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St.Lawrence River Dive Sites

The St. Lawrence River offers some of the best freshwater diving in the world. Wreck dives, shore dives, drift dives, you'll find them all here. Factor in water temperatures rising beyond 75° at peak season and great visibility (thank you zebra mussels!), a trip to the 1000 Islands Region is a sure bet to satisfy divers of varying levels of experience and preferences.

*** Please note the following dive site information is for general use only. Scuba divers and/or snorkellers are responsible for obtaining up-to-date information regarding depths, current, accessibility and certification levels required.***

Eastcliffe Hall
This 343 Ft. long steel freighter struck a shoal at 4 am and sank within minutes. There were nine lives lost and twelve survivors. This shipwreck sits very close to the main shipping channel of the St. Lawrence River. The forward super structure has been dynamited back into the forward hold to clear the site as a navigational hazard. The current is usually very strong. There are open cargo holds that may provide shielding from the currents. Eastcliffe Hall is located approximately 3/4 of a mile south of Chrysler Marina in Morrisburg, Ontario.

Muscallonge
Originally the steamer Vigilant she was launched at Port Huron, Michigan on April 23, 1896. In 1913 she was renamed the Muscallonge. On August 15 1936, while towing the barge Hudson from Montreal to Toronto she caught fire as she approached Brockville. Attempts to have a fire pumper come to the rescue failed, as the Muscallonge burned the fuel tanks on her exploded she then collapsed into the river. The "Muskie" is known for its large abundance of fish.

Robert Gaskin
Originally a three masted wooden barge, it was launched at Kingston, Ontario on April 21, 1863. In 1889 the Gaskin was being used as a salvage barge to help salvage the railroad ferry Armstrong that had sunk, during this process the Gaskin sank three times, with the third time on September 18th, 1889 being the final time. A large anchor is located off the bow of the Gaskin. Almost a must for visiting divers, the Robert Gaskin sits a half mile downstream from the Brockville waterfront and river focal point, "Blockhouse Island" and lies perpendicular to the current at a 55 Ft. depth at the bow, and 70 Ft. at the stern which sticks out towards the channel and shipping lane. The upstream shipping channel is very close to the stern and caution is advised.

J.B. King
The "King" was a 140 Ft. wooden drill barge owned by John P. Porter and sons of St. Catharine. She was engaged in drilling and blasting to deepen the "narrows" to 27 Ft. when she was struck by lightning and exploded June 26, 1930. U.S. Revenue Cutter "Succor" (CG 211) was patrolling nearby and heard the explosion, racing to the scene recovered 10 of the total 11 that survived out of a total 43 that had been onboard. The site is just north of Cockburn Island in quick current and runs to 155 Ft. of depth at the edge of the downstream lane of the shipping channel.

McCoy Refugee Drift

Lillie Stoven Drift


Lillie Parsons
A two masted "Fore and Aft" rigged centreboard schooner built in Tonawanda N.Y. in 1868, it was sailing with 500 tons of coal destined for Brockville when on August 5, 1877 a sudden squall shifted her cargo and pinned her against an island letting her take water, capsizing and sinking her. The large rudder sits proudly upstream with a broad square stern resting on the rock ledges that support her. The masts jut from beneath her and run out into the channel, while a visit to the vessels bottom shows the drop centre board secured in the casing midship. Located on the upstream/channel side of Sparrow Island in the Brockville "narrows", the "Lillie" is one of Ontario's most famous wrecks. Accessing the site from the corner of Sparrow Island at the anchor on shore, one can follow the chain to the bow.

Henry C. Daryaw
The Henry C. Daryaw, a steel freighter built in France in 1919, struck a shoal on November 21, 1941 and capsized. The bow area has a number of items of interest to divers. Many divers enjoy a visit up to the keel of the Daryaw to do the "keel walk". This area lets you view the gash in her bottom that sent her to her fate. Located upstream from the Brockville "narrows", the Daryaw rests upside down at a depth of 95 ft. with a very quick surface current. Divers are continually impressed with the large twin props and rudder that meet them as they descend the buoy line.


Kingshorn
April 27, 1897, the tug Hiram A Walker under Captain Boyd headed for Grenadier Island where the Captain of the Kingshorn reported his craft leaking badly. The Walker headed for Rockport with the injured barge however lost her 1/2 mile from Rockport in 90 ft. of water. Located directly in front of the Customs Office, this wooden vessel sits in 90 ft. of water and unfortunately in the middle of the small boat shipping channel.

