Place pointer over dive flag to identify the wreckRoyal AdelaideChesil CoveJames FennelBarmstonAerials (drift dive)BournmouthPulpit RockChurch Ope CoveGrove PointBalaclava BaySand DredgerHMS HoodBombardon UnitHimalayasLanding Craft - 1Enecuri (also known as Spaniard)QueenieBottle BankCountess of ErneEarl of AbergavennyLanding Craft - 2Blacknor PointPrevezaLanding CraftFerry Bridge
Ferry Bridge  
Ferry Bridge is one of the most interesting shore dive sites in the area.  
Due to the extreme tidal movement of the shallow water this area is  
teeming with plant and animal life. Slack water is 1 hour after HW or  
4 hours before HW. The depth is only six or so metres. It's  
recommended that you use an SMB in case there's any boat traffic.  
Royal Adelaide  


12m Sunk:    
Type:   Reason:    
Tonnage: Position:  
Size:   Condition: Broken  
The Adelaide is one of Portland's best shore dives (although one of the hardest due to the walk involved
to get to the waters edge!) Park in the car park adjacent to the Fleet Nature Centre. From the cafe,
walk towards Chesil Bank. At the base of the bank, turn right along the broken concrete path for
approximately 17 metres then head straight over the beach.
- or -
From the cafe, walk straight to the top of the beach and find a red stone block. Walk about 40 paces
North and go directly to the water.
The Adelaide lies about 100 metres form the shore, at the edge of the pebbles. If the seabed starts to
undulate you've gone too far. Best time to dive is 2 hours after HW Portland. Diving at any other time
make allowances for the tide.(See tide page). The wreck is teaming with life and even attracts visitors
from warmer waters. During September, trigger fish can usually be seen swimming alongside the
Chesil Cove
Chesil Cove has to be one of the best known shore dives in the UK .

The best place to dive is accessed via Brandy Row (pictured right).

There are a few parking spaces but not many. Drop your kit off and
you shouldn't have too much trouble parking fairly nearby. The
shortest distance to the water is over the wall, down the ramp and
straight down the beach. This is also the recommended entry point by the local Council.
Chesil Beach can have very strong surge and surf - beware of
powerful under tows. Chesil has a slight longshore current. It
shouldn't pose any problems - check which direction it's running
before you dive (see Tides page). If the tide does take you away
from your planned exit point you'll just have to walk back over more
The bottom composition consists of pebbles sloping to about 7
metres. During the summer months there's plant life growing about a
metre off the seabed. Continuing outwards, you come to a rocky
area. Towards the end of Chesil Beach, some of these rocks are up to
4 metres high. There's a disused sewage pipe amongst lots of kelp
here too. The depth slopes gradually down to about 12 metres. After
this you come to sand. The ripples in the sand give an indication as to the direction back to the shore
(West - out to sea, East - back to the shore).
The visibility here can be amazing (for Britain). In the summer it's
often 10 to 15 metres. Aquatic life includes wrasse, pollack, edible
and spider crabs, pipefish, cuttlefish, john dory, sandworms. See
how the activity changes on a night dive.
Several vessels have floundered in Chesil Cove but there's not much
left due to the fierce winter storms. You may come across the
remains of the Preveza.
Although the beach makes it an exhausting hike, Chesil can be a
most rewarding dive.
When using Brandy Row for access to Chesil Cove, please respect
the residents by not blocking the road or access with vehicles. Also,
observe the local by-law regarding indecent exposure whilst changing.
Blacknor Point (drift dive)
The rugged seabed around Blacknor Point is a good place to start a
drift dive, letting the tide take you South towards the Aerials. A lot of
marine life can be seen swimming or crawling around the rocks here,
typically, spider crabs, lobsters, crayfish, pollack and wrasse. The
depth here goes down to about 12 metres, then there's a steep ledge, shelving down to around 25
metres. Blacknor Point often enjoys good visibility of 10 to 15 metres.
James Fennel


18m Sunk: 21st Jan, 1920
Type: Admiralty Trawler Reason: Ran aground
Tonnage: 215 tonnes Position:  
Size: 37m x 7m Condition: Stern complete  
The James fennel ran aground in fog on 16th January, 1920. On the
21st January a tug tried to pull her from the rocks. As she slid into
deeper water her hull flooded and the mooring ropes broke. Today she
lies on a seabed of sand and rock in 18 meters of water about 80
metres from the shore. Her stern complete with engine and boiler
visible amidships. In places, the wreck stands 5 metres.  


