Local Dive Sites in Ontario and Surrounding Areas
There’s a reason that Ontario is a Top 10 Scuba Diving Destination in any major scuba diving magazine! It’s because our Local Dive Sites in Ontario are some of the best local scuba diving dive sites anywhere in the world. Did you know that there are thousands of dive sites including amazing shipwrecks accessible throughout the Great lakes region? The Niagara Region and surrounding areas that offer some of the finest shipwrecks, wall dives and shore dives available.
There’s a reason that Ontario is a Top 10 Scuba Diving Destination in any major scuba diving magazine! It’s because there are thousands of dive sites including amazing shipwrecks accessible throughout the Great lakes region and our own Niagara Region and surrounding areas that offer some of the finest shipwrecks, wall dives and shore dives available.
DDS Diver in Trim Diving Georgian Bay
Scuba Diving locally isn’t at all what a lot of people think when they start scuba diving. We often get people asking “What do you guys see here?” They’re shocked when we tell them we have the best diving in the world in Canada, and more specifically the Great Lakes, as many are certified in a shallow quarry boasting 10-40′ visibility. Divers need to expand their diving location choices to maximize their enjoyment and experience.
Many local Scuba Divers prefer diving locally even over warmer tropical locations. It just requires a little bit more equipment.
Scuba Diving 20′ in a local quarry or river doesn’t yield the same exceptional 100-200′ visibility and amazing blue water and awesome shipwrecks that we are accustomed to and obsess about!
With the right equipment and training diving in locally can keep your skills sharper, your enjoyment higher while offering you a lifetime of amazing diving right in your own backyard.
We have the best shipwrecks, some of the absolutely clearest water in the world, the most amazing geological dives and the most vibrant colours and soft sponges in the world when you dive West and East Coasts. Canadian Diving is the best, but we also offer a lot of warm water travel too, so don’t worry, we are pleased to offer both trips locally and to exotic warm water and cold water locales.
Below is a collection of many of the various dive sites that located in Southern Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, Eastern Ontario and surrounding areas.
This area features maps to many of our popular Wednesday night drift dive sites, quarries and other shore dives and wreck dives that would require a charter boat operator to take you there unless you have your own boat or a long range DPV.
The Tiller Wreck off Port Dalhousie is a very popular local diving site we run regular dive charters out to. It’s 110ft/33 meters deep. This is an Advanced Dive Site.
The Shipwreck W. L. Wetmore is a popular open water dive site in Tobermory, ON
WHY ONTARIO SCUBA DIVING?
The largest fresh-water lakes in the world combined with violent storms and a long shipping history have made for some of the best wreck diving in the world.
Shipwrecks range from 18th century schooners to modern day 700′ freighters and canal lakers, cargo ships and anything in between, as well as some of the best wall diving, world-class drift diving and more.
While we love the exotic trips and travel, nothing gets us as excited as road trips to our favourite local dive sites. It’s like reacquainting yourself with a loved one you haven’t seen in a while.
Diving in Ontario is a blast, but its the bigger, better, deeper sites that really will help make local diving a lifelong passion.
We have a lot of fun and easy dives as well, like the Upper Niagara River, but the shore dives that are shallower don’t offer you the 100′ visibility that we are accustomed to having out on Lake Ontario and surrounding deep diving sites.
The great visibility is available on dives usually deeper than 60′, so Open Water Divers need to step up their training and experienced at least Advanced Open Water, so that you can get on shipwrecks like the Tiller and really see what Canadian diving is about.
We wouldn’t be obsessed with diving if we only had 5-20′ of visibility, so trust us, step up your DDS training and lets do some real diving where you can enjoy the best hobby in the world here, there and everywhere.
Active divers who are out on a regular basis diving around here eclipse any down south diver with better trim, posture, buoyancy, awareness and comfort. Don’t just be a down south diver, it’s fun, but this is exceptional diving at its best!
Dive everywhere you can! Canada, USA and abroad. You’ll soon see why we dive every week locally and encourage you to join us for some excellent diving and dive training that is light years ahead of anyone.
Great Lakes Diving Deep Dive with Matt Mandziuk
Dufferin Wall in Tobermory is a favourite wall and wreck dive.
Niagara River Drift Diving Sites
Many different Drift Dive sites are located in the upper Niagara River, as well as the lower Niagara River.
We Regularly dive the following sites as part of our weekly Wednesday night dives and on weekends.
Be mindful of boat traffic and make sure you have a dive marker or flag with you always.
International Train Bridge to Frenchman’s Creek. Average depth 25′, this moderate drift starts off fast at the bridge for the first 7-10 minutes and once you settle into your diving groove you’ll settle into a nice pace where you can start looking around for lots of big fish, bottles and enjoy the relaxed pace of this drift.
Divers Enter at Niagara Parkway & 12-15 Jarvis St. (you’ll see a parking area on the river) and drift down the Niagara Parkway exiting at the Frenchman’s creek shipwrecks in a parking area with a brown shed 2.3 KM’s East downstream of the river ending at 1283 Niagara Parkway.
Frenchman’s Creek Drift
Enter in at the exit point of the above dive, drift downstream 2.6km.
This easy drift is one of the lesser dived spots, so there are more chances of bottles and big fish encounters.
The Barge at Black Creek
One of our favourite little wreck dive dives is the Barge at Black Creek. A 65′ 35′ barge in 20′ of water.
There are usually catfish and a ton of other fish around this wreck.
Visibility is usually good.
