Wreck Freediving – The Ultimate Freediving Adventure

Being able to freedive down to a wreck and explore it is a great feeling and will certainly impress your non diving friends. Wrecks are not always the most accessible dive sites, with many requiring a boat to get to. Quite often, if you want to freedive these wrecks you need to tag along with a scuba group which will normally only give you around an hour to freedive the wreck before moving on to another dive site.

Wreck freediving

There are many wrecks you can freedive located close to shore

There are however some wrecks located mere meters from the shore which are easily accessible to freedivers. Shore diving has the advantage of being able to rock up and dive when you want and for as long as you want. This article lists 15 wrecks that we ourselves have freedived or dived (in some cases both) which can be accessed from shore and are suitable for freediving. If you prefer a video format, check out our Youtube video below.

1) SS President Coolidge Wreck, Vanuatu

  • Ship Type American Ocean Liner

  • Year Sunk 1942

  • Length 200m

  • Depth 18m to 70m

Regarded as one of the best wreck dives in the world, the SS President Coolidge wreck should definitely be on any freedivers bucket list. The Coolidge was an ocean liner serving as an army transport ship in World War 2. She sank after hitting a mine while entering a channel near the island of Espiritu Santo in Vanuatu.

This huge 200m long wreck is full of interesting equipment such as guns, jeeps and trucks and rests a mere 150m from shore. Heading east out of the town of Luganville, the SS President Coolidge is around a 10 to 15 minute drive along the coast road, just before Million Dollar Point.

Resting on its port side, the bow of the Coolidge is at around 18m depth. Her bow has a surface buoy attached to it which dive boats use to moor onto to. The bow and forward part of the midship has plenty of interest including a 3” gun with some large shells stacked next to it and the crows nest which falls away to the seabed.

Cargo hold 2 is worth a peek inside if you can get down to 25m to 30m. Inside is a barbers chair and several over turned army vehicles. The stern of the wreck sits at 70m depth which is out of limits for most of us!

For more information on diving the SS President Coolidge wreck click here.

2) Million Dollar Point, Vanuatu

  • Ship Type Underwater scrapyard

  • Year Sunk 1945

  • Length Several hundred meters along the coast

  • Depth 0m to 30m

Million Dollar Point is a unique dive site which comprises of far more than just a single wreck. The dive site is essentially an underwater scrapyard consisting of discarded equipment left behind by the Americans at the end of WWII. At the time the equipment was said to be worth over a million dollars which is where the name comes from. Among the wreckage can be found sand bags, coke bottles, ladders, concrete reinforcements, jeeps, trucks, trailers and even a small inter island ferry.

Located on the island of Espiritu Santo, Million Dollar Point is around a 20 minute drive along the coast east of Luganville. The beach is clearly marked with signs so you will know you are at the right spot. When you enter the water swim west along the coast and you will see equipment beneath you.

What’s great about Million Dollar Point is that the wreckage starts almost as soon as you enter the water and continues all the way down to around 25m to 30m depth. This makes it suitable for all levels of freedivers. The wreckage has turned into an artificial reef is home to a large diversity of marine life.

For more information on diving Million Dollar Point click here.

3) Japanese Wreck, Indonesia

  • Ship Type Unknown

  • Year Sunk WWII

  • Length 20m

  • Depth 0m to 10m

A great little wreck dive which freedivers and snorkellers can enjoy, the Japanese wreck is a small ship sunk right next to the beach near the village of Amed on Bali. The wreck is full of life, with many fish and soft coral making the wreck their home.

The Japanese wreck almost protrudes from the surface, with the bow closest to the shore and the stern dropping down to around 10m depth.

For more information on diving the Japanese wreck click here.

4) USAT Liberty Wreck, Indonesia

  • Ship Type American Army Transport

  • Year Sunk 1942

  • Length 125m

  • Depth 5m to 30m

Any diving or freediving enthusiast who has been to Bali will most likely have dived the USAT Liberty wreck. Often listed as one of the best wreck dives in the world, the Liberty rests mere meters from the beach at Tulamben. Being so accessible it is often crowded, with hundred of divers, freedivers and snorkellers visiting the wreck every day.

Once in the water it is easy to understand the draw of the USAT Liberty. Large parts of the wreck still remain in reasonable condition, including the cargo hold and stern, both of which have great swim throughs. 120m in length, there is a lot of wreck to explore.

The diversity of marine life on the wreck is superb, ranging from large fish species such as bumphead parrotfish and barracuda, to turtles, eels, nudibranchs and of course lots of coral. The depth of the wreck ranges from as shallow as a few meters to over 30m, making it great for all levels of freedivers.

For more information on diving the USAT Liberty click here.

