Whether you’re an advanced scuba diver or are hoping to learn, Hawaii is perhaps one of the greatest destinations for scuba diving in America. Our state offers an entire world to explore underneath the ocean’s surface. While coral reefs are remarkable, there are some pretty enchanting underwater wrecks off the Hawaiian Islands. From airplane crashes to ships that were sunk in order to create artificial reefs, these 11 wrecks are absolutely captivating.
1) Corsair Plane Wreck
One of the only wrecks that was not sunk as an artificial reef, the Corsair ran out of fuel during World War II, and was ditched by the pilot. The airplane is in excellent condition – one of the cockpit gauges features an intact glass face. The elusive garden eel can be seen near the wreck, and the plane sits in 107 feet of water.
2) Sea Tiger Shipwreck
The Sea Tiger, known in 1992 as the Yun Fong Seong No. 303, the vessel was caught smuggling 93 illegal Chinese immigrants. The five crew members served various prison terms, and the ship was sunk intentionally in 1999.
3) Carthaginian II
A replica of a whaling supply vessel, the Charthaginian II served as a floating museum in Lahaina Harbor before it was sunk half a mile from the harbor, at approximately 95 feet in depth.
4) USS YO-257
This Navy yard oiler built in the 1940s was purchased by Atlantis Submarine in Hawaii, and sunk as an artificial reef two miles out from Waikiki Beach in 1989.
5) San Pedro
Built in 1946 in Japan, the San Pedro was a commercial fishing vessel that operated off the Big Island until the 1970s when it caught on fire, and was eventually sunk in Keehi lagoon. The 80-foot long San Pedro sits at the same site as the YO-257, making this dive site a two-for-one favorite.
6) Airplane Canyon
The maximum depth of this site is approximately 112 feet, and is home to a Beech craft airplane, and an oceanic white tip reef shark who likes to rest under a ledge near the plane.
7) Baby Barge
Combining the best of both worlds, you can find both wreck and reef diving at the Baby Barge, divers often get to see green sea turtles and friendly white tip reef sharks.
8) The New Barge
While this dive is similar to the Baby Barge, it is bigger, and features a wonderful swim-through for the length of the wreck. With a maximum depth of approximately 100 feet, the barge is home to some gigantic sea turtles.
9) The Naked Lady
Despite its unusual name, this 60-foot sailboat sunk in Kona Harbor. Due to a depth of approximately 110 feet, the site is rated for advanced divers only with a short bottom time.
10) “The Secret Wreck”
The YTB 774 (Nashua) provided assistance to other Naval ships and vessels during berthing and docking evolutions, as well as aiding in towing and waterfront fire protection services.
11) Mahi Shipwreck
This United States Navy minelayer was used in WWII and sunk as an artificial reef in 1982. The wreck sits approximately 90 feet under the surface, is 189 feet long, and is arguably one of the most sought after dives in the islands.
Am I the only one who wants to get scuba certified now? If you have encountered any of these incredible wrecks in person, share your experiences with us in the comments below!