Five Sunken Warships, Submerged Beneath The Sea

Since time immemorial man has been dividing himself into tribes of one form or another, and since he first learned how to swim, that fight has included a nautical component. As our technology has advanced, we’ve been left with these ghostly images of retired and destroyed men-of-war.

Image by Bob Broton, via Nordic Diver

5. The U.S.S. Oriskany, Pensacola, Florida

The Oriskany, which famously carried a young John McCain into action during the Vietnam War, was turned into the world’s largest artificial reef in 2006. She’s currently sitting in 210 feet of water, placing various levels of the ship within range of divers, and providing a boost to commercial fishermen in the area.

USS oriksanyPhoto:
Image from Divemasterking2000 on Flickr

4. The Bismarck

The German WWII Battleship, made famous by film and song, was a terror on the high seas in the early part of the war, sinking the HMS Hood and badly damaging the Prince of Wales. She was crippled by an aerial torpedo, and finally destroyed by a Royal Navy task force in May 1941. Bismarck now rests in over 15,000 feet of water.

the bismarkPhoto:
Image from

3. U.S.S. Speigel Grove, Key Largo, Florida

The Speigel Grove is another American warship presently doing duty as a coral reef, although having been placed in substantially more shallow water, this amphibious ship is far more diver-friendly and therefore tourist-ridden. After sinking upside down, and then being rolled onto her starboard side, Hurricane Dennis set the ship upright in 2005.

uss speigel grovePhoto:
Image from tiswango on Flickr

2. Nippo Maru, Truk Lagoon

In the waning days of World War II, American Carrier Air Power was operating with virtual impunity in the pacific, and the American architects of the war sought to make a powerful statement: they wanted a Japanese Pearl Harbor. The place they chose was Truk, an island fortress featuring a major fleet and logistical base, as well as an airfield, and enacted a massacre. The photo below is of a tank still sitting on the deck of a transport ship, over 60 years later.

Nippo Maru, Truk LagoonPhoto:
Image from

1. HMS Royal Oak

The Royal Oak, sunk at anchor in Scapa Flow in 1939, has been designated as a war grave by the UK, meaning that only Royal Navy divers have access, and an embargo has been placed on all exploration and photography. The MOD has recently commissioned high-resolution sonograms of the area, giving us this image of the hull.

royal oakPhoto:
Image from MOD

You can watch a underwater dive video here of the incredible wreckage at Nippo Maru