Best Scuba Diving Sites in North Carolina

Best Scuba Diving Sites in North Carolina
North Carolina has built a formidable reputation among scuba divers, based firmly on the presence of so many good shipwrecks that the local waters have been dubbed "the graveyard of the Atlantic." North Carolina's coastal seas are also one of the best places on the Atlantic seaboard for divers to have close encounters with big fish. Alongside the Gulf Coast, the state is a major magnet for American divers living east of the Mississippi.


This World War II U-boat is an example of the kind of wreck diving that waits off North Carolina. A Type VII-C submarine, the boat attacked and was then forced to the surface by the U.S. Coast Guard cutter USS Icarus in May 1942. The crew scuttled the submarine rather than allow its capture, and so while it took some damage from the Icarus, the U-352 went to the bottom relatively intact. It sits in roughly 100 feet of water, making it a good wreck for advanced recreational divers. The local visibility is high, ranging between 50 and 100 feet, depending on the weather, and currents are usually low.

USS Spar

The Coast Guard cutter USS Spar was sunk deliberately as part of the artificial reef program. It settled on its keel, making it a visually spectacular and very dive-friendly wreck. Sitting in 100 feet of water, the wreck has some opportunities for even novice wreck divers to penetrate the ship. It has also become home to a number of sand tiger sharks. These sharks grow to be about 13 feet long and look fearsome enough but are in reality quite docile and harmless to humans. Resting about 500 feet away is another ship that was sunk as part of the artificial reef program, the tanker Aeolus. These two wrecks are often combined as a two-dive day trip.

The Papoose

The Papoose was a freighter that was torpedoed by German U-boats in March 1942. It is relatively intact but came to rest upside down. The depth is between 100 and 125 feet, and while visibility is usually good, local currents can be unpredictable. Sometimes water currents are low, and sometimes they are very high. Besides the wreck, the main attraction of diving here are the sand tigers. On a good day, there may be as many as 20 of these sharks in residence around the wreck, making it one of the best places to go looking for them in North Carolina's waters.

Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

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