Oahu Wreck Diving
Nothing in Hawaii compares to diving the wrecks of Oahu. With over 10 accessible wrecks around the island you have several choices and a lot to explore. The wrecks act as magnets and homes for sea life and are usually the best dive sites for spotting Hawaiian Stingrays, Eagle rays, White tip Reef Sharks and pelagic fish.
We offer daily guided charter trips to the wrecks and our staff are very knowledgeable and will give you a thorough briefing about the wreck before the dive. If you are interested in penetrating the wrecks and have the right education it can be arranged, just let us know well in advance so that we can assign our wreck diver instructors to you.
If you want to learn more about Island Divers Wreck Diving or any of our daily certified dive charters. Reserve your dive boat spot now!
Dive Oahu and Get Your Wreck Diving Specialty At The Same Time
This course will teach you how to safely plan and execute a wreck dive including limited penetration. The theory section will cover everything from researching wrecks to hazards of wreck diving, and four dives will have you practicing everything from reel to fin techniques.
Island Divers Hawaii is fortunate to have some of Hawaii’s most active and experienced wreck diving instructors so you’ll be in good hands. This is the ultimate scuba diving adventure in Hawaii. Oahu has many beautiful wrecks to explore, both inside and out. Learn how to do it safely with Island Divers Hawaii!
- The planning, organization, procedures, techniques, problems and hazards of wreck diving
- The preparation and use of lights, air supplies, special equipment, penetration lines and reels
- Limited-visibility diving techniques and emergency procedures.
To Penetrate or Not
The choice is yours! For those interested in wreck penetration we will focus a lot on line handling skills, trim and fin techniques. For wreck penetration your buoyancy skills need to already be good, however. If you don’t think your buoyancy skills are up to par we recommend our extensive Peak Performance Buoyancy course before the Wreck Diver Specialty. If you are not keen on penetrating we will instead focus on mapping skills.
The course requires 4 dives over two days and one day for knowledge development. Extra dives are recommended especially if interested in penetration diving.
Maximum Depth is 100’/30m
Student to instructor ratio is not to exceed 2:1 during penetration.
Wreck-Pak, which includes manual, video and log insert
PADI Advanced Open Water certification (or qualifying certification from another organization)
Minimum age of 15 years old
Join the adventure and sign up for the wreck diver specialty today! Price is $595 and includes three days of diving!
The Corsair Airplane Wreck
Probably the most famous of Oahu’s wrecks. It is small but definitely worth a visit since it is remarkably intact and good airplane wrecks are rare! It has been down there since 1946 when the pilot ditched it after engine problems during an exercise.
The propeller stands tall, although a bit bent, and makes for a good photo subject. It is possible to have a sit in the cockpit but sometimes it is well guarded by a huge moray so make sure you check. Some of the instruments and glass are still there.
It is a deep dive with a maximum depth of 107′ and with air that makes the bottom time about 15 minutes. Don’t worry though, that is plenty of time to explore the wreck. Don’t forget to look out over the sand, however, because the wreck is surrounded by hundreds of garden eels halfway out of the sand. Two large frogfish call this wreck home, one is always found on the tail wing while the other is sometimes found on the sand nearby. A large octopus is often found in the wing as well.
This Landing Crafty Utility wreck (as in military troop beach landings) lies upside down in 85′ of water on a sandy bottom with a huge field of artificial reef Z-blocks surrounding the wreck. After dipping under the side of the wreck and checking our the shaded interior for resting white tips, you can also check the “bottom” of the boat where you will often find fish swimming upside down. The diving tour around the outside of the wreck on the artificial reef will complete your bottom time. Lots of marine life to be found amongst the large concrete blocks. There is a short penetration possible in the wheel house, but it is very tight. If you are wreck specialty certified, have gloves, reel, 2 lights and certified buddy, you can go for it, but simply peering into the entrance and shining your light around should be sufficient.
Whitetip reef sharks often rest underneath the bow section. Hairy hermit crabs have been seen here too. South of the bow there are several pipes and in the larger of them is a good spot to observe the whip-coral goby on its host. The wreck also has some of the now rare black corals that is used to make jewelry.
Similar to the Baby Barge but bigger and it offers a nice swim-through the length of the entire wreck. A home to some monstrous turtles. Turtles keep growing as they get older and live up to 100 years. The ones that make this wreck a home must be close to that.
Off to the north about 50′ away on top of a gentle slope up to about 70′ is a huge concentrated pile of Z-blocks. This large pile of blocks holds huge schools of fish over it and makes the site a favorite of local fisherman and the occasional talented spear fishing free diver. Fun spot to tour after you’ve checked out the wreck as it is a little shallower and increases the amount of time you can spend on the site.