Ash Island Barge

Rockport Wall Drift

SHORE DIVES

Conestoga
The Conestoga a double planked propeller ship. Launched July 6, 1878 it sank May 22, 1922. The bow of the vessel is oriented upstream and towards the shore. Most of her hull is intake but her deck is gone. The wreck is exited from the bow. This wreck is accessed off County Road 2 and Dundas St. in Cardinal.

Wee Hawk
The 70 Ft. tug boat Wee Hawk was mistakenly called the Kitty Hawk and is not an attractive dive site, and penetration should not be practiced without considerable training and experience. The silt inside churns up very easily and visibility is very poor. Diver access into the water is at the closed lock gate just east of the wreck. Near Lock 28, this site has become a great picnic area and has many attributes dive training sites need. This wreck is accessed off County Road 2 just 1/2 mile west of Cardinal, Ontario. This hull sits just west of lock 28 just upstream from the Conestoga.

Rothesay
The Rothesay a twin side-wheeler paddle steamer, launched February 2, 1867 at St. John New Brunswick. Was relocated to service the Montreal to Prescott run where she met her fate September, 2 1889 by colliding with the American tug "Myra". In 1901 a group from the Royal Military College, Kingston used this wreck for explosives practice which flattened her mid section, though stern and bow remain relatively intact. The rope from shore meets Rothesay about the midsection near the paddlewheels where you can still view the rocker arm and paddles outlined. The bottom here is firm with weed growth between the Rothesay and the shore, however the site has little current and remains an enjoyable visit. One of Eastern Ontario's most famous wreck sites,. West of Prescott, Ontario on Hwy #2.

Lock 28
This is an excellent current dive, with plenty of fish and old bottles. The main river is accessible from the lock system. Walk the site prior to entry to the water, entry and exit areas are hard to find. This wreck is accessed off Highway # 2 , and Gallop Canal Rd. East of Cardinal.

Windmill Site: Historic Battle Site
Approximately 300 Canadian refugees and American sympathizers launch an attack on the town of Prescott, lasting 7 days. The entire invading platoon was captured. Points of interest at this site are: American eels, parts of the foundation from the old mill, cannon balls etc. This site is accessed off County Road 2 and Windmill Rd. East of Prescott.

Fort Wellington / Old Coal Docks
The old docks were originally constructed in 1812, than rebuilt in 1837. This area provides a good feeding ground for fish, large and small. There are two lifeboats located in approximately 55 feet of water about 300 ft off shore. Park your vehicle in the Marina’s parking lot and carry your gear to the site. Entry into the water is a gradual slope, easy access.

Divers Playground
“About 2000 people gathered on the town dock to watch a sailboat sink to create the first artificial reef for scuba divers in the St. Lawrence River” (Prescott Journal, May 26, 1999). “This summer, as part of the Prescott Harbour Days on May 24, the Sea N’ Sky Scuba club will be sinking an old relic of a boat (S.S. Prescott) in about 40 ft. of water just off the shore in Prescott. ‘It’s the sinking of the St. Lawrence River’s first artificial reef!”

The Diver’s Playground is one of Ontario’s most popular training areas. This underwater roped off area containing: 3 large anchors and other underwater items make this an interesting dive site. This site is accessed off Highway # 2 and Center St in Downtown Prescott.

Habour Drift
Excellent current dive. Entry point Diver’s Playground, exit point Old Docks. Drift takes about 30 to 35 minutes. Approx. depth 35-40 ft. Wide variety of fish life, and interesting bottom contours.

Waterhouse Drift
Excellent current dive. Entry point Prescott Waterhouse ( Mary St. Prescott) , exit point Diver’s Playground. Drift takes about 30 to 35 minutes. Approx. depth 30-40 ft. Wide variety of fish life, interesting items may be found in front of Coast Guard Building.

Mega Drift
Excellent current dive. Good air consumption rate is mandatory. Drift takes approx 60 to 75 minutes. Entry point Rothesay, exit point Diver’s Playground. Drift takes about 60 to 75 minutes. Approx. depth 30-40 ft. Wide variety of fish life, interesting items may be found in front of Coast Guard Building.

Lock 21
Located at the upper entrance to 11 mile long Cornwall Canal, built to circumvent the rapids of Long Sault. Constructed in 1886 / 86 as part of the enlargement of the canal system. Flooded in 1958 as headwater for Hydro dam at Cornwall. Divers have placed lines from various points to aid in exploration.

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