The remains of the Titanic, perhaps the most infamous shipwreck in history, lie 12,500 feet underwater. The closest most people can hope to get to the wreckage is by watching documentaries. With approximately 3 million sunken ships all over the world, there are plenty that are closer to the surface and open for exploration. Many are purposely sunk for that particular reason.
Deeper dives require more advanced training, but beginner shipwreck enthusiasts have several opportunities to get their feet wet. The varying depths, histories, ecosystems, and locations of these shipwrecks make them some of the best in the world for beginners.
8 USS Kittiwake - Grand Cayman
The USS Kittiwake sailed the seas for several decades, operated by a crew dedicated to marine rescue operations and deep-sea exploration. The crew aboard the Kittiwake retrieved the black box from the 1986 Challenger space shuttle disaster, making it a ship worth diving for.
In 2011, it was sunk purposefully for wreck diving as a way to pay homage to the countless divers who served on its decks. The USS Kittiwake is located only 800 yards off the shore of Seven Mile Beach, with a maximum depth of 60 feet. Before it was sunk, several entrances and exit holes were cut in the ship to make navigating the wreck an easier task.
7 Hilma Hooker - Caribbean Netherlands
Hilma Hooker was named five times before she earned her final name in 1979. Interestingly enough, the vessel sank once before but was refloated for almost a decade. Drug enforcement agencies had their eyes on the Hilma Hooker, and when over 25,000 pounds of marijuana was discovered in 1984, the ship was docked in Bonaire. Water began to fill the boat. The ship was towed offshore, where it sank 100 feet to its final resting place.
It's within swimming distance from shore, which makes it easily accessible for beginner divers. Its location near two coral reefs means divers are guaranteed to witness a colorful underwater landscape filled with marine life.
6 SS Benwood - Florida
The SS Benwood served as a steam-powered cargo ship before a collision off the coast of Key Largo, Florida ended its tenure in 1942. The other ship remained afloat, while the SS Benwood was deemed irreparably damaged by a salvage tug crew. It lies on a slope of sand at a maximum depth of 45 feet. The calm waters make this a suitable spot for newcomers.
The amount of time that has passed since the sinking has given birth to a significant ecosystem that utilizes the ship as a shelter. Marine plants grow from the wreckage, a delightful combination of nature and man tucked beneath the ocean's surface.
5 Bajan Queen - Barbados
The Bajan Queen became a party boat after retiring from its duties as a tugboat during the construction of the Bridgetown Harbor in the 1960s. The boat was a hot spot for several years before it was donated to the Coastal Zone Management Unit, which sunk it in 2002 at the Carlisle Bay Marine Park.
The wreck begins only a few yards from the surface, which makes it one of the most easily accessible wrecks in Carlisle Bay (there are several). With a length of 120 feet, it is the largest sunken ship in the area. The Bajan Queen offers penetration diving. This means divers can enjoy exploring the insides of the ship in addition to the burgeoning coral landscapes outside of it. It's a beginner dive that's sure to leave an impression.
4 Prince Albert - Honduras
Prince Albert served as an escape vessel for refugees fleeing to Honduras from Nicaragua. After its honorable mission, the ship was decommissioned and remained in the French harbor for many years. It was sunk for divers in 1985.
Prince Albert sits upright 65 feet below the surface of the water. It is considered a great beginner spot due to its easy accessibility. It's located near mangroves, which serve as a great habitat for several varieties of marine life. The ship itself is largely covered in coral and sponges, and divers report seeing large schools of silversides swimming around the ship.
3 Lesleen M - St. Lucia
The Lesleen M is yet another ship sunk on purpose. The retired cargo vessel was laid to rest in 1986 to promote coral growth in the area. It does not disappoint. The 165-foot ship is open for penetration diving, its many corridors home to diverse clusters of coral. It's considered an easy dive due to the calm waters and high levels of visibility. Divers can expect to see several aquatic animals, including lobsters, angelfish, and even eels.
2 Chrisoula K - Egypt
Unlike many of the other wrecks on this list, the Chrisoula K was not sunk on purpose. The freight ship collided with the reef of Shaab Abu Nuhas near Egypt, sinking with all its cargo still on board. Luckily, no one was killed. For a long time, the front of the freighter remained above the surface of the water, but waves have concealed the entirety of the vessel over the years.
Like the others, the wreck is filled with marine life, but it's also filled with something special. The Chrisoula K was carrying massive amounts of tile when it sank, and the remnants of both intact and broken tiles litter the inside of the ship and ocean floor. The maximum depth of the ship is 100 feet, with portions as shallow as 13 feet, making it an easier dive.
1 Fujukawa Maru - Micronesia
The Fujikawa Maru sank in 1944 after being hit repeatedly by U.S. bombers. Before the fatal hits, the ship had been struck by torpedoes the year before but was repaired. Because it was a Japanese Navy ship, the Fujikawa Maru contains fighter aircraft. It's located in the Chuuk lagoon of Micronesia, sitting at a maximum depth of only 60 feet. It is a stunning display of manmade machinery coexisting with a diverse marine ecosystem. Divers can expect to see corals, barracudas, and maybe even gray sharks!