Frequently Visited Wrecks Off Nags HeadAR-140 - N.C. Fisheries artificial reef; approximately 60 ft of water covers this site which has two barges and assorted railroad boxcars, an excellent training and certification site.
Advance - Formerly USS Worland, PCE-845, WWII patrol craft, 860 tons, 184 ft long, decom-
missioned in June 1, 1964, subsequently used as a research vessel by Cape Fear Technical Institute. Upper deck is at 65 with the sand at an approximate depth of 80 ft. The Advance is an excellent training and certification sight. For more information about the Advance check out NavSource Online
Bedloe - U.S. Coast Guard Cutter, 241 tons, 125ft long, sunk in a hurricane Sept. 14th,
1944, Loss of all men onboard except for the Commanding Executive and Engineering
officers with 9 enlisted men. The Bedloe was separated from her sister ship the Jackson
during the storm of 44 and sank approximately 21 miles south of Oregon Inlet. She lies
in 140ft of water and is lying on her port side. The vessel is intact except for the transom which appears to have been pulled off by a fishing net.
Benson - Tanker, 7,593 tons, 465 ft long, torpedoed by an unknown U-boat on April 5,
1942. She lies in 90 ft of water approximately 25.5 miles NE of Oregon Inlet, she burned
for many days before finally sinking to the bottom. The extensive damage caused
by the fire weekend the hull and it has collapsed into a fantastic debris field which
supports a wide variety of marine life. Resting in 100 ft of water this is an excellent dive for photography and exploration
The HU-25 Falcons - The Falcon jet is a medium-range USCG surveillance fixed-wing
aircraft. The 2 Falcons were dropped by the USCG as artificial reefs in the area of the NC
marine fisheries site AR-145. Both of the planes flipped when they were dropped providing minimal
relief for habitats. We have been on the planes a couple of times and although they have flipped they still
provide habitats for the local fish. Each of the planes were cleaned and stripped of all potentially hazardous materials. Check out the video page for footage from the planes.
Jackson - U.S. Coast Guard Cutter, 241 tons, 125 ft long, sunk in the great hurricane of 1944, on the 14th, with a loss of 21 men. She is located approximately 8 miles NE from Oregon Inlet and lies in 80ft of water. The stern is broken from the bow with a separation of 80ft. The stern sits upright with all sections exposed to the sea. The sand which had previously covered most of the wreck has been moved off exposing many features that had been previously covered. The bow is sitting with a list to the starboard at 40 degrees the port side sea anchor is visible which is still in it's hawser.
Marore - Bulk Ore Carrier, 8,215 tons, Torpedoed by the U-432, Sunk February 27, 1942. The Marore was heading North along the eastern coast of the U.S. hoping the clutter from the shore and shallow water would keep her safe from the marauding the U boats hunting the coast. The Captain of the Marore made a fatal mistake, the U-432 was lying in wait for a passing ship with it's navigation lights on. Captain Nash thinking it was an oncoming vessel turned in his navigation lights. Approximately thirty minutes past midnight a starboard lookout called he heard a buzzing sound, moments later there was the explosion of a torpedo hitting the vessel. Within fifteen minutes the vessel was evacuated and as the men were rowing away the survivors reported observing the Marore getting shelled from three different locations. The survivors were picked up by a passing tanker the John B Gill. Of the three life boats the John B Gill recovered two with the third being in shallow water made for the shore. She was spotted by the Coast Guard Station at Big Kinnakeet, which sent out a motor surfboat and recovered the 14 crew members from the sea. There was no loss of life on this sinking, most of the crew were in bunks during the attack.
Mirlo (Green Buoy) - Tanker 6,978 tons, sunk by mine from the U-117 on August 16,1918. The Mirlo was previously mistaken for the Ciltvaira when she was originally found and identified. The Mirlo sits about 20 miles South of Oregon Inlet in an area that has slightly warmer and clearer water. This area is also prone to having higher currents and therefore it can be a challenging dive. The Mirlo sits at 120 ft, the vessel is broken in two. The forward section of the wreck is flipped with her decks in the sand. The stern area which is still attached by a debris field settled upright to starboard at a 45 degree angle. Because of the warmer clearer, water this site is ideal for photography; turtles, tropical and game fish are often seen on this site.