16m Sunk: 1918  
Type: Norwegian steam Reason: Ran aground  
Tonnage: 1,451 tonnes Position: 50 32'06''N 02 27'03''W  
Size:   Condition: Broken  
The plates and keel are all that's left of this wreck  
Aerials (drift dive)
On the West side of Portland, marked by some aerials on the cliff, is
some of the best drift diving Portland has to offer. The depth varies
from 8 metres down to about 26 metres depending how far from the
shore you dive. There are lots of big rocks, standing several metres off
the mussel covered seabed, and gully's nearer to the shore. Visibility can be excellent here and
there's loads of life. Time it right and it's possible to drift all the way down from Blacknor Point, through
the Aerials and onto the Pulpit Rock area at Portland Bill.  


12m Sunk: 1886  
Type: paddle steamer Reason: Ran aground  
Tonnage: 283 tonnes Position: 50 31'00''N 02 36'06''W  
Size: 63m x 7m Condition: Broken  
Hardly anything left now.  
Pulpit Rock
Without a doubt, this one of the best dives Portland offers. At the very
bottom of Portland, the dive site starts at a depth of about 8 metres
and quickly shelves off to 30+ metres. There are lots of large rocks
and gullies once your deeper Because of its location, most of the
time Pulpit isn't diveable due to strong currents (see tide page). The
window of slack water only lasts about 45 minutes but it's amazing
how much life you can see here in that time. The best time to dive is 4 hours after H.W. Portland.
Because of the water movement the area is constantly rich with nutrients. As a result the area is
teeming with life - particularly edible crabs and lobsters, bass, pollack, wrasse and plaice. At about 30
metres the seabed is covered with big starfish and soft corals.
Pulpit can be dived from the shore but beware of the tide starting to run. It picks up very quickly and if
you're too far from the shallows you may get caught in it. Don't go more than 30 metres from the shore
unless you have boat cover. The best entry point is just North of Pulpit Rock
Church Ope Cove

Church Ope Cove can be dived from the shore, but it's not for the faint

hearted. Access is via a long walk down steps located by the Portland



The Cove is a slightly shelving pebble beach leading to rocks and sandy areas. Not teaming with life,

but fairly good for flatties Church Ope Cove is subject to strong tides - see tide page.

After the dive you have to negotiate the steps - good luck!  
Grove Point (drift dive)

Grove point is a good place to start a drift dive. The seabed consists of

a rocky ledge that follows the contour of the shoreline. The depth here

is between 6 and 14 metres. It then gently slopes away, gradually

getting deeper. Between 14 and 25 metres a few crabs, flatties, and

dogfish are common sights. The depth 300 metres offshore is around 50 metres .

The tides at Grove Point can be fast. Watch you don't get swept into the race (see tides page). Time it
right and you past Church Ope Cove area and on towards the Bill.  
Balaclava Bay

'Baly' Bay is formed by the breakwater arm going out to the Hood and

the top Eastern side of Portland. The seabed is sand and gently

slopes off to about 15 metres. A particularly interesting area is along

the breakwater wall. Start at the small beach end and swim slowly,

looking in detail.

During the summer months the rocks are covered with snakelock
anemone's, tunicates, nudibranches and vibrantly coloured kelp and
seaweed. The wall is also the roaming ground lots of spider crabs.
As you make your way along the breakwater wall you come to the
wreck of the Sand Dredger at about 8 metres. From here there's not
so much small life, the spider crabs and larger fish are still present.

