck

The Armed Forces Malta employed P31, a former German minesweeper, as a patrol boat from 1992 to 2004. (AFM). The Malta Tourism Authority later purchased it and purposefully sank it as a tourist destination in 2009. The 52m long and 17m broad wreck has been dismantled to make it safe for diving and is in good shape. Stingrays, nudibranchs, damselfish, and sea bream are among the expected marine life on this wreck.

Location: Comino, Malta.
Depth: 18m.
Conditions: Calm and sheltered, but there is lots of boat traffic in the area- so be careful!
Temperature: 16 – 28 degrees Celsius.
Best time of year to visit: Anytime, however the months of June to September often have the best weather and the warmest sea temperatures.
Suitable for: Open water and above.

4. JAKE Sea Plane Wreck

JAKE is the name of a Japanese WWII aircraft. Unknown to historians, the plane disaster was found in Palau in 1994. The plane is 12 meters long with a 14.5 meter wingspan and is in fair shape (although the tail and right half of the plane have been torn off). Since the wreck is lying on its side, divers can see the plane from all sides. You can see the radio controls, ammo, and even a tiny bomb from the aircraft! If you're lucky, you might encounter trevallies, enormous pufferfish, triggerfish, and schools of glassfish.

Location: Palau.
Depth: 15m.
Conditions: Generally calm, with no current.
Temperature: 27 degrees Celsius.
Best time of year to visit: November to May.
Suitable for: The wreck is visible from the surface when there is adequate visibility, making it appropriate for snorkelers as well as those in open water and above.

5. SS Benwood Shipwreck

In 1942, a cargo ship named the SS Benwood collided with a boat. Due to concerns about oncoming German vessels, both boats were compelled to cruise in the dark at the time of the crash. Sadly, the SS Benwood had to be abandoned since the damage was too severe to repair and it sank. Sadly, the wreck is no longer in the shape of a ship, but what is left is covered in vibrant coral. Moray eels, parrotfish, angelfish, groper, and, if you're lucky, nurse sharks, are just a few of the expected marine creatures.

Location: Key Largo, Florida, USA.
Depth: Between 7 – 15m.
Conditions: Current mild to moderate.
Temperature: 22-30 degrees Celsius.
Best time of year to visit: Mid-November to mid-June.
Suitable for: Open water and above.

6. Prince Albert Shipwreck

A cargo ship named the Prince Albert transported Nicaraguan migrants to Roatan. In 1985, the ship was deliberately sunk after being abandoned. The ship is in good shape, measures 50 meters in length, and is close to the coast. A DC3 plane wreck is also 30 meters away. Expect to encounter a mix of hard and soft corals, as well as scorpionfish, stingrays, eagle rays, and squid.

Location: Roatan, Honduras.
Depth: Maximum 22m.
Conditions: Minimal current.
Temperature: 25 to 29 degrees Celsius.
Best time of year to visit: January to July.
Suitable for: Snorkelling, open water and above.

7. MS Zenobia Shipwreck

On her first trip in 1980, the MS Zenobia collapsed and sunk in the Mediterranean Sea near Cyprus. It was a cargo ship carrying vehicles and other cargo when it. A forklift, trucks, trailers, and even a car were on the 172-meter-long ship. This dive is quite fascinating because they are all in good shape. It makes sense why it is considered one of the world's best dive locations. The predicted marine life includes squid, groupers, barracuda, and nudibranchs if the wreck isn't enough to pique your interest. If you notice animal bones, take note that these were a part of the food cargo the trucks were transporting.

Location: Cyprus.
Depth: Between 16m – 42m.
Conditions: Calm.
Temperature: 17 – 28 degrees Celsius.
Best time of year to visit: March to November.
Suitable for: Open water and above.

8. Fujikawa Maru Shipwreck

Originally a passenger/cargo vessel, the Fujikawa Maru was converted by the Japanese Navy into an armed aircraft ferry in 1940. After being damaged by a torpedo in 1943, it was again attacked by torpedoes in 1944, which caused it to sink. Be cautious because the wreck contains guns and live ammunition. Particularly for something that was hit by a torpedo, the wreck and the artifacts discovered on it are in fairly decent condition. You may see coral with a variety of colors, barracudas, turtles, and reef sharks among the marine life.

Location: Chuuk Lagoon (also known as Truk Lagoon), Micronesia.
Depth: between 5 – 35m.
Conditions: Calm.
Temperature: 29 degrees Celsius.
Best time of year to visit: Any time.
Suitable for: Snorkellers, open water and above.

9. MV Antipolis Shipwreck

Oil ship MV Antipolis hit the shore and sank in 1977 while being hauled to be sold for scrap metal. Although the wreck is not entirely intact, you can still see the engine room and other pieces of the ship that have kelp and algae growing on them. Red Roman and crayfish are among the anticipated marine fauna. The wreck is close to the shore and fairly shallow (but you will require some fitness to swim out).

Location: Cape Town South Africa.
Depth: 12m.
Conditions: Can sometimes be currents inside the wreck.
Temperature: 8 to 16 degrees Celsius, so this is a cold dive!
Best time of year to visit: October to May.
Suitable for: Open water and above.

10. USS Kittiwake Shipwreck

A variety of secret missions were carried out by the USS Kittiwake, a submarine rescue and supply ship. The boat was then disassembled to make it suitable for diving, and in 2011 it was deliberately sunk in the crystal-clear seas off Grand Cayman. The 77m-long wreck is in excellent shape; while scuba diving, be aware of the water cannon, the bathroom mirrors, and the navigation and communications room. Don't forget to take a selfie while posing as the ship's captain as well. Expect to witness groupers, moray eels, eagle rays, and manta rays if you're lucky when it comes to marine life. A fun fact is that you might not be aware that the ship was utilized to retrieve the Space Shuttle Challenger's black box.

Location: Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands.
Depth: 15 – 30m.
Conditions: Calm.
Temperature: 21 to 27 degrees Celsius.
Best time of year to visit: October to June.
Suitable for: Snorkellers, discover scuba, open water divers and above. Note Open Water divers are limited to the first three decks of the USS Kittiwake, while advanced divers can explore all five decks. Also for those not keen on getting wet, the wreck can be viewed while doing a submarine tour.

As you can see, novice wreck divers still have a variety of possibilities! Just a friendly reminder that even though we've mentioned some dives that go rather deep, your Open Water certification only allows you to go down to depths of 18 meters or higher. Also, don't forget to read our beginner's guide to wreck diving if you are feeling a little uneasy about participating in one!


Author: Amanda Bolzan and her husband Dean Samuels have been certified divers since 2009. Amanda has her advanced open water and Dean is a dive master. They have travelled the world and dived many sites in Australia, Asia, Central America and the Caribbean.

Amanda and Dean have a travel blog called Scatabout which details the fun and unique experiences they have had on their world travels. You can find them doing something adventurous like scuba diving, hiking or something strange like running down the side of a building.

You can follow Scatabout:

Website: https://scatabout.com

YouTube: https://bit.ly/2DM9Noj

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/scatabout/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/scatabout/


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