The H.M.S. Vixen - Shipwreck Diving Bermuda

H.M.S. Vixen was a three-masted, steam-driven British gunboat, built and launched in England at Deptford in 1867. She was a strange craft. Her iron hull was sheathed with teak in an experimental effort to overcome the problems the new ironclad ships were having with marine organisms. She was an inside-out ironclad, and a marine disaster. Far from curing the problems, the teak sheathing added to them. It produced drag and added to her overall weight, thus making her the Royal Navy’s slowest ironclad and rendering her nine-foot ram useless. The ship was basically unseaworthy, though she was the Royal Navy’s first twin-screwed vessel. She was withdrawn from service in 1887 and taken to Bermuda as a part of the islands’ coastal defense system. In 1896 she was stripped of her engines and fittings and scut tled in a narrow channel off Daniel’s Head to block the way against possible attacks against the Royal Naval Dockyard.

The old ship lies just where the Royal Naval engineers left her. Her bow sticks up above the surface and her hull is still pretty much intact. She has been classified as a protected wreck, which means
you’ll need a permit to scuba dive over the wreck, though you won’t need one to snorkel. For permit information, contact the Bermuda Department of Marine and Ports, 441-295-6575.

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