As long as you don't stray to far from the breakwater, this area isn't

affected by tide. It's a very popular training area for all sorts of,

courses especially in the summer.
Starting from the beach, but going the other way, there's a small reef
and kelp beds at about 6 metres. Care should be taken when
surfacing due to the boat traffic. Access is by boat only.
Sand Dredger


8m - 12m Sunk:
Type: Dredger Reason:  
Tonnage: Position:  
Size:   Condition: Broken - two parts
The sand dredger is a popular training site for initial diver training due its shallow depth, sheltered
location and lots of fish and crab life. Visibility is often very good due to the sandy bottom . It can be
very crowded in the summer and visibility can drop due to the amount of training dives taking place.
The wreck is in two parts - one in about 8m and the other about 12m with 15 or so metres between
them. The wreck isn't affected by any tide.
HMS Hood


14m, 18m & 22m Sunk: 4th Nov 1914
Type: Battle ship Reason: Scuttled
Tonnage: 14,150 tonnes Position: 50 33'N 02 26'W
Size: 115m x 11m Condition:
mostly intact
The Hood is probably Portland's most popular wreck. She was
scuttled as a blockship in the First World War preventing submarine
attacks through the South Shipping Channel.
Lying upside down across the harbour mouth the wreck is heavily
effected by the tide. As a result it can be quite busy as every one
tries to catch slack water (H.W. and 4 - 5 hours before HW). Also,
as the tide rushes back and forth through the wreck every day, it
has a dangerous effect on the wrecks structural integrity. Over the
years the tide has created lots of big holes that invite you to explore
inside the wreck. Being upside down, the items that were bolted to
the floor are now bolted to the ceiling.
The Hood is slowly falling apart - If going inside, seek proper
training and use appropriate equipment - be careful.
. The wreck is permanently buoyed on the outside of the harbour.
This leads down the breakwater wall, joins another line running
about 15 metres along the seabed to the seaward side of the wreck
at 14 - 15 metres . swimming over or through the wreck to the
harbour side the seabed is 17 - 18 metres. It's possible to get 22+
metres inside the wreck.
During the summer months the Hood is alive with life(?). Some of the
biggest spider crabs on the South Coast are resident along with cod,
bass, the occasional cuttlefish and the odd lobster.
There can be a lot of boat traffic above the wreck. You should either
return to the shot or use a delayed SMB to ascend. It's only 6 metres
from the top of the wreck to the surface.
Bottle Bank  
The Bottlebank is a good rummage dive. Situated just inside the harbour, the silt seabed is around
eighteen metres and dotted with bottles and china. The area is tidal - see the tide page to work out
when you want to dive.
Bombardon Unit


16m Sunk:  
Type: Wave breaker Reason:  
Tonnage: 900 tonnes Position: 50:34N 02:24W
Size:   Condition: Intact
The Bombardon Unit was an experimental wave breaking device
constructed as part of the D-day landings. It lies alongside the
harbour breakwater, is approximately 30 metres long, star shaped in
cross section and has a lot of hatches and support girders. It is
easily possible to do this and the Landing Craft next to it in one dive.
This wreck is very silty.
Landing Craft


17m Sunk: June 1944
Type: Landing Craft Reason: D-day preparation
Tonnage: Position:  
Size:   Condition:
This wreck lies inside the harbour at the foot of the breakwater. It's
only small and can be swam round in a few minutes. It's possible to
swim along the breakwater towards the Hood entrance and see the
Bombardon Unit as well in one dive. The wreck is very silty as are all
the wrecks in the harbour.
Landing Craft - Chesil Beach  


12m Sunk:  
Type: US Landing Craft Reason:    
Tonnage: Position:    
Size:   Condition:    
Park at the far end of the car park next to the Fleet Nature Reserve. From the car parks wooden fence,
walk to the top of the beach and then twenty-five paces North.
- or -
Park at the same end of the car park by some steel tube fencing with concrete posts. Walk in line with

the fence to the top of the beach. Looking towards the harbour, you'll see a street light on the

causeway in line with the East Shipping Channel entrance. Walk about 16 metres North until the lamp

post is in line with the middle of the harbour entrance.

The wreck is about 100 metres from the waters edge. If you come to sand you've gone to far. The best

time to dive the landing craft is 2 hours after H.W. Portland. If diving at any other time, make

allowances for the current (see tide page).


