10 Popular Dives Off New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware

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By Mike Hughes

Some say that there are over five thousand wrecks off the coast of New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware. So how can I come up with the top ten dive sites? I can’t. It’s like picking the best ten marshmallows from an unopened bag while blindfolded. What I can do though is pick a random sample of dive sites that hopefully will give you a feel for diving off the Atlantic coast. So here we go with a sample:

The most popular wreck is the USS Bradford: DD-968. This artificial reef was sunk August 10, 2011. The destroyer Bradford is 26 miles off shore or so depending which state and which boat harbor you start your excursion. The ship is 563ft long, the top deck is at 70ft of depth, and the bottom rests on the substrate at 140ft of depth. Although the ship was cleaned of artifacts and local sea creatures are still moving in to the neighbor hood, divers never the less, still clamor for a chance to dive this newly submerged vessel.

On the other side of the coin, you have vessels that went down by natural causes that still have tons of artifacts to find and peruse like the 360ft long Washingtonian. This American-Hawaiian Steamship Company vessel was a steam-powered freighter built in 1914. She was carrying 10,000 tons of raw sugar when she collided with the Elizabeth Palmer January 26, 1915. She now rests at 100ft of depth. She left Honolulu December 30th, passed the Panama canal January 19th only to sink in 10minutes off the east coast of Delaware. One man was lost, and two 11ft long Ivory tusks with silver end caps were never officially recovered from the wreck site. She is currently a great place to spear big fish and hunt for lobster. The 300ft long five-mast schooner, Elizabeth Palmer, sank two days later at 90ft. This was the second and last time she sank another ship.

The African Queen oil tanker bow section, which is south and in blue waters some 15miles offshore from Maryland, is still a very popular wreck. While the stern section was towed to dry dock after running aground, the bow section became a natural wreck with lots of life with reliefs 30 to 70ft deep. Lobster and big tog “tautog” are found here.

Fenwich Shoals is an easy 20-30ft dive with an upper thermo cline. From mid-June to September you can easily get by wearing a 3ml suit when you dive here. This last July the Vis was around 30-40ft. There are several wrecks out here covering more than an acre of substrate. Some of the wrecks on the outer Fenwick Shoals include the steamship Brinkburn, the Norwegian Siam, and on the inner Fenwich Shoals rests the 300ft long BoilerWreck. Lots of fish make this a popular site for spearfishing.

The Marine Electric has been described as one “Bad @ss Wreck”.  The former coal carrier sank in 1983, 32miles out from Maryland to the sand at 130ft and the top is at 70ft of depth, but at 605ft long, it will take several dives to see it all. One charter Captain would like to mention that spear fishing and catching lobster is the number one sport in the Mid-Atlantic and at this site you can catch black bass, cobia, amberjacks, and jack crevalle, but in the summer months when the warmer waters slide up, you can spear mahi mahi, and blue fin tuna here.

Read the whole article at Dive News Network.

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