Wreck diving is one of the most overwhelming experience whether you are an experienced diver or just a beginner. Being underwater is a lot to explore and the first thing to see are the fishes, the plant life, rocks, corals and many more. The other amazing thinf to explore are the wrecks which are the things that are damaged, fragmanted or dismantled or on other words, ruined.My first formal “check out” dives, as they were called in back in the early 60’s, were in a quarry. The quarry had a small railway and a rock cart that two divers could sit in plus a small crane and a couple of rusted old cars. Wow, wrecked cars!
Today’s quarry dive sites have school buses, airplanes, houseboats, yachts, railroad cars, mini-subs, and replicas of ancient shipwrecks. Dammed up rivers have old towns, bridges and graveyards. Inland lakes have old-time steam powered vessels, sailing ships and historic military vessels. The Great Lakes have a treasure trove of perfectly intact wooden sailing and steam powered ships, plus modern-day ore ships over a 1000 feet long waiting to be explored. The St. Lawrence River is extremely clear, has very fast currents and great wrecks to explore.
Participating in wreck diving can be a lot of fun, but it requires good air consumption, horizontal buoyancy, navigation skills, limited arm movements (unless used to pull yourself along a wreck), staying within 10 feet of your buddy, not stirring up the bottom and following your dive plan, etc. Bumping into wrecks can cause cuts and injuries, so stay at least six feet away from the wreckage you are diving. Wearing a wet suit and gloves will prevent minor injuries if you have a collision with the wreck. Carrying a line cutter or knife is necessary for removal of any monofilament fishing line you might get tangled up in.
A recreational specialty course in wreck diving is the best way to get trained in this type of diving. Your instructor will teach you the skills required for safe and effective diving particular to your geographic diving area. Boat diving is usually required to reach the dive sites. The only way to learn how to effectively dive off a boat is by taking a boat diving certification course. Boat diving is more then just falling off a dive boat and climbing back on!
Entry level wreck diving is usually conducted within Open Water dive depth limits. It is an observational class and not entry level to “plunder and pillage” treasures that you cannot live without, and bragging about to your dive buddies. Some states have stringent laws about the removal of any artifacts from their waters, and Federal laws may also apply. There is no excuse for not knowing your local laws. A better idea is to purchase an underwater camera and capture some great images as memories of your dive. The idea of taking only pictures and leaving only bubbles cannot be understated from a conservation perspective. Leave the wrecks for the next generation of divers to enjoy too.