12m Sunk: 12th June 1940  
Type: steamer Reason: Bombed  
Tonnage: 4,600 tonnes Position:    
Size: 37m x 7m Condition: Scattered  
Launched in 1953, the Himalaya was the worlds largest three masted  
steamer. She served as a troopship in the Crimean war and then sold  
as a coal hulk. In 1940, while at anchor in Portland harbour, she was  
bombed by German aircraft. Rumour has it that one of the four bombs  
dropped has yet to be detonated.  
Enecuri (also known as the Spaniard)


15m Sunk: 28th Dec, 1900
Type: Spanish steamer Reason: Holed
Tonnage: 3,000 tonnes Position: 50 35'N 02 25'W
Size: 72m x 9m Condition: Fairly broken
The Enecuri / Spaniard dragged her anchor in strong gales and hit the  
breakwater, sinking to the seabed. Today, she is quite broken up  
amidships, however the bow section is fairly intact. She stands 5
metres high in places.


14m Sunk:  
Type:   Reason:  
Tonnage:   Position:  
Size:   Condition: Broken
The Queenie can be a nice dive if the visibility is good although this
isn't to common. The wreck is broken into three sections. A shot line
is usually fixed to the bow section which lies on its starboard side.
Swimming North along the breakwater you come to the midships
section and then further on the stern where the rudder and prop can
be seen.
Countess of Erne


14m Sunk: September 1935
Type: Paddle steamer Reason: Holed
Tonnage: 900 tonnes Position: 50 35'N 02 25'W
Size: 72m x 9m Condition: Fairly intact
Originally built in the early 1800s
as a passenger and cargo paddle
steamer, the Countess of Erne was converted in 1889 to a coal
hulk. In 1935 she broke free from her moorings and holed herself on
the breakwater.
Today she sits upright on a silty sea bed and is alive with pollack,
wrasse, black face blennies (unique to Portland Harbour) pipe fish and
nudibranches. The Countess is a popular training dive, being ideal for
both novice courses and wreck penetration courses. As a result the
wreck can get very busy during high season - particularly the shot
line. This also has an undesired effect on the visibility. On spring tides there's a slight current running

from the bow to the stern.


Landing Craft  


16m Sunk: June 1944  
Type:   Reason: D-day preparation  
Tonnage:   Position:    
Size:   Condition:    
One of the many tank and infantry landing craft to be found in Portland  
waters, sunk during preparation of the D-day landings of June 1944.  
Earl of Abergavenny  


15m Sunk: 5th Feb 1805  
Type:   Reason: Ran aground  
Tonnage: 1,400 tonnes Position:    
Size:   Condition: Broken  
The Earl of Abergavenny was one of the East India Company's largest  
and finest ships. In 1805 she struck the Shambles Bank. Amongst  
the 250 lost lives was that of Captain John Wordsworth, brother of the  
great poet. She now lies in Weymouth Bay.  


7m Sunk: 1900s
Type:   Reason: Hit the rocks
Tonnage:   Position:  
Size:   Condition: Completely broken
There's hardly anything left of the Preveza apart from a small section  
poking out from the pebble seabed. Interestingly, over the last few  
years more and more of the wreck is becoming visible as the winter
storms rearrange the pebbles. Today, it's often used as a tie off point
for controlled ascent lines during training courses. The wreckage lies
about 15 metres from the shore line depending on tide. To find it by
transits, swim out from the ramp at Chesil Cove and line up the third  
lamp post with the monument up at Portland Heights Hotel. For the second transit, line up the end of
the rail on the promenade with the chimney of the nearest house in Brandy Row (the road leading to
the Cove).  
Back to map & site list
Back to map & site list
Aerials - drift dive Ferry Bridge
Adelaide (Royal) Grove Point
Balaclava Bay Himalayas
Barnston HMS Hood
Blacknor Point James Fennel
Bombardon Unit Landing Craft - Chesil
Bottle Bank Landing Craft - in harbour 1
Bournemouth Landing Craft - in harbour 2
Chesil Cove Preveza
Church Ope Cove Pulpit Rock
Countess of Erne Queenie
Earl of Abergavenny Sand Dredger
Enecuri Spaniard

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