The Shipwrecks

We have notice of over 200 ships that, in the course of hundreds of centuries, have shipwrecked in the waters surrounding Sicily, ranging in age from the fifth century b.C. to present day. Of these wrecks, only 50 have ever been located. While most were lost in catastrophic circumstances – driven ashore, smashed on reefs or foundering at sea – other vessels were simply abandoned when they were no longer valued.

Sicily’s shipwrecks are impressive dive sites. They are mini-reef systems, rich in colourful marine life, and archaeological sites offering rare evidence of past technology, trade and shipboard life.

Time capsules

Shipwreck remains are the archaeological record of a precise moment in time. They are time capsules preserving the physical evidence of a distinct period, culture and locality.
Maritime archaeologists examining Sicily’s shipwreck sites have discovered valuable information about ship construction and life at sea. The remains of cargoes and crew or passenger possessions have provided rare insights into aspects of the region’s settlement, development and trade.

Shipwrecks are fragile, non-renewable heritage resources. Once damaged or disturbed they cannot be replaced.

We have summarized in these pages some of the historical-technical background that is wise to master before joining a guided dive tour, focusing on one wreck at a time. Our list is only limited to those wrecks that you can reach within a depth of 50 metres (160 feet), so well within the limits of recreational diving.