Maximum depth is about 100′ but can be done shallower if you stay off the bottom, the Z blocks can be toured at 60′. This wreck can be connected in a drift dive to the Baby Barge if the conditions are right.
The reef surrounding this wreck is great! The Baby Barge has been steadily deteriorating since we started diving it in 2001 and the penetrations that we used to do are no longer possible. However, the cavern on the deep side of the wreck is still there and it is not unusual to find one or two white tip reef sharks sleeping in it. Turtles are usually everywhere and seeing 5 or more is not uncommon.
A side trip from this wreck is the “shark” cave. About 100ft to the east down a 10′ ledge, this 15′ overhanging ledge does often shelter white tips, though it is more common to find a green see turtle there. The easy kick over and back though shows off some of the really nice reef in the area, so when currents allow the divemaster often chooses to take a trip there.
The wreck lies in about 65′ but if you want to check out the cavern the maximum depth will be 85′. It is a good dive site for finding frog ish, Hawaiian lionfish, eels, and several species of nudibranchs.
Just a stone’s throw away from the YO-257, the San Pedro is a more recent addition of attractions for Atlantis customers, and of course us divers. It is rarely done as the main wreck but as an extra feature on a dive to the YO-257. It used to offer a nice swim through but the bridge collapsed during a storm. It’s still a nice wreck and offers some good photo opportunities.
Definitely one of our favorite wrecks! It is big, has several swim-thoughs and penetration possibilities, and eagle rays are often found circling the wreck. Sunk in 1996 by a submarine company, the Sea Tiger doesn’t have a whole lot of coral growth but, even so, schooling fish, moray eels, and nudibranchs are very common on the wreck.
The Sea Tiger rests upright on a sandy bottom at 120′, but dive depth is generally between 80-100′. Apart from missing wood planks and some decay inside the wreck the Sea Tiger is very much intact. Popular swim-throughs include the cargo holds, mid-ship, and the bridge, which allow for easy entries and exits. It is Hawaii’s best wreck for penetration but nitrogen narcosis together with a lot of silt, debris, and loose wires makes it dangerous without the right training and experience. It is big enough to get lost in!
Another favorite and a wreck often in Rodale’s Scuba Diving Magazine’s top 5 of US best wrecks. It has far more coral growth than the Sea Tiger and also more fish and turtles. It was sunk in 1989 by the Atlantic Submarine company who is still active so if you hear engines close by… watch out for the sub!
The YO-257 doesn’t offer too much in the way of penetration possibilities but probably has the most beautiful swim through of all wrecks in Oahu. You can swim through the whole stern and the inside is full of blue octocoral hanging from the ceiling and walls. Often there is also a large turtle resting and it doesn’t seem to mind the occasional divers passing by.
Resting upright at 95′ the YO-257 is an impressive sight with its massive bow and an overall length of 175′. Maximum depth for a dive is usually around 85′ unless you’re one of those bottom-huggers.
One great thing about the YO-257 is that on a good day you get two wrecks for the price of one, the San Pedro wreck is just 100’/30m away!
Once a fantastic wreck The Mahi’s bridge collapsed during a hurricane a couple of years ago. It is still a very good dive, especially because of all the fish and nudibranchs always present. No where else will you see as many puffer fish in one place. Together with the Sea Tiger it is the best dive site to spot schooling eagle rays.
The former minesweeper/cable layer was sunk in 1986 to become an artificial reef and has become one of the most popular wrecks in Hawaii. Because of the collapsed bridge, divers are advised to remain on the outside of the wreck.
The wreck rests in 95′ of water and that is often the maximum dive depth as whitetip reef sharks and octopus often hide between the bottom and the wreck. If you want a longer bottom time, the deck is between 60-80′ and there is plenty of life to keep you occupied.
A wreck off the Waianae coast (west Oahu) that is swimming distance of the airplane wreck listed below. There is a good reef just a little swim away and whitetip reef sharks are frequently spotted hiding under the stern or the concrete blocks next to the wreck.
This LCU rests on a sandy bottom 90′ down and the reef is a little over 100′ away. Most divers swim over to the reef first looking for interesting fish sightings, and divers good on air consumption can make it to the airplane wreck before needing to turn around. The pilot house offers a tight but easy swim-through.
The wing section of a Beechcraft airplane lies upside-down next to a beautiful reef. The wreck may offer good photo opportunities but isn’t very exciting otherwise. The reef, with walls and canyons, is awesome however. Frogfish is often seen and plenty of eels are always present, corals are healthy and host a variety of critters such as crabs and Hawaiian Lionfish.
The maximum depth is between 80-100’m depending on your route. The top of the reef is at 60’so for those that would like to enjoy longer bottom times may as well stay there.