5) El Penon Wreck, Tenerife

  • Ship Type Tug Boat

  • Year Sunk 2006

  • Length 35m

  • Depth 21m to 32m

Situated just less than 50m from the shore near the town of Tabaiba, El Penon is a great little wreck to explore. A former tug boat, it was scuttled in 2006 to form an artificial reef after 49 years of service in the port of Santa Cruz.

Freediving schools in Tenerife often train at the El Penon wreck. For the intermediate to advanced freediver, there are some great swim throughs all the way down into the engine room. The wreck lists on its starboard side sitting at 32m on a sandy slope. 35m in length, the wreck is often frequented by trumpet fish, large schools of barracudas, mackerel and amberjack.

For more information on diving the El Penon wreck click here.

6) HMS Maori, Malta

  • Ship Type British Destroyer

  • Year Sunk 1942

  • Length 115m

  • Depth 10m to 14m

Valletta, the capital of Malta is one of the few cities in the world where you can freedive a historic warship. The HMS Maori has a violent history, having being involved in the attack of the famous German battleship Bismarck in 1941. In 1942 she was sunk by German aircraft while at anchor in the harbour in Malta.

Today only the forward part of the ship remains, much of which is buried in the sand. The mounts where the main guns used to sit can still be seen and there is a nice swim through entering at forward area and exiting on the starboard side. The wreck is around a 75m swim out to the centre of St Elmo Bay. The depth ranges between 10m to 15m. Beware of small boats passing by in the main channel.

For more information on diving the HMS Maori wreck click here.

7) Tug 2 Wreck, Malta

  • Ship Type Tug Boat

  • Year Sunk 2013

  • Length 30m

  • Depth 17m to 22m

Malta has quite a few Tug boat wrecks scuttled around it’s waters, and this one is simply referred to a Tug 2. Not much is known about the ship apart from it was scuttled in 2013. The wreck is around a 250m swim out from the Exiles Beach Club in Sliema. A large buoy marks the location of the wreck.

As the wreck was purposely scuttled, all the doors and hatches have been taken off making it easy to explore the inside. There is a nice swim through into the bridge and down into the engine room then out of a large hatch on the main deck. The top of the bridge is around 17m depth and the seabed is at around 22m depth.

For more information on diving the Tug 2 wreck click here.

8) Rozi Wreck, Malta

  • Ship Type Tug Boat

  • Year Sunk 1992

  • Length 40m

  • Depth 30m to 36m

The Rozi was an old tug boat that was purposely scuttled just off the north west coast of Malta near the ferry terminal at Cirkewwa. The Rozi and the P29 wreck sit very close to each other, and both could be dived in a single session. Both are marked with surface buoys and are a 50m swim from shore.

Sitting at 36m, the wreck is quite deep and suitable for more advanced freedivers. Again the hatches and doors have been taken off, making for some great swim throughs.

For more information on diving the Rozi wreck click here.

9) Um El Faroud Wreck, Malta

  • Ship Type Libyan Tanker

  • Year Sunk 1998

  • Length 115m

  • Depth 18m to 36m

The Um El Faroud is one of the best wrecks for recreational divers in Malta and is also great for freediving. In 1995, she suffered an explosion while in dry dock resulting in the death of nine people. She sat in dock for another three years before being scuttled of the coast of Malta.

The wreck is located off the south west coast of Malta near the Blue Grotto. Follow the road down towards the wharf and then swim around 150m south west across the Zurrieq Valley Sea Inlet. You will start to see the huge stern of the wreck emerging from the blue.

The superstructure of the bridge starts at around 18m, with the main deck sitting at 26m and the seabed at 36m. The bridge area attracts many fish, including bream, jacks and barracuda. For the brave freediver, it is possible to enter inside the bridge and accommodation block. The bow and the stern are also worth exploring.

For more information on diving the Um El Faroud wreck click here.

10) Churchill Barrier Wrecks, Scotland

  • Ship Type Blockships

  • Year Sunk WWI and WWII

  • Length Multiple Ships

  • Depth 0m to 10m

The Churchill Barriers are a series of concrete causeways blocking small channels between islands surrounding Scapa Flow in Orkney. They were built to fortify the bay and prevent enemy ships from entering during WWII. Before their construction old and unneeded ships called blockships were purposely sunk in the channels to restrict access. Many of these blockships are still there today, and can be freedived from the shore.

For example at Churchill Barrier Three there are five old wrecks located as short swim from shore. Parts of the wrecks are still visible above the surface, particularly at low tide. The seabed slopes gently down to 10m making it a great dive site for beginner freedivers.

For more information on diving the Churchill Barrier wrecks click here.

