Scuba Destination Spotlight #16: SS Oriskany Wreck, Florida

The world largest artificial reef, also called the Mighty O, and the Great Carrier Reef, is an intentionally sunk aircraft carrier, and is one of the three available worldwide to dive in. It was sunk in May 2006, this former Essex-class US Navy Carrier has survived action from both the Korean and Vietnam wars, and now rests in peace 65 meters below the sea, and 35 kilometers south of Pensacola, Florida.

Diving in Oriskany Wreck

scuba diving in Oriskany Wreck, Florida

An adventure not to be taken lightly, the Oriskany Wreck is a bucket-list must-see for any wreck lover. Its unmatched size and length are the main attraction of this dive spot, and it outranks its two main competitors – the USS Saratoga in Bikini Atoll and HMS Hermes in Sri Lanka.

Because of the risks associate with the dive, regional operators from Pensacola to Alabama have created and adhere to specialized dive plans to ensure the safety of the divers. Going to the bottom is reserved only for the well-equipped and properly trained. The operators constantly remind divers to orient themselves with the control tower, and suggest people don’t leave the superstructure of the wreck.

Besides of the depth and size of the wreck, the other biggest challenge, especially for recreational divers, is managing air consumption. The visibility is always high – 20 to 30 meters – so it’s easy to exceed your planned depth. The most enticing part of the dive is the flight deck, and seemingly everyone wants to go there, but at a depth of 45 meters it’s best left to the experience ones, because air management is key.

The Oriskany Wreck is a special part of history, and should be on the bucket-list for any enthusiastic diver. It’s said that many of the divers come back to this spot repeatedly because there’s just something special about diving on the bottom of the ocean while exploring an aircraft carrier.

Related: Guide to Scuba Diving Florida

scub diving in Oriskany Wreck, Florida

scub diving in Oriskany Wreck, Florida

scub diving in Oriskany Wreck, Florida

Did you see last week’s scuba destination spotlight?