Top 5 of the World’s Best Wreck Diving

Top 5 of the World’s Best Wreck Diving
Deck Gun – Credit: Cigdem Sean Cooper

Do you go crazy for wreck diving like us?

Do you want unmatched wreck diving? Here are five of the best Wrecks you can dive! You might not agree with our list, but that’s okay, share your own list in the comments below!

Diving spot top lists has always been somewhat controversial.

Every time anyone denotes any dive site as being among the five or ten best, someone has a site that belongs there. And it’s probably rightfully so, as there are many more fantastic dive sites around the world than can be crammed into any list. They’re all fantastic for different reasons, making it hard to choose one over another. Be that as it may, the list below is intended to serve as a source of inspiration for scuba divers who love wreck diving. This list is partly based on where I’ve dived myself, and partly what I got on my bucket list!

Europe is home to great wreck diving. Click the picture to learn more

Diving the Thistlegorm, Egypt

Probably one of the most famous dive wrecks in the world it the the SS Thistlegorm. She was a British navy transport that was sunken by German bombers during the Second World War. It was later found in the 1960s by Jacques-Yves Cousteau. Read How to Dive the SS Thistlegorm from Sharm el Sheik, Egypt  Famous partly for its history, but not least for its cargo of firearms, trucks, motorcycles, jeeps, airplane parts, and trains (yes, trains). It offers a stunning bit of military history frozen in time at the bottom of the sea. Its long, open cargo holds lends itself well to penetration.

Diving the USS Oriskany, Florida

“The Mighty O” is one of the largest purpose-sunk wrecks in the sea, and has quite a bit of history behind her. She served the US armed forces since 1945, and saw action in all armed conflicts between then and her final decommissioning in 1976. In 2006, she was purposely sunk off the coast of Florida to create an artificial reef. The main appeal of the wreck is sheer size. The Oriskany is a former aircraft carrier, and measures a whopping 888 foot in length, and more than 30,000 tons. The wreck was completely stripped of any hazards to divers (and to the environment), so penetration is safe for those with appropriate certification. The shallower parts of the vessel, which include the superstructure and the bridge, allow for recreational diving. Whereas penetration and diving along the deeper sections of the wreck are well into the technical parts of diving.

Diver looking inside USS Oriskany
Diver looking inside USS Oriskany
Photo by: Greg Grimes

Wreck Diving at USAT Liberty, Bali

She was beached on the east coast of Bali after being hit by enemy fire in the Second World War’s Pacific Theatre. The Liberty wreck is now one of the most accessible wrecks in the world. In fact, you don’t even need a diving certificate to experience this one! After it beached near the town of Tulamben, its troubles weren’t over. A volcano eruption pushed it back out to sea, where it now rests at only a few meters of water at its shallowest point. Snorkelers can explore the top structure and survey the entire wreck from the surface, and divers can explore the deeper parts of the wreck. Visibility is usually good here, but there can be significant surf that you need to pass before descending. This may be a little challenging but remains a most rewarding wreck diving experience.

USAT Liberty wreck. Tulamben, Bali
USAT Liberty wreck. Tulamben, Bali
Photo by: Dudarev Mikhail

Wreck Diving the P29 Patrol Boat, Malta

The small island nation of Malta probably has the most purpose-sunk wrecks in relation to its size. One of the newest is the German-built P29 Patrol Boat, which sits on about 30 meters of water off the coast of Cirkewwa. Sitting perfectly upright on her keel, the wreck sports good swim-throughs, an intact mast and communications tower, and even a .50 caliber machine gun on its aft deck!

Read about Diving in Malta

Diving at Chuuk Lagoon

For wreck enthusiasts, there are two locations in the world that stand out, and that is Scapa Flow in the Scotland, and the Chuuk Lagoon in Micronesia. Both belong on a list of great wreck dives, but on this list, I’ll focus on Chuuk, if for no other reason than that with its warmer water, it is more accessible to divers. The lagoon served as a forward base for the Japanese navy during the Second World War (much the same way Pearl Harbor did for the Americans), and was attacked by US forces. Today, dozens of ship and plane wrecks are to be found in the lagoon, at depths ranging from the surface and down to tech depth.

What’s your favorite wreck?

We all have our won top list of dive sites? Which wrecks are on your top wreck diving list?

Share your top list below in the comments, and your list might help your dive buddy make his own list!

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To really enjoy the Mighty O tech certification a must while the superstructure is interesting it only the tip of the underwater iceberg. To get the full thrill you’ve got to go deep


first yongala, australia.
2nd thistlegorm, red sea


First, I submit that purposely sunk “artificial reefs” should be designated as such to distinguish from actual “wrecks.”

As for consideration as top 5 “wrecks,” I further submit, in no particular order:
1) wreck of the del Norte in Porlier Pass off Vancouver Island
2) wrecks of Coron Bay, Palawan
3) wrecks of Palau, Amatsu Maru, helmet wreck, Japanese zero, etc.
4) Yongala, Australia
5) wrecks of Scapa Flow, Scotland

I have done the first 3, and I’d sure like to do the others. I have also done Tulamben, Thistlegorm … great wreckdives.

James Olinger
James Olinger

Great article! It gets the blood pumping just remembering wreck dives!
My favorites are in the western hemisphere.
Just out of the harbor in Cozumel Mexico is the “C-53” also know as the Felipe Xicoténcatl. It sits upright and was purposely sunk for divers and so has several escape areas on each level and most hazards removed. The upper deck is about 22 m with a maximum depth of 33 m. One corridor is so dark you can’t see anything without a torch (which was the way I passed through it on the first dive).

The U.S.S Kittiwake on Grand Cayman is great as well. It can be done on a single tank, but two dives would be better. The resident Sargent Majors will attack as you swim by. Just bite ’em back!

Torben Lonne
Torben Lonne

Hi Tony, That’s a nice list. Unfortunately I haven’t done them all yet!

Do you have any planned or is it a big wish list?


Mine would go like this:
The Brummer – Scapa Flow
Yolanda – Aus
USS Oriskany – She’s brand new for me!
Uss Kitewake
The last one I have to think about!

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