From a diver’s perspective one of the advantages of purposely sinking a ship when it is no longer needed is that it can be sunk where it can serve the most scuba enthusiasts.
After 29 years of ferry service between Kingston, Ontario, and nearby Wolfe Island, the Wolfe Islander II was to be replaced in 1975 by the Wolfe Islander III. But the older ship was kept on for another 10 years to use when the Wolfe Islander III was being serviced.
On Sept. 21, 1985, the 165-foot Wolfe Islander II was intentionally sunk. It lies off the shore of Kingston in about 70 feet of water. Since the maximum depth an open-water diver can descend to is 60 feet this enables those with the first level of training to get close enough for a good look. The maximum depth is 85 feet when descending the back mooring line. Divers are able to touch the ship about 45 feet down.
As for the sinking of the Wolfe Islander II it enables the ship to continue serving Kingston, albeit in a different role. Among the highlights of a dive to the ship’s grave are the engine room and pilot house. To keep divers interested, unusual items for a ship, such bicycles, a motorbike a bowling ball and even lawn mowers are part of the package.
Built in Collingwood, the Wolfe Islander II was originally scheduled to be part of an economic package for China after the Second World War. That did not happen. Instead, it went to Kingston, where years later divers would swim through the wheel house and saloon.
Video Courtesy of Explorer Diving, Kingston, Ontario