The HMCS Saskatchewan - Just a few minutes away from Nanaimo, the Artificial Reef Society of British Columbia, sank their fifth carefully prepared wreck on June 14, 1997 to serve as another man-made home for marine life and visiting scuba divers.
Located near Snake Island, just outside of Nanaimo Harbour, the former Saskatchewan is one of Canada's most popular and most dived artificial reefs, and has made our list as one of Vancouver Island's Best dive sites .
This 110 meter (360 foot) ex-Canadian Navy destroyer escort is situated between 12-40 meters (40 – 130 feet) of water.
The location of the former HMCS Saskatchewan has a gentle bottom current which yields excellent visibility year round.
The ARSBC did extensive work to make the Saskatchewan diveable for all skill levels by cutting many large holes quite close to each other the length of the ship.
Although an exit is visible from any entry point along the ship, we recommend that divers receive proper wreck training and certification before penetrating the wreck.
With over 10 years of growth, you can expect to see more than 100 different species of marine life, including huge metre-high plumose anemones, diver-friendly rock fish, massive pink anemones, orange sea pens, multi-coloured nudibranch, and even the occasional seal that visits the wreck and plays with the divers.
Most Nanaimo dive shop operators also combine a dive on the Saskatchewan with a trip to the nearby former HMCS Cape Breton and/or the Rivtow Lion for the ultimate in Nanaimo scuba diving.
This video is of the former HMCS Saskatchewan near Nanaimo, British Columbia, and gives you a pretty good idea of how exciting it is to dive on these artificial wrecks.
This scuba video is quite 'up-beat' and is set to music by Queen, so you might want to check the volume on your speakers.
As mentioned already, these Nanaimo artificial wrecks are fairly deep and are still wrecks even if they are very carefully prepared for divers.
You must be properly trained and certified to penetrate these and any other wrecks.
Contact us if you would like assistance with choosing a dive charter operator for diving this or the other wrecks in the area.
Some viewers prefer to hire a PADI divemaster to accompany them on these wreck dives.