10 Underwater Shipwreck Photos That Will Take Your Breath Away | Scuba Diving

10 Underwater Shipwreck Photos That Will Take Your Breath Away

Across the Globe — Great Britain to Palau, the Baltic to the Red seas, Truk Lagoon to Thunder Bay — wherever you find divers, you'll find agreement on this: Wreck diving rocks. So allow us to show you why we can't get enough of this magnificent metal madness.


B-25 Mitchell PBJ-1H | Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands

B-25 Mitchell Plane Wreck in the Marshall Islands

B-25 Mitchell PBJ-1H | Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands

Pete Mesley

This former bomber sits upright at 100 feet off Kwajalein Atoll, where hundreds of planes were dumped after WWII.


USS Kittiwake | Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

Underwater photo of the Kittiwake shipwreck in Grand Cayman

USS Kittiwake | Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

Jennifer Idol

I first explored the USS Kittiwake in Grand ­Cayman with photographer David Doubilet. After circling the ship, we entered through a side door into a small room. I saw broken mirrors on my right and a series of doorways in front of me, which Doubilet headed toward. — Jennifer Idol

Camera Gear: Nikon D610 camera, 14-24mm Nikkor lens, Nauticam D600 aluminum housing with acrylic dome, two Inon Z-240 strobes
Camera Settings: f/5, 1/60 sec, ISO 640
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Salem Express | Safaga, Red Sea, Egypt

Salem Express wreck and diver in Red Sea, Egypt

Salem Express | Safaga, Red Sea, Egypt

Noam Kortler

It’s always sad to do a dive in this wreck, a ferry that sank in 1991 with nearly 500 passengers aboard. Once you swim around the wreck and see all the personal belongings, it gives you a chill. This shot was taken from the bridge, using only natural light to capture a ­diver swimming by outside, exploring the wreck. — Noam Kortler

Camera Gear: Nikon D2X; Seacam housing; Tokina ­10-17mm fisheye zoom lens set on 10mm
Camera Settings: f/8, 1/50 sec, ISO 100


Giannis D | Sha’ab Abu Nuhas, Red Sea, Egypt

Giannis D shipwreck and diver underwater in the Red Sea

Giannis D | Sha’ab Abu Nuhas, Red Sea, Egypt

Jordi Benitez

It was my second dive of the day, so the sun was too high for the shot that I had in mind. There were a lot of divers on the scene too. ­Finally, after an hour diving around the wreck, I found this point of view that spoke to me. I decided to use black-and-white for this to get more contrast between the ­shadows of the wreck and the sun’s rays. — Jordi Benitez

Camera Gear: Canon 7D; Nauticam housing; Tokina ­10-17mm lens set on 100mm; and 4-inch Saga Dive dome
Camera Settings: f/8, 1/30 sec, ISO 160


HMCS Saskatchewan | Nanaimo, British Columbia

HMCS Saskatchewan shipwreck with anemones in British Columbia

HMCS Saskatchewan | Nanaimo, British Columbia

Brandon Cole

The Saskatchewan has long been one of my favorite dives in B.C. I was there for its sinking in 1997, and I’ve been back often. Though we’ve photographed the bow many times, this whimsical shot came to me on a rainy day in October 2015, when my wife, Melissa, emerged through a hatchway into the emerald gloom with impressive guns looming overhead. — Brandon Cole

Camera Gear: Canon 5D Mark III; Seacam housing; Canon 8-15mm f4L ­fisheye lens, two Ikelite DS161 strobes Camera Settings: f/9, 1/80 sec, ISO 1600


Iro Maru | Palau

Iro Maru shipwreck underwater with schooling fish in Palau

Iro Maru | Palau

Aaron Wong

Toward the end of our dive, my buddy descended on this school of jacks as they began circling the Iro Maru. Instead of trying to get a picture, he decided to sit back and enjoy the show. This is what I’ve always believed: Don’t spend your time trying to get a picture if it means missing the moment. Don’t force it. If you are calm and relaxed, nature will come to you and show you the best it has to offer. — Aaron Wong

Camera Gear: Nikon D3; Seacam housing; 16mm lens
Camera Settings: f/8, 1/80 sec, ISO 200


Royal Navy Wessex MK3 Helicopter | Tidenham Quarry, Chepstow, England

Royal Navy Wessex MK3 Helicopter underwater in England

Royal Navy Wessex MK3 Helicopter | Tidenham Quarry, Chepstow, England

Steve Jones

The water was clear on this day, having a bluish tint rather than the normal green. I was practicing off-camera remote-strobe lighting techniques and rigged up a strobe to the diver’s equipment that ­automatically ­triggered when my own flash went off. I liked the way the powerful beam reflected back from his mask. — Steve Jones

Camera Gear: Nikon D700; Seacam housing; Nikkor 16mm fisheye lens; two Inon Z220 strobes connected to a remote slave trigger
Camera Settings: f/8, 1/50 sec, ISO 1600


Fujikawa Maru | Truk Lagoon, Chuuk

Fujikawa Maru mask underwater in Truk Lagoon, Chuuk

Fujikawa Maru | Truk Lagoon, Chuuk

Todd Winner

This interestingly shaped compressor — appropriately nicknamed R2-D2 — is deep inside the engine room of the WWII shipwreck Fujikawa Maru. Silt and particles dislodged by bubbles are always a problem when shooting wrecks on open circuit, so I worked as fast, yet as carefully, as I could. Unfortunately, there is a lot of collapsed debris now on this wreck, and it is probably unwise to penetrate to R2-D2 today. — Todd Winner

Camera Gear: Nikon D2X; Nexus housing; Tokina 10-17mm fisheye set on 13mm; two Ikelite 200 strobes
Camera Settings: f/4, 1/125 sec, ISO 100


BAe 146 Aircraft | Tidenham Quarry, Chepstow, England

BAe 146 Aircraft in England

BAe 146 Aircraft | Tidenham Quarry, Chepstow, England

Steve Jones

On this cold winter’s day, I was carrying out some tests of the Orcalight Seawolf lamp in an overhead environment; the gloomy hull of this BAe 146 aircraft was perfect. Use of rebreathers prevented any silt coming down from above, keeping the water clear inside the wreck. With two lamps at 22,000 lumens each, it felt like someone had turned on the lights inside the aircraft. — Steve Jones

Camera Gear: Nikon D4; Seacam housing; Nikkor 16mm fisheye lens; two off-camera Orcalight Seawolf 22,000-lumen lamps
Camera Settings: f/8, 1/60 sec, ISO 3200


Hilma Hooker | Bonaire

Hilma Hooker shipwreck in Bonaire underwater with diver

Hilma Hooker | Bonaire

Martin Strmiska/Alamy

In 1984, the ­Hooker, a Colombian cargo ­vessel, navigated into Bonaire, concealing a shipment of marijuana in an external compartment on the hull. It was seized by the Bonaire government; authorities ­removed 25,000 pounds of pot stowed between a real and false bulkhead. The ship’s reputation was tarnished, but as Bruce Bowker writes on ­Carib Inn’s website, “With the Hilma Hooker, what began as a bad idea for someone turned into a lucky break for ­Bonaire and its divers.

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