The most accurate way to get to the wreck is going in at the storm drain and facing into the current going across the current over the shallow weeds and dropping down, crawling out and not drifting.
The Barge isn’t really much of a drift, you enter an exit in the same place.
Access to the site is between 2505 and 2507 Niagara Parkway and Cairns Crescent, Fort Erie.
Netherby Road Drift Dive:
A cool old prehistoric reef, a ton of golf balls and a nice lazy current and a shallow 25′ max depth make this dive a favourite among our local divers.
Thompson’s Hole to International Train Bridge
An Advanced drift dive just east after the Peace Bridge in downtown Fort Erie. Enter at the hydro lines before South Sides Restaurant and drift down to International Train Bridge. Max Depth 70′.
Peace Bridge to Downtown Fort Erie Drift
Extreme current, dangerous construction debris, the Peace Bridge is a challenging and dangerous dive. Max Depth is only 11′ until you get through the bridge where you can hit depths of 20-30′.
Navy Hall Lower Niagara River
This intermediate to advanced dive can be dove 2 ways in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Option 1 you enter and exit in the same area. Option 2 you drift down into the mouth of Lake Ontario and get out at the Niagara-on-the-Lake gazebo.
Depths range from 20-40′, 45′-65′, or as an advanced/technical decompression drift at a max depth of 98′.
Navy Hall visibility can be good after periods of no rain or low wind, however, average visibility is 8-10′, 15-20′ is considered above average.
The fall and month of November are the best times to dive Navy Hall as the sturgeons come in to spawn during that time of year. Sturgeons are incredible prehistoric fish that are endangered and can grow to lengths of up to 7-12′.
Kings Bridge Park to Boat Launch Drift
Enter at Kings Bridge Park or at the Tim Horton’s by Kings Bridge and drift down to the Chippawa Creek public boat launch.
Max Depth 40′. Visibility 10-20′ average. Look for bikes, guns bottles.
Duration 35-45 mins.
Boat Launch to Stanley Ave. Drift
Boat Launch to Stanley is a longer drift usually around 60 minutes, so a high capacity single or a really good consumption rate are a must for this dive.
Average depth 40′. Visibility 10-20′ average. Look for bikes, construction pilons, bottles and golf balls towards the later 1/2 of the dive.
Stanley Ave. Drift
Enter under the Stanley Ave. Bridge and drift down past the animal hospital.
This easy drift features many cars along the way, port o toilets, golf balls, bikes, guns and other wonderful objects under the bridge itself.
A fun dive and tons of Catfish at night make it a stellar night dive.
This dive is also usually around 60 minutes.
Eastern Lake Erie: Port Colborne Area Shipwrecks
Shipwreck Diving in Lake Erie offers some of the best wreck diving in the lakes, as the Easter Basin wrecks off Port Colborne and Port Maitland are the home of dozens of local shipwreck dives offering more diversity than anything else in our area.
There are over 20 Quality Shipwrecks that we take our customers out diving to on a regular basis. There are wrecks ranging in 15-130′ of depth for divers of all skill levels.
Shipwreck Drawings courtesy of Douglas King Sr.
The wrecks are as good as anything you’ll dive in Kingston and better than Tobermory or Brockville, with the water maybe not being as clear and blue as Toby, or quite as warm as Brockville, but a lot more to choose from all the way up the coast.
A 235′ Steamer sitting on the bottom in 25-30′, located 2 KM’s off Sherkston Beach in Port Colborne, Ontario sank November 30th, 1911. The shipwreck Raleigh has a lot to look at, including a pair of boilers, anchor chain and windlass, propeller, engine room anchor, driveshaft and of course the scenic, yet broken remains of the ships hull.
The Raleigh is a great Open Water site with lots to see and do. There are also hundreds of fish found on the wreck. This has been a favourite site for even the most experienced diver and is a great DPV Dive for those certified to dive in the Fastlane.
The Shipwreck Tonawanda is a GREAT shipwreck for the newer diver, it has all the features that need to make a good fun wreck dive.
The Tonawanda was a 200′ long wooden steamer that faltered in a storm like so many of that era did, sinking 10//18/1870.
The Tonawanda lays in 45′ and still has one hogging arch for the eyes to see, a perfectly preserved view of the propeller, block and engine. The bow is heavily damaged, the stern is in good shape. A Great Open Water site and has been one of the most popular dive sites for us.
The shipwreck of the Finch is a 105′ long wooden tow barge built in Quebec City in 1871, the boat was undertow when it began to take on water in a heavy storm.
The Finch sank off Windmill Point around Ridgeway Ontario / Crystal Beach area, where it took permanent residence in 45′ of water. The wreck is broken up in spots, however, the ships capstan and stove, rudder are still there. The wreck features much wreckage and is a great dive site with lots of fish life and great for navigation.
The Shipwreck of the OW Cheney is that of an old wooden tug that sank in 1903. It rests in 47′ max depth. The debris field is scattered, although with good navigation skills you will be able to find the boilers and propeller. Open Water site.
Divers should be aware that this area features heavy boat traffic.
The Shipwreck of the C.B. Benson is a premium shipwreck that was found in 1997 6 miles south of Port Colborne.The Benson is a 136′ long 3 masted wooden Barquentine built for international trading between Canada and Europe. She sank 10/14/1893 laying upright on the bottom in excellent shape in a max depth of 78′.
Divers can see the ships wheel, lifeboat davits, dead-eyes, 2 masts broken at 1/2 mast, bow cabin area, cargo holds and more. A perfect site for the Advanced diver.
