Many wrecks — like the Carthaginian II off the coast of Maui — bear the scars from age and divers exploring its watery recesses. This wreck was purposefully sunk to provide a new home for the ocean’s flora and fauna. While natural deterioration will eventually reclaim this stately schooner, we can all help to preserve this and other wrecks for as long as possible by following these tips from PADI:
Take photos, not souvenirs
Never remove things from a wreck. Yes, that porthole might look great above your fireplace, but it looks even better in its original home — and by leaving it alone, other divers can appreciate it time and time again. If you do stumble across something unusual — like treasure or unexploded munitions — take a photo, note its location, and report it to your dive operator or the local marine authorities.
Nail neutral buoyancy
Thanks to time, rust, and corrosion, wrecks can be unstable structures that might collapse under your weight if you grab, pull, or land on them. That’s bad news for you and for the wreck, and a good motivation to keep your buoyancy under control.
Don’t tie things to the wreck
We will not tie our dive boat’s mooring lines to a wreck and ask that other boaters follow the same practices. Divers also should not tie anything to the structure, again leaving it as you found it.
Focus on the outside
Diver’s bubbles trapped inside metal structures can speed up the process of oxidization and decay. So, before venturing inside, consider if you really need to; often the exterior is just as fascinating.
Advocate responsible fishing
Practices such as trawling and dredging have allegedly damaged almost half of the world’s shipwrecks, and loose nets become a death trap for the surrounding marine life. Visit our conservation page to see how you can help raise awareness. For your own safety, always carry a line cutter on wreck dives; they’re also a handy tool to help rescue unlucky creatures who’ve become entangled.
Ready to enhance your exploration in wreck diving?
Book a dive to explore the intriguing Carthaginian wreck. Scuba Diving and Sport Diver magazines have rated the Carthaginian site as one of the top locations for shipwreck diving.
This second incarnation of the Carthaginian was modeled after the 1870 brig Marie Sophie, and served as a floating museum in Lahaina for over 20 years. A semi-penetrable wreck, the hull is a favorite of white tip reef sharks who can often be seen resting inside. Eagle rays and dolphins are sometimes spotted passing by in the blue, while frog fish, eels, starfish and other smaller creatures stay close to the safety of the ship. Atlantis Submarine frequently runs tours that circle the ship, giving lucky divers a chance to wave at their passengers and pose for a photo with a submarine in the back drop.
You might even be inspired to check out our specialty courses, including PADI wreck diving. By completing the PADI Wreck Diver Specialty course, you will be a step closer to earning the PADI Master Scuba Diver™ rating, the highest rating in recreational diving which puts you among the top 2% of elite recreational divers, in addition to gaining valuable knowledge on wreck diving.