Plymouth Diving

The Coronation

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History

The Coronation is truly one of the UK’s historic wreck sites. As such she commands respect from divers who understand the importance of this wreck. The Coronation was launched in 1685 and was 140 feet long, weighed 1366 tons and was commanded by Captain Charles Skelton. The Coronation had a ships company of 660 officers and men.

coronationIn 1691 the Coronation was on blockade duty off the French ports. On Sept 1st the Fleet was off Ushant when the weather turned foul and the English fleet made for the safety of Plymouth Sound. In 1691 the breakwater was still 120 years from being built! Any gale from the South or Southwest would make Plymouth sound dangerous to shipping.

The Fleet had two choices 1) Anchor off Penlee or Rame Head and risk dragging onto a lee shore 2) Risk the passage into the Sound. The ships of the Fleet that elected to run into the sound were decimated with a horrific loss of life. The Coronation elected to anchor between Rame Head and Penlee Point. She was by reports "Dismasted with only an ensign flying from her stern". From there on historians can only guess at what series of events took place. Whatever the cause, the Coronation sank with over 500 officers and men. In that one night over a thousand men were killed.

 

 

Diving

 

The Coronation is a protected wreck with remnants scattered over a wide area. There is however a series of reefs that run through the area and make for an interesting dive with diverse marine life supported by the reef structures. It is possible to dive the site at any time as long as the licensee gives permission.  Divers are encouraged to dive the site and the licensee has laid a dive trail and will guide groups if requested.  The the names of the group must be registered first and there is a strict no touch rule as archaeological work is still in progress.  

As you would expect, anything Southerly wind wise causes the site to be extremely choppy however, if the wind is in the North then the site is ideal and is often dived at its best on fresh clear winter days.

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