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Wreck Diving in Hawaii

Exploring Underwater Treasures

Wreck diving is recreational diving in and around sunken ships and wreckage of aircraft and other structures.  These once mighty vessels have found a renewed purpose at the bottom of the ocean as artificial reefs.  Wreck diving combines observing majestic marine life with human history and archeology. Of course, there is also the allure of finding a hidden treasure of some kind.  Wreck divers also experience a sense of awe as they interact with history and consider the possible loss of life that created the wreck they are now exploring.  Furthermore, the inherent risk of encountering sharks, getting lost inside the wreck or losing a dive light and being plunged into darkness, adds a sense of thrill to the experience as well.  

Several companies on Oahu offer guided tours for beginners and advanced divers alike.  Oahu Diving, Honolulu Scuba Company and Island Divers are three companies that have several options, including dive training for beginners.  

Popular Dive Sites:

The Maui Shipwreck – 45 minutes west from Waikiki, the Maui was sunk in 1986.  It’s was a 176’ minelayer for the U.S. Navy that now lies 90’ deep at the bottom of the Pacific with the main deck at about 65’.  Visibility around the Maui is phenomenal at around 100’.  The corral-encrusted ship is a favorite location for eagle rays to swim nearby.  The ship itself is home to a variety of reef fish and is full of lots of recesses to investigate.  Be sure to have a dive light, as it gets quite dark inside.  

Yo-257 – Close to Waikiki, 15 minutes off the coast of Diamond Head State Park, the Yo-257 was sunk in 1989 by a submarine tour company to improve the sights on its tour.  165’ long, the ship offers a lot of opportunities to explore.  Currents in the area can be tricky, so be careful, especially during a full moon.  Once at the ship, watch out for several sharp edges and objects that could poke or cut.  Local marine life includes eels, tiger sharks, dolphins and barracuda.  The Yo-257 sits 115’ deep on the ocean floor and is 65’-80’ at the shallowest parts of the top deck.  Be aware that submarine tours pass by frequently throughout the day.  

Sea Tiger – Near Honolulu, this ship is the closest to Waikiki at about only 10 minutes away and is recommended for advanced divers.  The Sea Tiger is a former Chinese vessel suspected of engaging in illegal activity, and because of this, the ship was confiscated and auctioned to a submarine tour company for a whopping $1.  The ship is 165’ long and sits 120’ down with the top deck at 65’. The Sea Tiger is a great place to find a giant sea turtle taking a leisurely nap inside.  This ship itself is great to explore with many spots to go inside and investigate but be careful not to get stuck or lost.