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Scuba Diving in Atlantic Beach, NC

North Carolina is heralded as one of North America’s premier diving locations.


North Carolina Scuba Diving

With a large variety of shipwrecks laying off the coast, the waters laying off our coast are aptly known as ``The Graveyard of the Atlantic.`` Live bottom areas provide other opportunities for scuba diving. Inside the barrier islands rock jetties and bridges provide even more areas for underwater exploration.


American freighter torpedoed and sunk by the U-158. Lies in approximately 80 ft. of water and is home to a large population of sand tiger sharks.


The W.E. Hutton, 465 ft. long, was another tanker pressed into military service. It too was sunk by the U-124 on March 18, 1942. This wreck lies inshore in approximately 60-70 feet of water.


The Suloide ran aground on the wreckage of the Hutton in 1943 and currently lies inshore in 65 feet of water.


A 409 ft. tanker sunk in 1988 as an artificial reef, the Aeolus now lies in three pieces due to hurricanes in 1996. This wreck has a good deal of relief, and also offers frequent encounters with sand tigers. The Aeolus is also a favorite of spear fishermen, as abundant numbers of grouper and flounder make it an easy place to fill your fish bag. However, the presence of sharks patrolling for a free lunch require a bit of caution on the diver’s part. This wreck is also an ideal starting place for those interested in learning penetration diving with a certified instructor.


A former USCG buoy tender sunk as an artificial reef, the Spar lies just 400 ft. from the Aeolus. She is upright and fully intact, and is entering her third season as an underwater home for new marine life. Sea urchins abound on this wreck, so be careful with those hands! Another good wreck for learning penetration diving with a certified instructor.


The Naeco was a 428 ft. tanker torpedoed and sunk by the U-124 on March 23, 1942. She sank in two sections, bow and stern, a couple miles apart. This wreck has a large variety of tropical fish, schools of bait fish, pompano, amberjack, grouper, sandtigers, and was the first wreck to see the indo-pacific lionfish. While the stern section has the highest relief, parts of this wreck exceed the recreational diving limits. Diving the wreck requires near-perfect sea conditions due to the distance offshore, and also has a surcharge to cover the additional fuel costs.


A 412 ft. tanker pressed into military service during WWII, the Papoose was torpedoed and sunk on March 18, 1942 by the U-124. Today, it rests upside down in approx. 130 feet of water with relief upwards of 100 feet. This site is a favorite of sand tigers and Ind0-Pacific lionfish. Recent speculation has many divers wondering whether the “Papoose” is really the “Hutton” and vice versa.


218 foot intact German submarine sunk on May 9, 1942 by USCG Cutter Icarus. Currently lying in 113 ft. of water, the U-352 is one of the premier diving spots of the Crystal Coast.


Originally named the Geier, the ship was a 255 ft. long steel hulled cruiser for the German navy. The Geier was at one point interned in Hawaii for 3 years until 1917, at which time the United States entered WWI. At that point, the United States seized the Geier, renamed her the Schurz, and reoutfitted her for the navy. She collided with the SS Florida in June of 1918. This wreck at times is covered by so many bait fish that a diver can actually lose himself inside a bait ball. With so many bait fish around, grouper and amberjack (spear fishing favorites) are always close by. Many rounds of 30 caliber ammunition have been recovered from this site. New laws enacted in the past year prohibit taking any artifacts from any U.S. Naval warship!