Scapa Flow/wrecks

A brief history of Scapa Flow

On Midsummers day, 21st June 1919, the interned German Imperial Navy's High Seas Fleet lay at anchor in Scapa Flow.

It consisted of 74 warships made up of 11 battleships, 8 cruisers & 55 destroyers, their guns disarmed & manned only by a skeleton German crew.

Believing that hostilities were to resume, the commander of the fleet "Rear Admiral Ludwig Von Reuter", raised the international code flags from his flag ship "Emden", and so the pre-arranged coded order to scuttle the fleet was given.

52 of the warships sank completely and the remaining 22 were beached or saved by "Royal Navy Boarding Parties". This was the biggest loss of shipping ever in one day.

There remains in Scapa Flow today, vessels of the Royal Navy sunk in both world wars, as well as 3 German battleships, the Konig, Kronprinz Wilhelm & Markgraf, 4 light cruisers Brummer, Dresden, Coln, & Karlsruhe, destroyers v83 & S54 and one submarine UB -116 as well as the 4,600 ton gun turrets of the Bayern. 3 block ships scuttled by the British to prevent penetration of submarines into Burra Sound, The Tabarka, Doyal & Gobernador Boris, remain on the sea bed to be enjoyed by experienced divers from around the world.


The Wrecks


sms colnSMS Coln

5600 tons Length 155m beam 14m Draught 6.5m

Light Cruiser/Mine Layer

Today the Coln lies in 36m on her starboard side

It is the most intact of the German Fleet, making it a favourite with divers.



sms dresdenSMS Dresden

5600 Tons . Length 155m Beam 14m Draught 6.5m

Light Cruiser/Mine layer

Today lies in at a depth of 28m-38m on her port side, as it is on a slope it makes for a good 1st Sunday morning dive so divers can choose to which depth they prefer.



sms brummerSMS Brummer

4400 tons

Light Cruiser/Mine Layer

Length 140m Beam 13m Draught 6m

Today lies on her starboard side in 36m



sms skarlsruheSMS Karlsruhe

5400 tons

Light Cruiser/Mine Layer

Length 150m Beam 14m Draught 6.3m

Today lies on her port side in 26m

This is the most broken up of the cruisers, but lies in shallower water making it a great second dive



sms kronprinzSMS Kronprinz Wilhelm

26,000 tons


Length 177m, Beam 30m, Draught 8.5m

Today this mighty battleship lies in 39m of water upside down but listing to starboard



SMS KonigSMS Konig

26,000 tons


Length 177m Beam 30m, Draught 8.5m

Lies in 40m of water upside down listing to port



sms maekgrafSMS Markgraf 26,000 tons


Length 177m Beam 30m Draught 8.5m

Lies today in 46m of water upside down listing to port, making it the deepest of the German fleet wrecks


Other dives


V83 950 Tons, 84m x 8.5m x 3.5.

Torpedo Boat Depth to seabed 5-4m

Bayern GunTurrets four 15” gun turrets 600 tons each. Although the guns themselves are not visible, the turrets are worth seeing for their sheer size. A 38m dive to the seabed


F2  82m x 9m x 5.5m WW2 escort vessel, sank in 1946, depth to seabed 16m


Gobernador Bories  2300 tons, An Argentinian freighter built in 1882 & scuttled in 1918, partially broken up allowing easy access. Excellent visibility & teeming with fish life ideal for photographers. It lies almost upright but is only diveable at slack water. Depth to seabed 14-18m


Doyle  1760 Ton Freighter built in 1907, scuttled 1940. Similar to the Gobernador Bories Diveable only at slack water 14-18m to seabed.


Tabarka  2600 ton Freighter built 1909 I scuttled in Burra Sound in 1944. Lies upside down, with plenty of access available to go inside the hull & engine room. Depth to seabed 14-18m


James Barrie 666 tons

40m x 13mx 8m Steam Trawler sank in 1969. An excellent dive with fantastic visibility.

Diveable around slack water


Bottle Dive in Lyness Area

A great dive for rummaging for old bottles, crockery, shell cases etc, although you do need a bit of luck. Depth to sea bed 14m – 18 m


High seas Fleet Scrapyard

Remains from the salvaged wrecks too numerous to list

Depths 10m-44m


Stanger Head

Superb scenic dive on cliff face. Max depth 10m-26m


Barrel of Butter

A possibility to snorkel with the seals


how to book a diving package at the dive cellar


Scapawear online shop

"Many thanks to the team.
It was a great week with sun and amazing dives
Ludo from the Froggy’s dive team"

"Thoroughly enjoyed this place – lots of history, diving and this time the weather did us some favours.
Thanks to all the crew both aboard & ashore
Pete B, Bath BSAC"

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