Columbia, was the third naval destroyer sunk by the ARSBC as an artificial reef, just nine months after Mackenzie. Again, knowledge gained from two prior destroyer projects further improved the preparation efficiency, budget control, and diver access and safety features incorporated into the ship.
The sponsoring community, Campbell River, B.C., was fully supportive of this project and the community spirit certainly showed on the sinking weekend of June 20th, 1996. A barge with a grandstand was towed to the site, about 9 miles north of the town and was filled to capacity for the sinking. A piper played "Amazing Grace" during the final topside minutes of Columbia.
In addition to the explosives used to sink the ship, the crowd was treated to a spectacular display of pyrotechnics that lit the guns of Columbia as a final salute to her tour of duty. She sank to the bottom in three minutes and forty-five seconds, bow first, quite similar to the Mackenzie sinking.
Columbia sits on a rock bottom near Maude Island, not far from Discovery Passage. Maude Island provides excellent protection from the swift currents of the nearby waterways allowing for a spectacular second dive site after timing a slack tide dive at nearby current-swept sites.
It sits in 120 feet of water, the superstructure and wheelhouse reach 60 feet of water.