Swansea Channel Wreck


Not much is currently known about this wreck, a lot of the locals think it is just another reef out in the channel.

Speaking to some locals, some believe that it was an old fishing boat, others say that it was an old coal barge that operated from the old coal gantry that was located less than 500 metres away from the wrecks final resting location. (See Swansea northern channel drift)


The wreck location is about 100 metres off the beach, half way down from the entrance to Black Neds Bay and Mats Point.

This wreck can either be snorkeled or one may decide to scuba dive on it, maximum depth is @ 2 metres deep on the bow at high tide, so in this authors opinion it is much easier to snorkel the wreck.

It can be accessed from either a boat or from shore. If accessing from a boat or any other smaller vessel extreme caution should be adhered, as there are many shallow areas in this vicinity outside of the main channel.

From the shore (see map below), which is my favourite method, one would make way to the entrance to Black Neds Bay and proceed to snorkel across to the sand spit on the opposite side. (Note: extreme caution should be noted here as this entrance is only narrow and cruisers are moored just inside the entrance).

Once on the sand, start walking along the beach to the halfway point as noted early. Look out towards a wooden pole and start walking/swimming towards it. When viewing this pole one may see a dark reef formation between you and the pole, aim for this reef as it should be the wreck.









The first line of sight is looking back toward the entrance of Black Neds Bay. Line up the end of the rockwall with the corner of the house.









This 2nd line of sight involves the left hand side of the roof of the Swansea Bridge control tower in line with the recess of the clock tower to Paris Apartments.










The 3rd line of sight involves the hotel on the northbound side of thePacific Highway. Line up the pine trees with the left hand side of the main building or else the hotel sign with the right hand side of the main building.











The fourth line of sight involves the pole previously mentioned. Line up the pole with the red terracotta roof behind. About 40 metres away from this pole on a heading of 220 degrees to the southwest






The bow of the wreck, which is the deepest section @ 2 metres deep, is lying on a heading of 145 degrees to the southeast. It has a beam of 4.3 metres and a length of @ 17metres (true length is unknown at this stage due to part of the stern being under sand).

The main section  (boiler) is situated 1.5 metres in from the sides of the wreck, 7.5 metres from the bow and is 5 metres long (part of this section is exposed at low tide).

Forward of the boiler one can find a small hold measuring only 1.6 * 1.7 wide. In this area here, many fish (see below) inhabit this area as well as various forms of sponges and corals.

Along the sides of the boiler one can view the decking ribs.


Fish life such as Fortesques, Crested Morwongs, Maori Wrasse, Stripeys, Sergeant Majors, Silver Sweeps, White Ears have been commonly found here.

Warning: Blue Ringed Octopus may inhabit this area.


As this wreck is just outside of the main channel, extreme caution should still be adhered to. Swansea Channel is extremely tidal due to the fact thatLake Macquarie (the lake that the channel feeds into) is four times larger than Sydney Harbour and when the narrowest section of the channel is the bridge area (@ 100 metres across), a lot of water is moving through a small area at once.

Try to avoid snorkeling/scuba diving this wreck on an outgoing tide (unless your off a boat) as you may find yourself with a nasty longer swim or walk back. As well as the wreck is susceptible to bad visibility on the outgoing tide due to its close proximity to Black Ned’s bay.

My personal preference is to snorkel the wreck on an incoming tide. This will aid you in making your way back to the entrance of Black Neds Bay, as well as providing cleaner water, or if you’re a little adventurous you may decide to continue along the wall in front of the Swansea RSL and exit either here or the boat ramp for the Swansea Bridge dive.
I encourage those doing this wreck from the shore to have a surface float attached to you at a safe distance due to the boating traffic in the vicinity.








This photo shows the boiler as seen from the port side of the wreck. Note the depth of the water between the top of the boiler to the sea level.










This photo shows the bow section, the deepest part of the wreck. Note the growth on the bow of the wreck.










This photo shows the decking ribs on the portside of the wreck.









This photo shows looking along the starboard side of the wreck towards the bow.