The shipwreck Brunswick is a beautiful 4 masted iron steamer, this is the famed ship that collided with the Carlingford on 11/12/1881. The wreck is located approximately 20.5 NM’s from Pt. Colborne just over the US/Canada border.
The bow and stern are fairly intact, however, midship is silty in spots, the ship features the engine, boiler, capstan, windless and both bow anchors, the impact hole on the starboard side is also visible. Depth ranges from 85-110′ and is an advanced dive site.
The Carlingford shipwreck is one of the favourite of the Erie Wrecks and perhaps the premier schooner in recreational limits in the Lake Erie.
The Carlingford is one of the Largest Schooners at over 154’in length. The wreck is located 16.5NM’s from Pt. Colborne laying in 95′ and was hit on the port side bow by the steamship Brunswick.
The ship sank with the only damage being the impact point. Today, the wreck lays upright on the bottom and offers a great opportunity for divers to explore the wreck from bow to stern, with the stern deck fallen, the certified, experienced and equipped diver can traverse through the interior of the wreck with many exit points from stern to bow.
This ship is an Advanced site and penetrations should only be performed by divers with training and equipment consistant with overhead environment diving.
Divers who wish to swim externally around the wreck will be impressed and want to return again and again to this marvellous ship.
The Niagara Steamship
The Shipwreck of the Niagara is a wooden steamship located 18.5 NM’s from Port Colborne, this 200′ long wooden propeller driven steamship lays in 90′ of water with the stern broken inward on the port side and starboard side broken outward. The ship’s sinking claimed the lives of all 16 crew as it was carrying wood and shingles. This is a great intermediate to advanced Dive site.
George C. Finney
The Shipwreck George C. Finney is a 136′ long 3 masted wooden schooner offers a great dive feauring the windlass, winch, cargo holds and ships wheel, bilge pump and anchor.
The Finney faltered in one of the Largest Gale Storms in Lake Erie History, as a wave crashed over the ship drowning the ship and it’s entire crew. This Advanced dive site rests in 100′ max depth.
The Stone Wreck
The Stone Wreck is another premium wreck located 12.5NM’s out of Port Colborne, the Stone Wreck is a 104′ long 2 masted schooner that rests in 90′ of water.
This shipwreck was once thought to be the J.G. McGrath due to the stone cargo that fills her cargo holds.
This is an Advanced Site that reminds many of the guests of Lake Ontario’s Tiller Wreck, as the 2 are similar. The wreck features a beautiful windlass, bowsprit, anchor chains, cargo holds, rudder, dead-eyes and more.
The Acme (Propeller)
The Acme Propeller Shipwreck is in 130′ of water, 20NM’s out of Port Colborne right on the Canadian/US border. This ship is a Hogging Arch Steamer that was propeller driven.
The Acme shipwreck is deep and big at 190′ long, so air conservation, redundant equipment and proper breathing gas selection is very important.
Key points include the ship’s steam engine, windlass and many other items.
The ship is covered with silt so proper fin technique and buoyancy is extremely important.
There are often dozens of Burbot fish on the wreck, sometimes resembling the snake scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark!
Dupuis No. 10 Shipwreck
The Shipwreck of the Dupuis No.10 is a steel work barge built in Michigan by the Nicholson Terminal & Dock Company, sank in a storm in 1977 3.5NM’s SW of Port Colborne.
The wreck 143′ long and is not moored, but rests in a max depth of 65′. The wreck offers a great training site for peak performance buoyancy, wreck diving and more. There are some tight passages to shine a light into, certified wreck divers can attempt some simple penetration, however, the wreck has a lot of silt inside and there isn’t much to see.
This is an intermediate-advanced dive site. Divers should be able to descend without a reference and ascent without one, or use an SMB and reel.
We offer local Lake Erie Charters on a Regular Basis in Canada and the US.
Tiller Wreck: Lake Ontario
An unknown 2 masted wooden schooner sitting on a 45 degree angle on the starboard side 6 km’s off Port Dalhousie in 113ffw. This wreck is perfect for Advanced Level Divers and is an Ideal Nitrox Dive for more bottom time. The wreck was named by Len Rooney on our 1st trip out because it used a tiller which moved the rudder back and forth instead of a stearing wheel. Visibility is usually60 feet or better with average temperature of 40 degrees at depth. A Drysuit is Highly recommended to make this a more enjoyable dive. The Wreck is largely in tact with the cargo holds to peer into with a light, 1/2 of the bowsprit remains as well as the masts which are collapsed and sitting on the bottom horizontally out from the wreck.
Check out this great video of the Tiller Wreck shot a couple of years ago:
Humber Bay Park West: a popular shore dive for divers year round. This nice spot offers a gorgeous view of the city and a shallow escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday Toronto life.
Visibility ranges from 5′-120′ visibility both in summer and winter. There are lines run to various underwater attractions including large concrete storm drain pipes that you can swim through.
Divers swim and scooter this popular spot.
Very popular winter time dive spot as Humber generally doesn’t freeze.
The Sligo: Just a short boat ride out of Humber Bay Park you have the Sligo a nice 1860’s era 3 masted schooner 138′ long built in St. Catharines, Ontario that sank while under tow in 1918 from gale force winds.
The wreck is fairly together and lies in a maximum depth of 70′ of clear cool Lake Ontario water. Visibility is often 50′ or better and bottom temperatures are in the low to mid 40’s F.
Lyman E. Davis: A great wreck and a slightly longer “hort boat ride” out of Humber Bay Park takes you to the Lyman Davis an advanced/technical dive site in 135′ of water.
