West Bay, Bridport, Dorset
Jurassic Heritage Coast
West Bay, Bridport, Dorset - Events

West Bay, Bridport

Thursday, 25th July 2024, 12:52pm

West Dorset, UK

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Diving - Bay of a Thousand Wrecks

Scuba Diving

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.

Vessel Name

Date lost

Approx. depth

Ailsa Craig 1918 35 metres
Baygitano 1918 20 metres
Gibel Harnam 1918 30 metres
Heroine 1852 25 metres
HMS Clyde 1881 40 metres
HMS Empress of India (sister ship to Hood) 1913 45 metres
HMS Landrail 1906 30 metres
M2 1932 30 metres
Moidart 1918 35 metres
Pomeranian 1918 35 metres
Radass 1917 30 metres
Salsette 1918 45 metres
St Dunstan 1917 30 metres
UB74 1918 40 metres
Ursa 1918 50 metres

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'.