You may have heard it before, but you’re going to hear it again. The World’s Best Fresh Water Scuba Diving can be found in Brockville & the 1000 Islands region! Part of the attraction to this site is the water clarity and has no thermocline. This unique and rewarding diving experience offers exploration of Centeen Memorial Dive Park, century old shipwrecks, and artifacts that are scattered along the river bottom.
Centeen Memorial Dive Park
The Thousand Islands chapter of Save Ontario Shipwrecks, or S.O.S. created the underwater sculpture park about five years ago. The diving attraction is located a short distance into the river from Centeen Park in Brockville. Today the sculpture park boasts 45 pieces of structure, including art sculptures, benches and more! To combat deterioration of the shipwrecks in the area, the park is a popular spot for divers in training. “It is easier and causes less damage to hold onto a cement sculpture or an aluminum frame, than to hold on to a 200-year-old wooden shipwreck that has historical significance and that we want to maintain,” says Tom Scott, chair of the Thousand Islands chapter of S.O.S. This very cool experience takes about 25-35 minutes, and “about 150 divers visit this site each weekend,” reports Scott. Dive tokens can be purchased at these locations for only $10.00 for the year for unlimited access to the Centeen Memorial Dive Park, where funds help maintain, improve and expand the park. Click here for a map of the park.
Brockville provides easy access for shore diving, and you never know what you may find during your dive! “The bottom of the river changes every year with the current, therefore covering and uncovering what lies on the bottom of the river”, explains Scott. Medicine bottles (even some form the 1700s), the first ever pop bottles, and a cannonball from the war of 1812 are some of the many items that have been found just off the shore of Brockville. You can shore dive from Centeen Memorial Dive Park, and from Blockhouse Island’s launch site. Heading east, The Rothesay, a 19th Century wooden side wheeler, is a popular shore dive location.
Shipwrecks near Brockville
Brockville & the 1000 Islands boasts many different ship wreck sites, which make some great dive adventures!
The shipwrecks closest to Brockville include:
- John B. King (a 140 ft wooden drill scow, in 1930 it was hit by lighting, setting of the dynamite charges on the scow) This may be the hardest shipwreck dive in the area due to the strong current, and it’s location on the side of the shipping channel)
- Lillie Parsons (a Centreboard Schooner, in 1877 on her last voyage to Brockville she hit a rock and took on water)
- Muscallonge (a wooden tug boar that caught fire while towing a barge en-route to Toronto).
- Robert Gaskin (a 132 foot three masted wooden barque)
- Sam Cooke (a three masted schooner, run aground by a strong breeze towards Battersby Island).
Find out more about these dive sites and many more, here.
Thinking about diving in to this sport? Dive Brockville and Dive Tech offer training with instructors and S.O.S also has a directory of independent instructors as well. The Save Ontario Shipwrecks (Thousand Islands Chapter) website is a great resource for additional diving info on the area. You can also find them on Facebook!