Visibility is usually excellent although dark. The wreck was a 2 masted wooden schooner that was scuttled and burned as a public exhibition typical of those days. Apparently there are many more shipwrecks around this area, but more effort to locate them is needed. The Davis was built in 1873 and sank in 1934.
The Birmingham Crane & Construction site is located 2 nautical miles from Shipyard Park in downtown Oakville.
This technical diving site offers divers a site with routinely exceptional visiblity and a great training site for entry level technical diving students to see some structure, an old construction trailer, boat, Birmingham Construction crane, rolls of material, debris and much more.
There is usually a surface current running on this weck and it’s not always moored. Max Depth 140′.
SA Queen: The Oakville Barge, SA Queen is an intentionally sunk work barge that is a perfect training site for advanced courses, shipwreck penetration courses and more. The wreck rests in 60′ of typically clear, cool Lake Ontario water.
The barge has 2 other shipwrecks lined just off the wreck and the interior of this wreck is able to be penetrated for certified and qualified wreck penetration divers with proper skills and equipment to do so.
We use Captain Rick Lymer of River Diver, or Aquaholic Charters for the greater Toronto area sites.
Located on the coast of Lake Erie on the outskirts of Port Colborne is Sherkston Shores, a summer time resort featuring attractions including summer homes, camping, golfing, water park, mini-golf, paintball, a summer time community with stores, restaurants and of course a great dive site!
Sherkston quarry became a dive site in 1917 when the water pumps quit working one night after the workers went home. The next morning the workers showed up at work and knew they were out of a job.
Sherkston is a great place to dive when conditions are right. The best diving is often times around October 30-July 1st.
There is quite a bit to see including lots of fish, walls, train engines, rocks, a pump house, training platforms for students, a haunted tree, golf carts, boats and a great community atmosphere.
Maximum depth 40ft. Visibility ranges from 0-65 feet.
The diving conditions are the worst during the peak summer months from July-mid October due to high seaweed and black algae which chokes out all the visibility.
Once the Black algae arrives it’s a navigation and visibility challenged dive.
Sherkston remains the home of many of our store sponsored events due to the size of the divers area both above and below the surface.
Admission is only $10.00/diver, a waiver and proof of certification are needed so bring your C-card and divers logbook. Camping in tents, rustic cabins, or trailers is also an option for divers who are coming to dive for the weekend. You can rent a trailer from us!
Our trailer is available by the weekend or by the week.
Dan’s is the closest air fill station from Sherkston.
Located in the town of Ridgeway, Ontario, Windmill is a great training site for dive classes of all levels.
Windmill is spring fed quarry which is restocked with new fish each and every year.
It’s a friendly place to dive and a great place to camp either with a tent or trailer.
The site offers open water dive students the abililty to stay off the bottom by working out “skill issues” on one of the several underwater dive platforms rather than ruining the visibility for other diving guests in the area.
Windmill is also a great place to complete a Night Diver Specialty as it’s shallow depths, beautiful walls and the platforms and other objects in the quarry make for a very interesting experience at night.
Points of interest include the wall around the quarry, a motor boat, sailboat with a fake skeleton, a pickup truck cab, toilet, bath tub, a drop-off that takes divers to a maximum depth of about 33′ and of course the training platforms.
We use Windmill Point Park for a lot of our dive courses as it’s a nice shallow spot to work with open water students, advanced students and even technical, cavern, cave, wreck and intro to tech students thanks to the many great tie-off points for line work.
Welland Scuba Park offers some fabulous shore dives for the beginner diver and diver who wants to work on skills in a shallow, and controlled environment.
The Old Welland Canal has been a free alternative for divers wishing to get a quick, easy, shallow dive in with nothing really to see….Until now. The great thing about the Old Canal now is the addition of a training platform created by our very own Divemaster Norm Pelletier, as well as lines run throughout the platform area over to the cars, as laid by Divemaster Jean Pelletier, as well as DDS divers from a few years ago, Joe, John and Serge.
On May 23rd, 2009 the city of Welland in co-operation with our local diving community sank a small steel boat in the canal as well.
Our favourite spot in the Canal has been the Welland Swing Bridge. Plenty of dock pillars and fish, as well as generally better visibility.
A great night diving spot too.
Visibility is usually 25-35′, water temperature is the same top to bottom most of the year, there is plenty of fish life and there will be much more happening at the canal over the next little while, so keep checking our site for more details.
The Old Canal has 3 main spots divers dive.
1) The main Scuba Park area: Here you have the platform, the boat and a giant “U-Boat” (a propane cylinder with a propeller and a conning tower added to it)
2) Swing Bridge. Just off Fourth St. (off King St.) you can access the Welland Swing Bridge. This spot is one of the nicer spots for things to see featuring a number of dock pilings to practice swimming through, three sections of docks, shopping carts, bikes, and whatever else people throw off a bridge is usually here.
Visibility is usually the best here as there aren’t platforms or a boat for non-DDS divers to kneel on, requiring better buoyancy control.
3) Lincoln St. Bridge. There is a line from the platform at the Scuba Park that takes you up to the Lincoln St. Bridge. Here you have a very cool bridge with big pilings to swim through and the normal junk that people tend to toss into the water.
4) Bring a scooter and scooter the entire park to swing bridge, or all the way from the park to downtown East Main St. Bridge and back.
We offer the best DPV programs around and our graduates or certified DPV divers can rent one of our Halcyon or SUEX dive vehicles until you’re ready to buy your very own. We have several models in rental to choose from from Xjoy 7, 14/T16, 37 and XK1/EXP.
