A Guide to Shipwrecks in The Bahamas
The waters around The Bahamas are peppered with shipwrecks, making it one of the best places in the world for snorkeling and scuba diving. Just below the sparkling blue surface of the water, a thrilling underwater world is waiting to be discovered. In general, shipwrecks are classified in three groups based on their depth below the ocean’s surface. Shallow wrecks are located up to 50 feet below the surface of the water, moderate-depth wrecks are 50-90 feet below, and anything farther than 90 feet beneath the surface is a deep wreck. Each of these types of shipwrecks offers divers and snorkelers a unique experience. Read on to learn more about some of Nassau Paradise Island’s most prolific shipwrecks at all depths!
Best for Snorkeling: Shallow Wrecks
The shallow waters near the shores of The Bahamas are home to a host of shipwrecks. Since they’re so close to the surface, it’s easy to explore these wrecks while snorkeling. Shallow wrecks are also exposed to lots of sunlight, which causes coral to grow on the wreckage and makes them perfect hiding spots for colorful tropical fish.
Located off the shores of Paradise Island, you’ll find the wreckage of the Mahoney, a steamship dating back to the late 1800s. In 1929, the Mahoney wrecked just offshore from where Atlantis, Paradise Island is now located. In order to avoid putting other ships in danger, the Mahoney was blown up using dynamite, and pieces of the ship are now scattered across the ocean floor.
The shallow waters off New Providence Island, where the city of Nassau is located, are home to numerous wrecks from the 1980s and 90s – including a few that may have featured in some of your favorite movies! Located 45 feet below the water’s surface, Tears of Allah was sunk for use during the filming of Never Say Never Again, one of the James Bond movies shot in The Bahamas. Prior to becoming a film star, the 92-foot tugboat was used as a supply boat.
Located just a two-minute swim away, you can see the wreckage of a Vulcan bomber plane that was part of Thunderball, another James Bond film. The plane’s exterior has disintegrated, and its metal framework is now overgrown with corals, making it a playground for lionfish, turtles, barracuda, and reef fish. You can visit both James Bond wrecks during a Stuart Cove’s Snorkel Bahamas excursion.
Best for Adventure-Seekers: Moderate-Depth Wrecks
Located between 50 feet and 90 feet below the ocean’s surface, moderate-depth wrecks are perfect for adventure-seekers and intermediate divers. If you have a taste for adventure, there are some moderate-depth wrecks off New Providence that are also located close to shark-feeding dive sites, including the David Tucker II and the Bahama Momma.
The David Tucker II was a U.S. Coast Guard ship that was donated to the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, decommissioned in 1996, and sank by Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas. Today, it’s a thrilling shipwreck to explore. It’s home to plenty of underwater creatures, such as crabs, reef fish, and skates, and you’re likely to spot garden eels and turtles on the sand nearby.
Sunk in 1995 as a dive attraction, the Bahama Momma enjoyed a past life as a party boat. The 33-foot-long boat is still in very good condition, and it’s easy to get into the wheelhouse, which makes for some great underwater photo ops.
Best for Experienced Divers: Deep Wrecks
With depths of 90-100 feet below the surface, deep wreck sites provide a magical scuba diving experience. Since these wrecks are located so far beneath the water’s surface, they’re protected from storm surges and weather elements, so they’re more likely to remain in pristine condition.
There are three deep wrecks located off the shores of Paradise Island at a site known as The Shipyard, which makes for optimal shipwreck viewing if you’re pressed for time. Here, experienced divers can explore an oil tanker called the Bahama Shell, a 95-foot passenger ship named the Helena C., and a 150-foot supply vessel called the Ana Lise. These ships were all sunk between 1990 and 1991 and are well-preserved and intact, making for an interesting – yet slightly spooky – diving excursion.
Learning to Dive
Want to experience the underwater wonders of The Bahamas for yourself? With plenty of diving programs available in Nassau Paradise Island, you’ll be gearing up for your first scuba dive or snorkeling adventure in no time.
Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas features a fleet of seven dive vessels and an assortment of programs, from a beginner’s “Learn to Dive” course to SharkAdventure programs. If you prefer to stay on the surface, Stuart Cove’s also has an excellent snorkeling program.
Bahamas Divers offers an assortment of half-day and full-day diving and snorkeling trips as well as PADI scuba certification courses and equipment rentals. Guests can even customize a group charter outing.
To master the basics of snorkeling, check out Pearl Island Snorkel Experience, where guests can enjoy a guided snorkel tour of a private, protected reef. Or discover some of The Bahamas’ most stunning reefs with Seahorse Snorkeling & Sailing Tours, which include equipment rentals, instruction, and a refreshing glass of rum punch!
With so many exciting shipwrecks to discover – and so many ways to explore them – why not make a diving or snorkeling excursion part of your next getaway to Nassau Paradise Island?