Why choose wreck diving
Wreck diving is a unique and mystical practice which provides a completely different experience to an open water dive. Sunken ships or aircrafts and their neighbouring debris once settled for many years provide an artificial reef for many varieties of marine life. This often guarantees you will encounter a few unusual inhabitants living on board or nearby the wreck. The wreck itself is also not to be overlooked with numerous intricate parts or machinery to observe and get up-close to which not many have access to on working, floating vessels. Many divers are more interested in the historical significance of certain wrecks given their often tragic or exciting history, which means the added awe of surrounding marine life is merely an added bonus to this experience of unusual sights and discovery.
Anyone familiar with images of vessels underwater, the most iconic probably being Titanic, can vouch for the unsettling yet captivating feeling of seeing something manmade and with an intended purpose lying on the seabed rendered useless now by all bar marine life. Now imagine a chance to experience this up close and float through the past whilst also observing living creatures which few ever get to see. Whether you are thinking about wreck diving from a historical or biological viewpoint, here are a few pointers about the dangers which you need to be aware of.
Dangers and how to avoid them
The added excitement of wreck diving isn’t without added risks. We strongly advise anyone who would like to ‘take the plunge’ into wreck diving to have an SDI or PADI Wreck Diving qualification, available from most dive schools or dive training organisations. This is not a conclusive list of the dangers which wreck diving can entail, which is why you will need to complete a training course, here we just aim to summarise a brief list of risks which you are likely to encounter while wreck diving and preventative measures to avoid them creating danger:
- Fishing Nets or Lines- Be aware for fishing line, rope or nets entangled on the wreck, try to avoid them completely. If snagged they can damage the wreck which may be fragile and prone to breaking causing disturbance or further damage to marine life. It is essential that at least one cutting device be carried in the event of being tangled up. The most popular knife we sell is the ScubaPro K-4.
- Deep water & Enclosed Spaces- As a lot of attractive or well preserved wrecks or in much deeper water, there is a different set of precautions associated with deep water diving which is why training is essential. One crucial piece of equipment when penetrating wreck dives is the Puffin Reel which is super easy to use and allows you to track your path, allowing for a quick exit in the case of an emergency.
- Lack of light & Silt or other sediment- Torches are another must have whilst wreck diving, as intricate parts of the wreck, especially if in deep water, suffer from lack of natural light. In order to ensure safety and enjoy the wreck in its full glory, torches such as the UK LED Cannon are very popular. These will also help to see through disturbance created from silt and sediment which you are likely to stir up in an enclosed space. Don’t be caught out and dropped into darkness should the battery fail on your torch, mini back up torches such as the Princeton Tech 40 are ideal and this one is the most popular with divers who come to deep blue.
We asked Pete Black, a diving instructor with Deep Blue Pirates, what his favourite wreck site was and he chose Thistlegorm in the Red Sea. He advised that at this site in particular you need to be aware of additional dangers such as enclosed spaces, overhead environments, absence of light and silt disturbance.
Why then, with all these extra dangers to be aware of, is anybody interested in wreck diving? As we mentioned earlier, wreck diving offers an underwater experience like no other and is of particular interest to anyone with a fascination for heritage and culture which has been lost to the sea. It also provides the more experiences diver with challenges to push their diving abilities to the limit. We hope this article has made you aware of the benefits and added risks of wreck diving but most importantly have fun and dive safe!