Fathom Five National Marine Park: Tobermory, Ontario
Fathom Five is Canada’s first national marine park. The park protects 20 islands at the mouth of Georgian Bay, and a main ecosystem that extends from the surface water down 200 meters.
Twenty-two shipwrecks are found in the park’s waters. If you don’t dive or snorkel, you can see shipwrecks from glass-bottom boats or visit Flowerpot Island where you can camp, see the island’s namesake rock columns, visit a lighthouse and explore a cave.
On the mainland you can explore the wonders of Bruce Peninsula National Park. Join us on a trip to Canada’s Dive Capital.
Tobermory is truly one of the most picturesque and beautiful areas you can dive, with water as clear and as blue as you’d see down south, but with prettier rocks and walls and slightly colder water temps, beautiful shipwrecks and a great Northern feel.
Our Tobermory trips are legendary and a better deal for you to participate in our trips in most cases then to go there on your own, as we add the most value packed trip cost and itinerary into a trip you can’t do for less of a cost yourself with the same lodging and number of boat dives (plus we feed you really well too!).
We deal with: Tobermory Aquasports,G&S Watersports and Divers Den
Canada’s Caribbean as it’s been called unanimously, Brockville is located on the St. Lawrence Seaway which runs from the Northeast corner of Lake Ontario just east of Kingston through the Thousand Islands region and ending at the Saint Lawrence River joining the lakes to the Atlantic Ocean eventually.
Brockville and its surrounding areas of Gananoque, Rockport, Ivy Lea, etc., are the home to the warmest water Canadian Diving has to offer. The temperatures in the summer time months range from 68-75 degrees top and bottom.
The shipwrecks are bigger and better than most places, as well as in better shape with a lot of larger canal freighters and lakers making for more interesting dives for advanced divers to swim around and certified and experienced wreck penetration divers challenging themselves with some good wreck penetrations. Visibility averages 50-60 feet most of the year and 60-100 towards the fall season.
Currents keep the water circulating making the sites more challenging for divers who have little or no experience in diving with a strong current.
Try some basic drift dives if you can before diving brockville, or opt for some of the easier more open water friendly sites (avoid the Daryaw until you’re more comfortable)
The presence of a thermocline non existent usually in the river, so generally speaking the surface and bottom temperatures are within a couple of degrees of each other.
Shore Diving Sites:
Centeen Park, downtown Brockville.
Canada’s First Underwater Sculpture Park was formed as scuba divers set the first five statues in place on Friday July 11th, 2014. Created by Dave Sheridan’s Thousand Islands Secondary School students, the Sculpture Park is a new diving attraction in the city of Brockville. The park serves as a memorial for all the divers and sailors lost in or on the river.
The Shipwreck Rothesay. One of our choices for advanced training, the wreck is located on the outskirts of Brockville heading east from downtown on Highway #2. Look for a parking and picnic area with a staircase to the river’s edge leads you to a shore entry to follow the rope system to the site.
193 ft. x28.8 ft. x 7.9 ft. twin side-wheeler was relocated to service the Montreal to Prescott run where she met her fate September, 2 1889 when she collided with the American tug “Myra”.
In 1901 a group from the Royal Military College, Kingston used this wreck for explosives practice which flattened her mid ship section, leaving the stern/bow sections still fairly intact.
There is a rope from shore that is tied off near the paddlewheels.
Current is often minimal and there are weeds in the shallows.
Depth is 25-35′.
For information on dive charters and air/nitrox fills, check Helen’s site Dive Brockville or our friend Wayne Green at Thousand Island Pleasure Diving for charters and lodging.
Picton Area – Lake Ontario
Located just outside of the town of Picton or Waupoos are some of the best shipwreck dives in the Great Lakes.
Visibility and temperatures is pretty constant throughout all of Lake Ontario. The diving is also very similar as far as visibility and shipwreck variety.
Diving in Duck’s allows the diver to have access to the wrecks not normally visited from the Kingston charter operators, as well, it also gives divers the opportunity to dive the Kingston Wrecks while enjoying the benefits of staying in a small, quiet, off the radar sort of an area.
You’ll need your own boat and extra tanks, but there are camping and bed and breakfast options in this area.
Manola a steel hulled steamship that sank 1918 while undertow. This fantastic shipwreck lays upside-down in 45-75′ of water with penetration opportunities for certified wreck divers.
There is a lot to see in and around the wreck and visibility is often phenomenal.
Ocean Wave was a Canadian Schooner. It is a technical dive site in 150′. The wreck faltered in a massive storm in 1890 enroute to Oswego, NY.
Atlasco Wooden propeller, 218′x33′x13′. Built in 1881 as a package freighter, she was later converted to a bulk freight barge. On August 17, 1921, she sank in about 43′ of water off the south shore of Pt. Traverse in a gale while downbound with a cargo of wire cable. All hands escaped safely in a lifeboat. View a ship’s wheel, rudder, winch, 4 anchors, coils of wire cable etc.
Fabiola 2-masted schooner, 95′ x 22′ x 9′, registered tonnage 131. Built in 1852, she sank on October 23, 1900 when Captain Danny Bates lost her, south of the False Duck Islands on his way home from Oswego with a cargo of coal. No lives were lost. The hull sits upright in 55′ of water, mostly intact, with a section of the stern collapsed. View winch, pump, windlass etc.
