New England Wreck Diving


One of the biggest challenges on the Northeast coast is wreck diving.  I recall several that were memorable.  The one that I remember the most was diving on the wreck of the Chester A. Poling only a few months after it broke in two and sank in January just off the coast of Gloucester, Massachusetts.  My diving buddy had just bought a new dive boat and was anxious to try it out.  It was a sunny day in July, 1977 when we launched the boat from a public boat ramp.  The site was about a mile from the Eastern point of Gloucester Harbor, but the Coast Guard had removed a buoy that marked the spot since too many people had tried to dive on her.  We were lucky this day as the water was uncharacteristically clear for New England.  We were able to spot the broken stern section through the clear water in about 60 ft. although the superstructure was at 25 feet below the surface.  We descended and I must say, seeing a sunken freighter, with clean bulkheads and laundry still hanging from the various poles and hooks was eerie.  We went inside a couple of cabins, but I was claustrophobic.  I did manage to get a brass piece from one of the portholes which only required a single bolt removal.  I had it polished and engraved as a remembrance of this dive. This was one of the most spectacular wreck dives I have made because of the good visibility, the souvenir, and the newness of the wreck itself.

There are may good wreck dives in New England, although New Jersey seems to have the reputation for wrecks.  I found that the area around Block Island, Rhode Island combines good wrecks with reasonable bottom conditions and fair visibility.

Good hunting!