Top 10: Remarkable Shipwreck Discoveries

Stuart Inamura July 1, 2010 Comments Off



What is lost at sea usually stays that way. But every now and then discoveries are made. Here are ten remarkable shipwrecks you might not have heard of. Most of them have become famous wreck diving spots so for all you divers and maritime history nuts; Enjoy!

10. RMS Rhone

The RMS Rhone was one of the first iron hulled ships and it was used to transport mail, cargo, and passengers between the Caribbean and England. In 1867, the ship wrecked during a hurricane of the coast of Salt Island in the British Virgin Islands. The wreck is now a very popular dive site; the hull is encrusted with coral and a variety of marine life inhabits the wreck.

9. SS Thistlegorm

In 1941, this British Merchant Navy ship was sunk by a German bomb in the Egyptian Red Sea. The wreck was discovered by Jacques-Yves Cousteau in the early 50s and later became a popular dive site. Trucks, motorcycles, rifles, and many other items can be found when exploring the ship’s holds.

8. SS Yongala

When this passenger ship got hit by a cyclone on March 23, 1911, it sank and all 122 passengers perished in the waters off the coast of Cape Bowling Green, Australia. This 110 meter long ship is one of the largest shipwrecks and is visited by over 10,000 divers every year due to the vast array of marine life.

7. Rainbow Warrior

This Greenpeace-owned ship was intended to lead a protest against French nuclear testing in French Polynesia. However, on July 10, 1985, French intelligence agents sabotaged these plans by detonating two bombs and sinking the ship. The wreck is now popular with divers, dolphins and manta rays are common sights.

6. SS President Coolidge

This 199 meter long luxury ocean liner sunk in 1941 when it hit a mine in the South Pacific, off the coast of Vanuatu. It is now a popular dive spot because the ship is mostly intact and lies in relatively shallow water.

5. Fujikawa Maru

Truk Lagoon in Micronesia is the home to many shipwrecks, including this Japanese freighter that was sunk in 1944 by a torpedo. Divers come to see the hold full of Zero fighter planes and the other assorted artifacts, including fossilized sake bottles.

4. USS Oriskany

In May 2006, this former US Navy aircraft carrier was deliberately sunk in the Gulf of Mexico, 37 km off the coast of Pensacola, Florida. At 275 meters long, it is the world’s largest artificial reef.

3. L.R. Doty

This wooden steamship disappeared near Milwaukee, Wisconsin on October 25, 1898, during a violent storm on Lake Michigan. It was recently discovered, 112 years later, on June 25, 2010. Divers found the wreck, along with its cargo of corn, perfectly preserved by the cold fresh waters. In addition, at 90 meters below the surface, it is deep enough that the wreck is not disturbed by storms.


2. Skeleton Coast

This section of the Atlantic coast in Namibia is littered with the remains of thousands of ships that have wrecked due to the heavy surf and even heavier winds. Many of the wrecks are at least partially covered by sand and some are completely buried, with only the mast visible. While it was once a treacherous place, Skeleton Coast National Park is now a popular tourist area, due to the shipwrecks, as well as the variety of wildlife that can be found further inland.


1. Whydah Galley

This 31 meter long galley was the flagship of the pirate Sam “Black Sam” Bellamy. On April 26, 1717, the Whydah Galley was pummeled by a heavy storm and sunk off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The wreck was discovered in 1985, along with the thousands of artifacts on board. The ship’s inscription, “THE WHYDAH GALLEY 1716“, makes this wreck the only positively identified pirate shipwreck in history.

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