Florence Steam tug, 102′ x 19′ x 13′. She sank on November 14, 1933 in some 80′ of water off Timber Island with no loss of life. She presently lies in 40-50′ of water on a rock bottom with her hull torn apart, as attempts had been made by her owners to drag her ashore to salvage her engines. One can view rock formations and often observe fish which have made this wreck their home.
Annie Falconer 2-masted schooner, 110′ x 24′ x 9′, 253 tons. Built in Kingston, Ontario in 1867, sank November 12, 1904 between False Duck and Timber Islands by foundering with a cargo of coal. She is sitting upright in 80′ of water on a mud bottom. The wreck is well preserved. The stern is broken off and lies within visible range at an angle to the main hull. Much of her equipment remains on board – deadeyes, anchors, ship’s wheel, blocks, chain etc.
Olive Branch She sank on the night of September 30, 1880 near False Duck Island, on one of the Pennicons in 100′ of water, taking the lives of the captain and crew. She is sitting upright at the base of a shoal. This wreck is intact, much of her equipment remains on board – deadeyes, steering wheel, anchors, blocks.
City of Sheboygan 3 masted schooner 135′ x 27′ x 10′. Built in 1871, she sank on September 25, 1915 by foundering in a violent storm with a cargo of coal; the crew of 5 perished. She sits upright in 95′ of water on a hard bottom near Amherst Island. Masts, rigging, blocks, deadeyes, etc. adorn this beautiful, well preserved wreck.
Katie Eccles sank 1922, off Timber Island
Mystery Schooner 1: A trimix wreck dive off the Duck Islands in 170-180′, this pristine shipwreck has both masts soaring 80′ high above the ship, a beautiful anchor and chain, wheelhouse and cargo holds fully preserved. Check out the video from our friend Doug back in 2004.
Home to some of the most pristine, beautiful and intact shipwrecks in the World, Kingston, Ontario offers great wrecks both wooden and metal.
Home to over 20 popular wrecks, this area has become one of our favourite places to dive.
Visibility ranges from 30-100 feet with temperatures typical of Lake Ontario diving, with bottom temps being 39-41 degrees Fahrenheit.
The George A. Marsh one of the prettiest schooners around, the Marsh is reminiscent of the famed Tobermory shipwreck Arabia, but warmer, shallower and more intact.
The George A. Marsh rests in 85′ of clear Lake Ontario water and sank enroute to the US side of the lake to deliver coal to a hospital that was in need of it in 1917.
The George T. Davie is a steel barge that sank in 1945 off Simcoe Island, near Kingston, carrying coal enroute from Oswego, NY to Kingston.
She capsized and sank on her starboard side down in 95′.
The Wolfe Islander was a working ferry used to transport people between Kingston, Wolfe Island and Garden Island from 1945-1970.
In the 1980’s divers showed interest in sinking the wreck and cleaned and prepped it for sinking.
On September 21st, 1985, the Wolf set out on her final voyage under tow.
The Wolfe was retired in a max depth of 80′ with divers hitting the stern section in 45′ and the bow of the ship in 60′.
It’s a great dive for intermediate to advanced divers.
The Munsun is a dredge that started to take on water in 1890 on its way back to Collins Bay.
Many of the artifacts still remain on this ship, please leave them where they lay.
Max depth is 112′.
The Comet is one of the most popular shipwrecks in Kingston. The steam driven 175′ paddle wheeler that remains largely intact in about 75′.
Olive Branch She sank on the night of September 30, 1880 near False Duck Island, on one of the Pennicons in 100′ of water, taking the lives of the captain and crew. She is sitting upright at the base of a shoal. This wreck is intact, much of her equipment remains on board – deadeyes, steering wheel, anchors, blocks.
Maximum depth 95′.
City of Sheboygan 3 masted schooner 135′ x 27′ x 10′. Built in 1871. She sank on September 25, 1915 by foundering in a violent storm with a cargo of coal; the crew of 5 perished. She sits upright in 95′ of water on a hard bottom near Amherst Island. Masts, rigging, blocks, deadeyes, etc. adorn this beautiful, well preserved wreck.
Maximum depth 105′.
Katie Eccles sank 1922, off Timber Island. This beautiful 95′ long x 24′ wide 2 masted wooden schooner has one of the most photographed bows in Lake Ontario, with the anchor chains streaming down cascading off the wreck to the lake bottom.
The ships bow rigging can be found on the bow, the mast rigging midship.
She sank in 1922 in a maximum depth of 100′
Kingston Trimix Wrecks: There are 3 steel steamers laying in 240-260′ off the cement plant between Kingston and Picton. Visibility is usually 100′ or better, but dark as there is no ambient light.
The Funnel: A cool dive site Captain Pat’s Dive Charters take our groups out to. This neat dive site is basically a random pit in the middle of the lake with a max depth of 150′, it’s a great scooter dive and a fun mid range technical dive.
A great dive site covering a 1.5-kilometre sheer rock face rising 100 metres above Mazinaw Lake and over 140 meters below the tea coloured water making it one of the deepest lakes in Ontario, and features over 260 native pictographs – the largest visible collection in Canada.
A great place to dive with a good canister light and redundant scuba equipment and the training to use it. For experienced advanced and technical divers only, the Narrows start at 130-140′ and drop off fast, so if you’re not a technical diver swim to the wall an stay on it. Open Water drops to 473′.
This site is an awesome place to scooter and great place to work mid-extreme technical diving, as well as advanced diving if you stay on the wall above 130′.
16151 Highway 41, Cloyne, ON, Canada
GPS Coordinates: Latitude: 44.89720 Longitude: -77.20950
The Park is open Second week in May to second week of October usually.
