Diving - Bay of a Thousand Wrecks
For centuries, Lyme Bay was considered the only safe anchorage to shelter
during storms. Even so, many vessels still came to grief and Lyme Bay itself is now so
littered with wrecks that it is often referred to as 'The Bay of a Thousand Wrecks'.
During the days of sail, Chesil Beach frequently proved a death trap to any vessel caught
there in a winter storm. Hence its occasional reference to 'Deadman's Bay'.
Today, there are numerous shipwrecks to explore for the diving enthusiast and
boats to take you there from West Bay Harbour (Bridport Harbour).
Below is a list of some of the wrecks to be found in The Bay.
|HMS Empress of India (sister ship to Hood)
In 2004, divers discovered the remains of a shipwreck off West Bay
thought to date back to the early 17th Century. Several cannon, an anchor and iron bars
have been uncovered by moving shingle. Culture Minister David Lammy announced that the
wreck site has been designated under the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973. This Order will
protect the site from being damaged by unauthorised interference from divers.
The site, reported to English Heritage, lies just to the west of the Outer Pollock Reef in
the approaches to West Bay Harbour. Two dive investigations by Wessex Archaeology
confirmed the presence of a bronze gun as well as a large quantity of iron bars, a small iron
gun and a small anchor. The designated area is a 50 metre radius from position:
Latitude 50º 42.244' North / Longtitude 02º 46.708' West.
This designation at West Bay brings the total number of historic wreck sites around Britain
to 57, joining the ranks of famous wrecks such as Henry Vlll's famous flagship, the 'Mary Rose'.