How to Dive a Wreck

There is always something special about diving on the remains of a mighty ship that now lies on the seabed in its watery grave. Some shipwrecks got there because of errors in navigation, others were victims of war and some were sunk intentionally. Whatever the reason, there is always a story to be told.

Exploring a wreck

When you first go wreck diving, you will probably be content to swim around the outside of the wreck, marvelling at the sight. It’s amazing to see something that was once such a valuable object so discarded. You may venture a closer look at the twisted metal.

As you get more confident, you will want to explore further, but you need to know what you are doing. Wrecks are interesting because you have access to areas you would not normally see in a functioning ship. The crew’s quarters and the engine room are especially intriguing. The remains of the cargo can be fascinating, too. Although in poor condition after being immersed in seawater for so long, they remain frozen in time from the day they left the sunlight.

Once a wreck is established, it becomes a haven for wildlife. The darker recesses harbour masses of smaller fish together with the larger ones that hunt them. These dark corners can be illuminated with the light from your lamp.

A dangerous place

Entering a wreck is not recommended without special training. It’s not just a matter of taking a big dive light with you, although that is essential.

Entering confined spaces with no direct route to the surface is a serious business.

The visibility may be good, but no matter how carefully you move, you will disturb the sediment on the floor. Your exhaled bubbles will knock down rust from the ceiling. You need to be careful how you move and be aware that there may be someone behind you. If the visibility was good to begin with, a single diver can make it poor in a moment. It is at that point that you realise you need to know your way out.

A diver’s winder reel and line are ideal for such a situation. If you tie off your line to a convenient point outside the wreck, you can unwind it as you go in and wind it back to find your way out. You must be taught how to do this properly, because you need to belay the line – tie it off at points along your route so that it does not get pulled and take UP a route you cannot later follow.

A shipwreck is a big object, but it’s easily missed if it’s lying at any great depth or if the visibility in the water is not good. Your boat’s captain will find the wreck by using a GPS (Global Positioning System) and an echo-sounder and mark its position with a heavy weight tied to a line and buoy. This is commonly called a ‘shotline’. You follow the line down to the wreck, and later follow it back up to your boat.

If the wreck is very large, or there is a strong current flowing, you may not be able to make it back to the shotline, in which case you need to be able to put up your own buoy and line and ascend that.

Filed Under: Sports & Fitness


About the Author: Cody Riffel is a regular contributor to MegaHowTo. She likes to write on variety of topics, whatever interests her. She also likes to share what she learns over the Internet and her day-to-day life.

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