Scuba Diving Oahu Wreck Dives
Oahu is an island full of history and wonders, both above and below the water. In every direction off the island lies a mystery to explore. Join Hawaii Eco Divers scuba diving Oahu wreck dives for an adventure like no other. Below are some of the coolest wrecks you can explore on the island.
West Side Oahu Scuba Dive Wrecks
29 Down dive site on the west side of Oahu is a unique experience for every diver! This site is a small airplane that was sunk for use in the TV series “Flight 29 Down.” A beautiful reef circles the plane, which fills the area with colorful and friendly marine life.
Landing Craft Unit (L.C.U.)
Located very close to the 29 Down wreck, is Oahu’s famous L.C.U., or Landing Craft Unit. This shipwreck sank upside-down, creating a unique experience for any diver. Whitetip Reef Sharks live under the ship and can be found resting on the ocean floor during the day. Up towards the “bottom” of the boat, divers often see fish swimming upside-down! Around the ship are many Z-blocks, placed by the state to create artificial reefs in order to boost fish populations.
The Mahi is one of Oahu’s most popular wreck dives, and it never disappoints! This ship was a US Navy minesweeper that was sank in 1982 as an artificial reef project. The wreck is 190 ft./ 63 m. long.
Because of its long bottom-time, a lot of marine life can be found around the Mahi Wreck. A squadron of eagle rays lives nearby and is often seen swimming along the side of the wreck, in groups up to as many as 20 at once. A great barracuda is often found circling the mast post, as it has claimed the Mahi as its home. These creatures are joined by large schools of reef fish, eels, and bigger sharks.
South Shore Oahu Scuba Dive Wrecks
This is the deepest wreck dive for recreational divers, and also one of the most exciting. Because of the depth of this dive, some experience is necessary. The Sea Tiger is a beautiful ship that was originally a Chinese trading vessel. It was intentionally sank in 1999 by a submarine company as an effort to create more reefs around Oahu. Because its sinking was so recent, the ship has very little decay and is incredible to explore.
The Sea Tiger has become home to flourishing marine life, including eagle rays, sea turtles, moray eels, and whitetip sharks. Additionally, there are ample species of reef fish. The ship features multiple swim-throughs, some more dangerous than others. With so much to explore, this dive site near Waikiki is wonderful for beginners and advanced divers alike.
YO 257 / San Pedro
These wreck dives are best accessed from Waikiki, giving you a spectacular view of Diamond Head and Honolulu’s skyline on the boat ride out. The YO-257 is an old navy ship that was sunk in 1989 as part of the state’s artificial reef project. There are abundant swim throughs and myriad marine creatures.
The YO-257 sits 120 feet down, with its deck around 80 feet, and is therefore only accessible to advanced divers. Only 70 feet away, and slightly shallower at 60 feet deep, is the San Pedro. This ship used to be a hospital vessel. It was sunk next to its sister, the YO-257, in 1996 as part of the same reef project. The San Pedro, however, is deteriorating at a much faster rate and is therefore not ideal for swimming through.
Both wrecks are home to huge amounts of sea life, including turtles, eagle rays, whitetip reef sharks, reef fish, nudibranches, and octopi. In fact, the deck of the San Pedro has become a turtle cleaning station! For divers seeking more of a challenge, this is one of the best dive sites Oahu has to offer. The currents around Diamond Head and into the harbor can make this site a challenge, while the depth makes for a limited bottom time. You will want to dive this site again to see all it has to offer.
The Corsair offers something unique among all of the best south shore dive sites – this is the only non-artificial wreck in Oahu! The small airplane crash landed in 1946, when the pilot was running out of air and ditched the vessel. He managed to escape the crash and survive! The plane remains completely intact at 105 feet deep.
The Corsair offers another unique quality. This dive site is one of a few that hundreds of endemic garden eels can be seen. They are always surrounding the wreck and playing hide-and-seek with the divers. Large stingrays often visit the area as well. This site has one of the best visibility ratings of the island, with an average day offering 100 feet / 35 m. of visibility. However, visibility reaches close to 180 feet/ 60m. at best!
Why Dive Ship Wrecks?
First of all, because they’re fun. 🙂
Diving through Oahu wreck dives will offer you an entirely unique experience under the sea. It is fascinating to be in a world so entirely different from your own, then to see a piece of modern technology sitting in the middle of it. The ships and airplanes described in these wrecks were once amazing feats of engineering. Now, they sit on the ocean floor, unable to serve their intended purpose. Instead, they provide homes to local marine life and contribute to the flourishing Hawaiian ecosystem.
Many of these dive sites offer swim-throughs, where you can see inside the boat or plane. You can imagine the humans that lived in those spaces before you. You can experience history first-hand.
Wreck diving also provides an opportunity for a diver to get deep under water and check off a specialty dive towards their advanced open water course!