Selected Deeper Off shore Wrecks of Portland
Area with Skin Deep Diving

Visit the bell vault here

Technical divers have used Skin Deep since the early 1990’s when the mixed gas revolution first swept mainstream diving and it’s these divers that have opened up many of the offshore deeper wrecks. Before the technical divers like the original Starfish Enterprise team who used skin deep for their build dives to Lusitania 1994 expedition and 1998 Britannic expedition the deep diving was left in the capable hands of the Kingston deep air divers. Many of the wrecks here have been discovered by Skin Deep and identified by these groups as well as Skipper Ian Taylor himself
With the catamaran we are travelling further and faster and operating from different ports in the Southwest. We often have some exciting weeks for the wreck hunters but if you just fancy a good dive have a look at this list of excellent wrecks – it’s just a few of the many great sites we have.



HMS Delight

A destroyer sunk early in WW2 by German aircraft. I am told that the aircraft found her mid-channel using an early form of radar, which if true she must surely be the first ship sunk as a result. The planes did a good job. Her centre section lies upside down, her bow is broken off lying on its side and the stern is upright but blown away down to her steering mechanism and propeller shafts. She is one of those wrecks which when you see her lying broken and twisted you cannot help but think of the poor brave sailors that went down with her and how suddenly it must all have happened.
Max depth 62m.
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Siren
Sank in 1896 after colliding with another wreck in our waters, the Landrail (see local wrecks). The smallest bell I ever saw came from this 75 m sailing ship, so is there another one! I can’t believe the one I saw, although it had the ships name on it, was the main bell, if it was those sailors must have had huge ears. I think it is worth spending more time on this one as not much diving has taken place and the last time we were there the vis was in excess of 25 metres with the whole wreck covered in cod and ling. Max depth 65m.

Merchant Royal
A large wreck sunk as the result of a collision. Standing 11M high with her centre castle area largely intact she is still a recognisable ship. Care is needed when entering her holds as it is possible to go below seabed depth and reach 60M but if you do find yourself there look out for the copper ingots that were missed by the salvage men.
Max depth 56m to the seabed.
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U-Boat U-772
German U- Boat approx 55m, broken in front of the conning tower winter garden and life raft tubes still visible excellent dive and strong example of a type VII C german U-Boat. Excellent dive and explored by Shadow divers Richie Kholar.
Max depth 57m.
link to external site with 772 reference click here

Warrior II
A once beautiful steam yacht built with no expense spared. She was requisitioned in both wars but her luck ran out in 1940 when she was attacked from the air. Her bow is a fantastic site and she still retains many of her very heavy brass fittings. Some of the best portholes I have seen came from her in the eighties; they were very fancy with special vents for use in the tropics.
Max depth 56m.
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Meknes
A 6000-ton liner sunk in WW2 by German E boats. She was carrying troops at the time and sank with the loss of over four hundred lives. A very large site, which has been extensively depth charged as the Navy were concerned that her hulk could provide a nice hiding place for a U boat. She is however well worth a dive and still has many secrets to give up, not the least of which is her bell. This area is often blessed with spectacular vis.
Max depth 60m.
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Avalanche
This sailing ship sank as the result of a collision in 1877 with a huge loss of life. She makes an excellent dive and over the years she has given up much of her cargo of porcelain. Lying upright but buried up to the gunwale on one side it is important to avoid stirring the bottom as the vis is soon reduced to nil. She is my idea of what a sunken sailing ship should look like Hollywood style. After the disaster a church was erected on Portland to remember those lost. If you get chance visit the Avalanche church. Inside there are some fine examples of pottery and outside one of her two anchors is on display. Max depth 50m.
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Waitara
I remember back in 1995 talking to one of the country’s pioneer mixed gas divers Alan Yeend about this sailing ship. I was explaining how she was one I would like to find and even had a few possible sites. Imagine my surprise and his when two weeks later he found her lying in 60M thirty miles southeast of Weymouth. She makes an excellent dive and for a wreck that sank in 1883 is in remarkable condition as is much of her cargo, which is heavily concreted but well preserved.
Max depth 60m
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HMS Fisguard II
Formerly the ironclad battleship Invincible she was converted to a static training vessel but sank in the deep hole just off Portland Bill while under tow. Completely upside down and lying up against a ledge Fisguard makes a challenging dive due to the fact there isn’t much slack water and sea conditions can change very quickly due to her close proximity to the Portland race. She is an interesting wreck with much to see and if you do have a dive on her, whilst on the boat get me to tell you the story the late great Andy Smith told me about the first attempts to dive her, you will be in stitches.
Max depth 66m
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Illinois
Standing over 15M in places this three castle American tanker dating from the first war is an incredible dive. One of the country’s leading technical divers Jamie Powell rates this wreck as possibly the best in the English Channel. August 1997 saw her very large bell, which can be seen on the homepage, come aboard Wey Chieftain 2. Amazingly my shot had fallen through the deck and landed next to it, presumably the bell had fallen through the same hole. Incidentally the finder went through all the correct channels and declared his find, he even tried to buy the wreck but was unsuccessful as there was some debate about who owned her.
Max depth 68m.
Find out more about this wreck on deepimage shipwreck website click here