A beautiful shore dive in the clear waters of Georgian Bay on the outskirts of Owen Sound and Wiarton.
This great site offers parking, a sheltered area with picnic tables to gear up and of course have lunch or dinner. There are garbage cans and eco-
friendly toilets here.
The dive features a rocky beach area about 50 meters from the parking area, with large rocks to put your fins on by the water, or in the shallows, with many items divers have donated over the years occupying this featureless bottom and slow dropping wall, ideal for all levels of training from open water diver, to advanced, to diver propulsion vehicle or technical diver.
You can use this site for any level of training, which makes it so perfect.
Visibility is usually 50′ or better and it’s free to dive here!
Water temperature is warmer generally than Tobermory.
Lat 44.806348 Lon. -81.005261
Captain Jitka and her ship the Molly V caters to the Recreational Advanced and Technical Diver offering a lot of Mixed Gas Trimix Charters and Exploration opportunities in Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. Black Dog Dive Charters with Captain Brian is another phenomenal option for diving those areas as well. We use both of these operators when we can for dive trips to the Straits of Mackinac to dive the Cedarville and the many great wrecks that this part of the world has to offer. We also dive around Port Austin, Grindstone, Presque Isle, Alpena and more.
For Lake Superior Diving You won’t find a more knowledgeable diver and historian than Captain Richard. He has By the Bay Adventures and runs charters to the Whaleback, the Guild, Judge Hart and more.
North Channel Lake Huron offers some of the best least known dives in the Great Lakes.
The Northwind & other North Channel Lake Huron Shipwrecks
The Northwind was built in Cleavland, Ohio by the Globe Iron Works Co., in 1888. The wreck was built 299′ long with a beam of 41′ and a draught of 21.5′. The Northwind was used in the lakes until 1917 when it was cut and taken to the Atlantic where it saw 6 years of saltwater service before returning home to the great lakes.
On July 1st 1926 the Northwind passed through Little Current, Ontario and hit Robertsons Rock just North of Clapperton Island in the North Channel of Lake Huron where it slid to it’s permanent resting place in 120ffw.
Today the Northwind is sitting completely upright and very intact in a maximum depth of 140ffw inside the wreck. The Northwind is an advanced dive offering great diving for recreational divers, wreck divers and technical divers. The bow is diveable at a depth of 75ffw where the diver can view the windlass, bow railings, anchor chains which descend into the chain locker. Divers can view the ships name on each side of the bow as it it still clearly readable. The ships wheel house was blown off when she sank but there are many cargo holds and swim throughs around the bow.
As the diver makes his way mid ship towards the stern they will view the ships spare 4 bladed prop on the deck. The ship’s Smoke Stack lays collapsed pointing off the starboard side stern allowing a great swim through as well. Diver’s can explore the coal bunker, engine room and crews quarters which are all located on the stern. Divers exploring the wreck can see the port holes in place, light bulbs still in tact, pots and pans in the galley, walk in freezer and many other wonderful highlights. If a diver swims off the wreck @120ft the diver will have the feeling of diving on the Moon as the whole area is covered in a very thick clay which has holes and gives the diver a unique experience.
The water is dark, cold and often has sediment in the water. Visibility ranges from 20-60′ depending on the time of year. June/July boasts the best visibility often over 100′.
Inside the wreck visibility is even better. Despite the challenging conditions the Northwind remains a favourite dive among divers from this area as the Zebra Muscles are not yet suffocating the wreck. Divers can actually see the wreck for what it was, a great ship with a lot of wonderful features.
Penetration should only be performed by a qualified and certified wreck penetration diver or overhead environment diver. For a list of upcoming Wreck Penetration, Overhead or Cavern Courses please target our courses page.
We routinely dive this wreck around Labour Day weekend and any other chance we get throughout the dive season. Please check the trips section for dates and details.
Enjoy our Northwind Videos in the video sections as well, they’re awesome!
Other Little Current Shipwrecks
It’s estimated that over 600 shipwrecks are located around the Manitoulan Islands area.
Edward Buckley a fabulous shipwreck resting in 110′ of water near
Little Current, Ontario.
The Edward Buckley was built in 1891 at Manitowoc, Wisconsin the 162′ Buckley was destroyed by fire as it approached Little Current on September 1, 1929
Most notable features include tools still on the hooks on the bow, some rigging, including the stern mast, as well as a beautiful stern section, a massive boiler and huge rudder.
Emma E Thompson
On the night of May 28, 1914 the Emma Thompson dropped anchor behind Innes Island to ride out a storm. During the Night the ship caught fire and burned to the waterline sinking in 35′ of water.
The Emma Thompson is a fun wreck, with the bow section being largely intact and the anchor chain still present on the wreck, as is a large boiler in the aft section of the stern.
Divers have taken a large wrench and the stern plaque from this awesome wreck. Please do not pillage artifacts from fresh water shipwrecks. Take only pictures, leave only bubbles and kill only time.
A shallow but very enjoyable wreck, the India rests in 15-20′ of water. The shell of the wreck is still largely intact.
The last of the lumber hookers, the India sank on September 4th, 1928, a 220′ long lumber carrying ship that was set on fire (possible insurance job)
Visibility is usually 60′
The shipwreck is very inviting with the bow split open and still holds much of the original rigging, pipes, cables, tools, and the boilers which split from the explosion. The ships prop is about 10-15′ off the stern.
No hands were lost.
One of the most beautiful, colourful and refreshing dive destinations in the world.