U-85 - Type VII-B, U Boat, 753 tons on surface, 218 ft long. Sunk by the destroyer USS Roper on April 14th 1942, with the loss of all hands. This was the first U boat sunk off the United States by the U.S. Navy. The conning tower is at an approximate depth of 85ft, with a maximum depth of 110ft. See more information about the U-85 here
U-701 - A VIIC class U boat sunk off the Coast of Cape Hatteras by aerial depth charge on 7/7/42. The U-701 was 218 ft in length displacing 1070 tons fully loaded with a full compliment of 60 men. The U-701 was under sporadic attack for many days from assorted aerial bombers, eventually she was sunk by a A-29 Hudson from the 396th ( Lt. H.J. Kane) while on the surface. The 701 was trying to exchange her air and had returned to the surface, look outs missed the attacking A-29 which dealt the fatal blow. Of the crew escaping the sinking vessel, approximately 20 were to survive the action of the day. The U-701 was the first U -boat to be sunk by the U.S.A.F. during WWII. The U-701 sunk on diamond shoals, an area which provides some of the most challenging dives on the Banks. The cooler Labrador current and the warmer Gulf water off Hatteras Island mix here often resulting with currents in excess of 2 knots. The unpredictable sea conditions found on Diamond Shoals make this a difficult wreck to dive. Often the U-701 is completely covered with sand and is simply not accessible. View more info at uboat.net
York - Freighter, 253 ft., 2677 tons, She lies in approximately 12 miles NNE of U-85 in 100 ft of water. She was torpedoed January 22, 1942 by German submarine U-66
Zane Gray / Dionysus - WWII Liberty ships, 7,191 tons, 441 ft long, first ships to be sunk off the coast of North Carolina in 1974/1978 as artificial reefs. N.C. Fisheries sight AR-160. This type of vessel was the first to use prefab construction making the best delivery time for this type of vessel approximately 4.75 days. Depth ranges from 40 to 70 feet and they lie approximately 4 miles S.E. of Oregon Inlet. Want to know more about the liberty ships? NC Wreck Diving has more information about the Zane Gray and other wrecks.
Some of The Most Popular Ship Wrecks in Nags Head Are Reachable from the Beach!
Huron - Federal Gunship steamer with sail 541 tons, she ran aground November 24, 1877 with the loss of 98 crewmen. Located at milepost 11 the Bladen St.. access. She is 250 yds North of the Nags Head Fishing Pier in approx. 25 ft of water.
Kyzickes - (Triangle Wrecks)- Tanker, Milepost 7, Second Street access approximately 100 yards offshore. She ran aground during a storm with a cargo of oil. Four lives were lost. Depth is about 20 ft of water.
Carl Gerhard - (Triangle Wrecks)- Freighter, Milepost 7, The wrecks are broken in half with the bow section of the Kyzickes lying on the outer sand bar about 200 yards offshore. The Carl Gerhard went down in 1929 carrying a cargo of plasterboard.
Metropolis - (Horse Head Wreck)- Freighter, 124 ft. long, 879 tons, Located three miles south of the Currituck beach light in Corolla. She went down in 1878; 91 lives were lost. She was carrying 500 tons of iron rails and 200 tons of stones. The Metropolis was formerly the Federal Gunship Stars and stripes. She is currently covered with sand and not dive able.
Oriental - (Boiler Wreck)- Federal Transport, 210 feet long, 1,202 tons, sank May 16, 1862. She lies approximately three miles south of the Oregon Inlet, approximately 350yds. offshore in about 20 ft of water. This wreck is reachable from the beach but can be a hazardous swim. This should be considered a boat dive, extreme caution is advised due to fast currents and distance.
Explorer - Tugboat, went down on December 12, 1919. Located on milepost 11 at the Bladen St.. access. She is about 100 yards north of the Nags Head Fishing Pier, 150 yards offshore in about 20 ft of water. A good portion of this wreck is covered by sand.