Romsdalen

We are fairly sure this wreck is the Romsdalen although to my knowledge no bell or other identification has been recovered. Her holds are full of patent fuel which is coal dust compressed in to bricks, all the bricks are stamped with the name Phoenix. The size, vintage and cargo all point to the Romsdalen. Relatively intact and standing eight metres she makes a great dive and feels like diving on a ship rather than a pile of scrap, so it’s one for the tourer who likes to make sense of it all.
Max depth 56m.

Rotorua
A massive 11000-ton wreck torpedoed in WW1. Lying on her side she stands some 15M above the seabed at her bow. For some reason after being dived quite extensively in the mid eighties she was forgotten and until I started going there in 1996 she was virtually unheard of by divers. Possibly it’s the fact that she lies smack in the middle of Lyme bay and is quite a trek but nowadays with fast modern boats that is no problem.
Max depth 60m.
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Pangani
Quite a trek to this one and it’s busy, busy with shipping but well worth the effort. The Pangani was a very large sailing ship that sunk as the result of a collision. She rises in places fourteen metres from the seabed and is broken in two forming a dogleg. Absolutely stuffed with pottery, when the vis is good in this area and it often is she is a stunning dive.
Max depth 70m.

HMS boadicea
The boadicea, a British destroyer, was an unlucky victim of WW2. She was hit directly in the forward magazine by an aerial torpedo which completely blew the fore part of the ship away, sending her quickly to the bottom. What remains of the bow is scattered across the seabed but her amidships and stern make a superb dive with much to see, she even has depth charges still in the racks.
Max depth 53m.
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LH Carl
It was 1917 and UB 40 was having a good run, earlier that day she had sent the P&O liner Salsette to the bottom and made light work of the LH Carl. A torpedo struck the ship full square in the boiler room sending her down in fifteen minutes. A large wreck with a large cargo of coal she is a rewarding dive in good vis but is quite heavily netted so proceed with care.
Max depth 54m.

HMS L 24
This submarine was on exercise when she passed across the path of the battleship Resolution at periscope depth. The resulting collision gave her no chance and she went down with all hands. When diving this wreck it is sad to see her hydroplanes set to hard dive as she desperately tried to take evasive action. A hatch is also open and there is obvious damage where the 25000-ton ship sliced into her hull.
Max depth 52m.
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HMS Blackwood
A lease lend American frigate, Blackwood, only ten days before her sinking had been involved in the D-day landings. Torpedoed with the loss of over 50 lives she is another vessel that has been extensively depth charged. The result is a very broken but interesting wreck with some enormous shellfish life.
Max depth 58m.
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SS Jeanne
Well this is just one of those wrecks everyone seems to love and wants to go back to. The wreck has been identified by the maker’s plate but as yet no bell has been found. The boarding crew from the U boat possibly removed it, they often took the bell to prove the kill and used bombs rather than valuable torpedo’s that could be used on better armed prey. The Germans boarded her, bombs were placed and Jeanne was blown up after the ship’s crew had been allowed to take to the boats. All very gentlemanly, a sort of Queensbury rules. Well Known deep wreck diver Leigh Bishop regards this wreck as one of the best steamship dives he has investigated.
Max depth 67m.

Mystery Wreck Site 110a
T o date this wreck has no name despite years of research by leading wreck enthusiasts. The site was discovered by skipper Grahame Knott and has seen several attempts by teams to put an end to the mystery. Divers originally thought this to be the site of the Forrest however this has since then taken several turns and may have come all the way back.
Max depth 57m

We have discovered hundreds of shipwrecks far too many to mention here (see the bell vault here), we visit most of them on request however if you have a target wreck dive in mind why not contact Ian and he will be only to happy to help for technical divers who carry huge amounts of equipment we have a purpose built lift to bring you out from the water to the deck. See Boat click here

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