We have compiled this page to help
acquaint divers with some specific issues related to the Oriskany artificial reef and to remind divers of some basic
scuba safety protocols that should be applied for a safe dive.
Due to its depth, distance from shore, and potential currents,
all divers should gain appropriate training, equipment and
experience before diving the Oriskany. At all times divers
should follow the guidelines and safe diving practices provided
during their training.
The Oriskany Reef was deployed on the morning of
May 17, 2006 at a depth of 212 feet, located approximately 22.5
nautical miles southeast of Pensacola Pass. This position and
water depth was selected in order to maintain the 55-foot
vertical navigational clearance required by US Army Corps of
Engineers permit. Because the ship is wider than it is tall,
and there was no guarantee that the ship would not land on her
side, the ship's 157-foot beam was used to determine the
necessary 212 ft. seafloor depth. The Oriskany is located at
the exact planned coordinates, sitting perfectly upright on the
seafloor in a north-south orientation with the bow facing due
All about the sinking of this great vessel.
Essential training needed to dive.
The depth gauge measurements on the Oriskany
recorded by FWC divers on May 18, 2006 (the day after the ship
was deployed) were as follows, and as illustrated in the diagram
Flight deck at mid-island = 135 feet
Top of forward bridge = 106 feet
Tip of aft gun platform = 97 feet
Top of forward gun platform = 95 feet
Top deck level on island = 71 feet
Highest part of structure = 68 feet
Please use these depths as reference points to
plan your dive based on your level of scuba training,
experience, proficiency and equipment. Since all dives are to be
done as a buddy team, maximum depths should be planned based on
the buddy with the lowest level of training, experience,
proficiency and equipment.
The FWC would like to remind scuba divers of
several basic safety issues that are consistent with all scuba
- Never dive beyond your training level. Going to the deck
of the Oriskany (135 feet) or beyond requires technical
- Divers should have advance training to go beyond 100
feet (however there is plenty to see above 100 feet).
- Divers should have advanced wreck (or cave) training to
penetrate the ship in an overhead environment. No
modifications have been made to the ship to accommodate
- Dive your deepest part of the dive first (whatever depth
you plan to do), stay a very short time, the rest of the
dive will be decompression and can be done safely.
- Plan your dive and dive your plan.
- Plan on a very slow accent.
- Plan on doing a longer safety stop, perhaps 5 minutes at
15 feet (normally 3 minutes).
- Always stay hydrated.
- Always us the buddy system and know your buddy's gear.
- Always have someone at the surface and never leave your
boat unattended while diving.
- Always carry a visual signal device such as an
inflatable ‘safety sausage' to signal your location in the
event you and/or your team become separated from your anchor
line and surface away from your boat.
- Always check the marine forecast and use safe boating
practices while traveling to and from the Oriskany.
Because the Oriskany is in deep water and can be
affected by strong water currents, divers are strongly
encouraged to use extreme caution when diving this reef. Always
begin the dive into the current so you can go downstream with
the current in the later part of the dive. Stay on the lee side
of the island, away from the current for most of the dive,
particularly the deeper part of the dive.
Due to the complex nature of the ship's interior
and the unknown extent of structural damages caused by the
reefing process, the FWC recommends that divers should not enter
the ship under any circumstances. Divers should not remove any
items from the ship (it is against the law). All recyclable
materials of value have been previously removed. There is
nothing inside the ship worth dying for! Be safe.
The uppermost structure of the Oriskany is
Latitude 30 degrees 2 minutes 33.3 seconds north (Lat 30o
Longitude 87 degrees 0 minutes 23.8 seconds west. (Lon 87o