Full of lavish walls, ancient sponge bioherms, diverse marine life, canyons, reefs, sea lions, wrecks, shore dives, boat dives,the entire coast has been one of the worlds top dive destinations for decades.
Dive our country and see more beauty than you ever thought possible.
Join us for this and many other amazing trips.
One of the most spectacular places to visit is Newfoundland. The rich history, the amazing people and the great shipwrecks and scallops will have you coming back again and again, year after year.
Bell Island Shipwrecks are some of the biggest and best shipwrecks and they are in far better shape than many WWII shipwreck destinations.
Did you know that Germany dispatched 2 U-Boats to Newfoundland because Bell Island was supplying the allied forces with the purest Iron Ore around?
They sank 4 ships off Bell Island and the wrecks are fantastic.
Visibility is fantastic, there’s no current, the temperatures are similar to Tobermory and the mine in Bell Island is also a great dive site!
Our friends at Ocean Quest have great boats, a wonderful dive shop and a fantastic dive resort, for a great all in one package. You just need to pickup some groceries or have a few nights out at the local restaurants and you have one of the best dive trips ever.
There are even some great sightseeing opportunities wandering around the area, cod fishing, scallop diving and sea kayaking, paddle boarding, touring the Bell Island itself, Humpback Whale Snorkelling and so much more, makes Newfoundland one of the most special places you’ll ever visit.
The Empress of Ireland was one of the greatest Marine Disasters and was virtually unknown as it occurred on the brink of the First World War. It had a higher death tole than the famed Titanic which sank 2 years earlier and received all the media coverage.
This lavish ship was made for the Canadian Pacific Railway Co. in 1906 by the Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Co. of Glasgow and was one of the Largest Passenger Steamships operating at that time.
The Empress was a luxury passenger ship that offered 570 feet of elegance and first class luxuries. Teak decking, gold trimmed plates, first class dining, 1st class music room where a 5 piece stringed orchestra would perform and spacious sleeping quarters, the Empress was a beautiful ship.
On May 29th the Empress left Quebec with 1477 people aboard and traveled down the St. Lawrence Seaway where it was caught in a heavy fog. While approaching the mouth of the river in the evening a spotter on lookout spotted a ship rapidly approaching the Empress on the starboard side……..The Storstad.
The Storstad had taken action to pass the Empress port to port but instead ran the ship directly across the path of the Empress and Collided with the Empress on the starboard side bow area. The Engine Room flooded within minutes with the brackish seawater which shorted out the ships engines, water tight doors and the electricity. The Empress was only able to get one S.O.S message out before they lost power.
The Empress sank in 14 minutes as it listed to the starboard side which was taking in water from the blow, as well as the large number of port holes that were open on this surprisingly stuffy day. The Empress crashed onto it’s starboard side throwing hundreds of clinging passengers to their death below the icy waters of the St. Lawrence.
The Empress only managed to deploy 5 of 40 of it’s lifeboats and rescue attempts were futile, as 1012 people perished in this gruesome tragedy.
Today the Empress sits in it’s permanent home in the St. Lawrence 2 miles off shore of the small town of St. Luce, Quebec in a depth ranging from 80fsw-140fsw.
Though a relatively shallow dive, the Empress is one of the most challenging dives in the world due to it’s unpredictible and ever changing currents which range from none existent to fast and furious. Low visibility, darkness, frigid cold water and navigational hazards both inside and outside of the wreck are just some of the modifiers a diver has to deal with. The Empress is a more challenging dive than the famed Andrea Doria which lays 100fsw deeper in warmer, clearer water and doesn’t always resemble a ship in certain parts due to the corrosion of the metal, silt and vegetation.
The Empress has claimed the lives of many divers who have not had the experience, skill or training to safely dive this site. Many divers have barely survived accidents on the wreck (getting lost inside, blown off from the current, panic attacks, decompression injuries, air embolisms and much more). The Empress is not for the new or beginner diver, but rather, for the most experienced wreck and technical diver.
Dan’s Dive Shop/Divers Edge offers an annual Empress Expedition where we take an elite group of our top divers up to Quebec for a fantastic diving experience they will never forget.
To the right, you can view an illustration that will show you how the Empress looks today. To properly gain a feel the visibility you may wish to place your hand over the wreck and move it to the left unveiling the wreck one bit at a time.
The Empress offers some of the most challenging and rewarding wreck penetrations (not to be attempted without proper training, experience and equipment). The ships name is still visible on the bow and even for the diver who just wishes to swim around the wreck or touch it it will remain in your heart forever.
Join us on our Annual Empress of Ireland Expedition this summer. Email the store for further details email us.
Divers must possess proper equipment, experience and certifications in wreck and technical diving.
Divers will be required to make a pre-qualification dive under Matt Mandziuk’s Direct Supervision prior to this trip.
Please check out our Technical Diving Training Schedule on our Technical Courses page for course particulars.
To dive the Empress divers need to be certified Technical Decompression Divers and Technical Wreck Penetration divers for those venturing inside this challenging wreck.
To learn more about this amazing wreck you can now purchase the latest book from historian and author Ian Kinder “A Tale of Two Sisters, the History of the Atlantic Empresses” now available from Dan’s Dive Shop, Inc. Check the online store and order yours today.
RMS Empress of Ireland Sank May 29th, 1914 sinking in 14 Minutes! The Largest Canadian Maritime Disaster at Sea.
An Artists Rendition of what the Empress of Ireland looks like today underwater.
Join us for an Expedition Style Trip to Explore the shipwreck of the Empress of Ireland.