11) Kinugawa Maru Wreck, Solomon Islands

  • Ship Type Japanese Cargo Ship

  • Year Sunk 1942

  • Length 133m

  • Depth 0m to 28m

The Kinugawa Maru was a Japanese cargo ship that was attempting to supply the Japanese soldiers that were fighting to capture the island of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. She was attacked by American warships and aircraft in November 1942 and was forced to beach herself to save supplies.

The wreck is located at the north end of Bongei beach, with parts of the superstructure still visible above the surface. The remains of the bow, which was heavily salvaged, are just meters from the beach. Her stern sits at 28m depth. At 130m in length, the Kinugawa Maru is a sizeable wreck to explore.

There are several swim throughs at around 8m depth through the bulkheads which have been stripped down to their supporting beams, resulting in a cathedral like effect. Soft and hard corals have colonized the wreck, which supports a large population of reef fish. We even saw a turtle and reef shark on one of our freedives.

For more information on diving the Kinugawa Maru wreck click here.

12) Hirokawa Maru Wreck, Solomon Islands

  • Ship Type Japanese Cargo Ship

  • Year Sunk 1942

  • Length 155m

  • Depth 5m to 50m

The Hirokawa Maru is another great wreck in the Solomon Islands located at the south end Bonegi beach. Like the Kinugawa Maru, the Hirokawa Maru was a Japanese cargo ships that was forced to beach itself after being attacked by American planes during WWII.

The land owner of Bonegi beach will be able to point you in the direction of the wreck, the bow of which sits around 20m from the shore. The depth ranges from around 3m, down to over 50m. The superstructure at the bow has been heavily salvaged, however there are still some bulkheads remaining covered in coral. The mid section to stern of the wreck rests on it’s port side. Some great swim throughs can be found around the 10m to 20m depth range.

For more information on diving the Hirokawa Maru wreck click here.

13) Kyusyu Maru Wreck, Solomon Islands

  • Ship Type Japanese Cargo Ship

  • Year Sunk 1942

  • Length 142m

  • Depth 7m to 47m

Also known as the Ruaniu wreck due to being located not far from the village, the Kyusyu Maru was a  Japanese cargo ship that was forced to beach itself after being attacked by the American Navy and Airforce during WWII.

To get to the wreck, drive west out of Honiara for around 18km. Around 1km after passing over the Umasant river, turn right down a small track onto the beach. There are several small benches under the trees which are used by local dive shops when gearing up.

Swim out around 20m from the shore and you’ll start to see the wreckage. Sitting between 7m and 47m and 140m in length, the wreck is huge.

The bow area has been heavily salvaged and is now a coral garden. Swimming out a bit further you will reach a row of metal girders sitting like a fence which was where we spent most of our time freediving. Just behind these girders the depth drops down to around 13m and continues to drop all the way to the stern.

Much of the wreck deeper down is broken up but is interesting to explore, while the stern is still intact and rests on it’s port side if you make it down that far!

For more information on diving the Kyusyu Maru wreck click here.

14) I-1 Submarine Wreck, Solomon Islands

  • Ship Type Japanese Submarine

  • Year Sunk 1942

  • Length 97m

  • Depth 5m to 30m

A Japanese submarine from WWII, the I-1 sits on the reef close to the village of Tambea on the north coast of Guadalcanal. Park in the village and swim out around 100m north through the shallows until you reach the edge of the reef, then swim east around 100m along the reef. You will start to see the broken up wreckage of the bow, which was blown apart during a salvage operation.

The wreck lies between 5m and 28m, with the stern sitting deepest as the seabed drops off. The deeper you get the more intact the wreck is. There are some swim throughs but we didn’t explore these. The Submarine is covered in hard and soft corals and many small reef fish have made it their home.  A surface buoy is strongly recommended for this dive site as several small boats passed quite close when we were freediving.

For more information on diving the I-1 submarine wreck click here.

15) B17-Bomber Airplane Wreck, Solomon Islands

  • Ship Type Airplane (American B17 Bomber)

  • Year Sunk 1942

  • Length 23m, wingspan 31m

  • Depth 13m to 20m

The final wreck on our list is actually an airplane. Located on the north coast of Guadalcanal near the small village of Vilu, the B17 Bomber is an American Bomber from WWII shot down in 1942.

The gun turret, main wings and joysticks remain so it is an exciting wreck to explore. It sits approximately 50m from the beach between 13m and 20m depth on a sandy bottom. If the visibility isn’t the best then it may take a few dives down to find it. Be careful with your finning as it is easy to stir up the bottom.

Damselfish, sweetlips and jacks can be found around the wreck, as well as moray eels and glassfish.

For more information on diving the B17 Bomber wreck click here.