Malahat Wreck Dive, Powell River, BC

Sister ship to the Malahat Rum Runner - courtesy Vancouver Maritime Museum

In Powell River, the Malahat wreck dive is one way to combine alcohol with diving (historically that is).

The Malahat was a large, 5-masted schooner with an auxiliary engine, built during WW I in Victoria and North Vancouver along with 11 other similar ships.

It is believed her remains are now here in Powell River. Or is it a sister ship instead? Hmmm.

The Sea Hunters have done a couple of shows trying to confirm the true identity and you can see it on this Youtube Malahat Wreck Dive link.

Originally built to transport British Columbia lumber, her claim to fame came as ‘Queen of the rum runners’ during the Prohibition. It was used to transport legal alcohol from Canada down to California, where it would remain in international waters and operate as a floating liquor store.

When the Coast Guard came for a visit, she would sail out to sea and outrun the cutters which would run out of gas, and then turn around and return to off-load her cargo onto smaller boats that took the rum to shore.

After that exciting stint, it is believed she was modified and went back to transporting logs, and then functioned as part of a breakwater until she became a navigation hazard and was scuttled in 1946.

The Malahat Wreck - What's Left?

Malahat Plaque (UASBC) - Photo courtesy Alpha Dive Services, Powell River

The Malahat wreck dive is a nice, convenient shore entry dive, near downtown Powell River.

More details about this and other Powell River dive sites can be found on our Powell River dives page.

And if you want a divemaster to lead you and your buddies, you can arrange a Sunshine Coast escorted dive package.

While there isn't much left of the Malahat, this is still a nice wreck dive with some artifacts and lots of marine life.

Originally 245 feet long, this is a long, spread out dive site now. What also makes it a good dive site is the depth - only 30 feet (10 meters) deep at the bow and 80 feet (25 meters) deep at the stern.

There is a plaque created by the Underwater Archeological Society of BC located near the bow, some of the wooden ribs remain, and there are some steel fuel or water tanks to be found near the stern.

And given the sandy bottom, there is loads of marine life to be found. Giant ling cod can be found, along with loadsof rock fish, greenlings, perch, plumose anemone, sea cucumbers, sunflower starfish, sculpins, nudibranchs, some rock scallops, and sometimes even wolf eels and sea lions come to welcome you aboard.

Finding The Malahat Wreck

Because of the proximity to town and to shore, and the shallow depth, this is a good beginner to advanced dive site, with loads of marine life for photographers.

Entry is simple from the sandy shore, swimming out to the left of the Powell River breakwater. Look for a pipe just before the breakwater turns, and follow it to it's end. At the end, turn right and the Malahat wreck dive remains are just a short swim away.

Directions, dive equipment and air refills can be obtained from nearby Alpha Dive Services, and if you want a divemaster to lead you on an escorted dive safari, you can arrange a Sunshine Coast escorted dive package, which also includes any rental gear you may need.

Please send in your pictures or dive site review like this diver did, and remember to dive safe.

Contact us below if you need help arranging a divemaster or any other Sunshine Coast diving.

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Malahat wreck dive site, Powell River, British Columbia