A Guide to Shipwreck Dives in the Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands are known around the world as one of the Caribbean’s best diving destinations.

And while numerous aspects create such an appealing prospect for divers, the shipwrecks in the waters off Grand Cayman are highly popular.

At Red Sail Sports, we have been leaders in Grand Cayman Scuba Diving experiences for decades.

As such, we have a deep knowledge of the turquoise waters surrounding our paradise island and the hidden treasures beneath the waves.

We’ve used our expertise to put together this Guide to Shipwreck Dives in Grand Cayman.

Keep scrolling down to find all the information you need to know!
And if you have any questions about our scuba diving tours or boat excursions, please feel free to get in touch.

USS Kittiwake: One of Grand Cayman’s Most Famous Dive Sites!

In a highly competitive field, the wreck of the USS Kittiwake is easily one of the best and most renowned dive sites in Grand Cayman and the Cayman Islands. 

This 251-foot former submarine rescue vessel was intentionally sunk in 2011 to create an artificial reef teeming with marine life. 

As you explore its well-preserved decks and chambers, keep an eye out for curious sea turtles, vibrant tropical fish, and perhaps even a sneaky moray eel lurking in the shadows. 

With multiple entry points and a maximum depth of 64 feet, this dive is perfect for both beginners and seasoned wreck enthusiasts.
Are you ready for an adventure at this incredible wreck site? Read all about our amazing 2-Tank Kittiwake Wreck Dive.

Oro Verde: The Ship that Ran Aground After Mutiny

After running aground on a reef in 1976 following a mutiny, the Oro Verde lay stranded until it was eventually sunk in 1980. 

Today, this scattered wreck rests on a sandy bottom, creating an ideal habitat for an array of marine species. 

As you swim past the corroded hull and rusted relics, the ghostly charm of this underwater time capsule will leave you spellbound.

Keep your eyes peeled for majestic eagle rays gliding gracefully through the water, enhancing the sense of otherworldly wonder.
Located off Seven Mile Beach, the Oro Verde wreck is a popular site on our Grand Cayman west coast dives, including the 2-Tank AM West Wall Dive.

The Gamma: A Haven for Marine Life

Dive into the vibrant world of The Gamma, a 100-foot-long cargo ship that met its watery fate during a storm in 1981.

This wreck sits in only around 9ft of water and is around 20ft away from the shore at the southern end of Seven Mile Beach.

As such, it’s a perfect snorkel site! And due to how easy it is to access, it’s absolutely worth a visit.

It’s not recommended for absolute beginners, and anyone swimming out to the wreck is advised to stay around 5ft away from it at all times to avoid injury on sharp metal edges.

Are you interested in snorkeling as well as diving? You’ll love our range of Seven Mile Beach snorkeling excursions.
And if you’re staying in the Seven Mile Beach area during your vacation, make sure you read our Visitor’s Guide to Grand Cayman’s Seven Mile Beach!

Balboa: Discover Underwater Mysteries

Embark on a captivating voyage to the Balboa, a wreck that lies in the depths just off Grand Cayman’s shores. 

The remnants of this freighter, which sank during a hurricane in 1932, have become a fascinating playground for divers. 

This is a true “wreck” as most of the ship is no longer intact. However, due to the thriving marine life and fascinating relics, this is still a wonderful dive site.

If you get the chance to dive the Balboa, expect to see coral, sponges, tarpon, and so much more.

However, due to its location in the main transfer channel between George Town Dock and visiting cruise ships, it’s becoming more difficult to dive here.
Do you also want to visit the breathtaking dive sites on Grand Cayman’s east coast? Browse our East End scuba diving experiences to find out more!

Cali Wreck: A Colorful Underwater Oasis

Prepare to be enchanted by the vibrant beauty of the Cali wreck, a sunken four-mast schooner resting in the crystal-clear waters just north of Georgetown. 

When the Cali sank in 1944, it was deemed a hazard to navigation. As a result, the boat was blown up!

Today, the remains of this wreck — such as the ship’s ribs, hull, winches, and boilers — create a mesmerizing oasis for coral formations and an abundance of marine creatures. 

As you navigate through this underwater paradise, you’ll encounter colorful angelfish, parrotfish, tarpon, and delicate sea fans swaying in the gentle current. 

With an average depth of 26 to 30 feet, this dive welcomes both beginners and seasoned photographers eager to capture nature’s kaleidoscope.

Do you still need to qualify for your diving certification, or refresh your diving skills?

At Red Sail Sports, we also provide a wide range of dive courses in Grand Cayman, ensuring you don’t miss out on incredible diving experiences.

Pallas Wreck: Dive into History

Located off the coast of Grand Cayman, the Pallas Wreck offers divers a glimpse into history. 

This three-mast iron sailing ship was built in 1875 before sinking during a hurricane in 1910. The wreck sits in shallow water, but the effects of time and nature have eaten away at the ship.

But the good news is that what remains of the wreck is teeming with tropical fish and coral formations.

When combined with Grand Cayman’s famous outstanding visibility, the Pallas Wreck is a joy to explore.

Doc Poulson: A Photographer’s Dream

Prepare for a thrilling adventure as you dive into the deep waters surrounding the Doc Poulson wreck. 

This impressive 80-foot-long is a former Japanese cable-laying ship that now rests at a depth of approximately 60 feet. 

As you descend, you’ll witness the ship’s imposing silhouette emerge from the blue. 

Much like the USS Kittiwake, the Doc Poulson was also purposefully sunk to create an artificial reef.

The wreck sits on a bed of white sand and the water here has startling clarity.

When combined with the impressive coral, sponges, sea fans, and diverse marine life, this is as much an underwater photography studio as it is a shipwreck dive site!

Have you looked into transportation options for your time in Grand Cayman yet?
Check out our previous guide How to Get Around in the Cayman Islands for tips and advice from locals!

LCM David Nicholson: A Coral-Rich Wrecks

Sunk in front of the Sunset House Hotel, the LCM David Nicholson was a small landing craft.

Sitting at a depth of around 65ft, the wreck has witnessed an explosion of coral growth.

Expect to see tall purple finger sponges and yellow tube sponges as well as angel fish, snappers, sergeant majors, and plenty more fish species.

Discover a Breathtaking Underwater World with Our Grand Cayman Scuba Diving

We hope this Guide to Shipwreck Dives in the Cayman Islands has inspired you to start planning your adventure here in paradise.

And remember, this list is only an introduction to the many incredible diving experiences you can find in Grand Cayman.

Find out more about the adventures waiting for you by browsing our range of Grand Cayman Scuba Diving tours.
And if you have any questions about anything you see, please feel free to contact us.

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