Scuba Destination Spotlight #18: Scapa Flow, Scotland

Part dive spot part maritime archaeology, Scapa Flow is a historic dive spot that offers the largest concentration of diveable wrecks in the world.

In 1919, a German fleet that consisted of many warships was consigned to the bottom of the sea. What was regarded as the greatest marine salvage operation in history, starting from the 1920s, it continued until 1946.

Divers today can enjoy the world-class wrecks, but the situation of the sunken vessels prompts the imagination. It would’ve been wonderful to be able to see the wrecks in-situ.

Scuba Diving in Scapa Flow, Scotland

Scapa Flow diving

Today, only eight vessels of the German High Seas remain as a token of the naval history of Scapa Flow. These include three Battleships – the Markgraf, Kronprinz Wilhelm, and Koenig. Each of the wrecks is 177 meters in length.

Four other smaller cruisers also lie in the seabed – the Dresden, Brummer, Coln, and Karlsruhe.

The sunken vessels at Scapa Flow are at a depth of 24 to 45 meters deep, with the visibility occasionally extending to 20 meters.

Another interesting wreck right next to these is the destroyer V-83 at a depth of 12 meters next to the island of Rysa Little.

Other vessels have been deliberately sunk where the Churchill barriers were built, and this resulted in exceptional diving sites. Because of fast moving water, there is a great diversity of marine life that is constantly attracted to the wrecks, which makes the easily spotted.

The Scapa Flow wrecks are a history lesson as much as a scuba diving one. It’s interesting – to say the least – when diving around these waters, because nowhere else in the world is there such a concentration of wrecks in a single area.

When diving, make sure to always keep an eye to your surroundings, because getting lost is easier than it seems.

Scapa Flow diving

Scapa Flow diving


Related: Scuba Destination Spotlight #17: Azores, Portugal


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Justin Carmack
Justin is a dive master and world traveler on a mission to dive and document the top 100 dive sites in the world. In doing this he hopes to bring love for the marine environment to the world!

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