Aquatic adventure tourism is on the rise as travelers seek activities with a thrill factor.
Scuba diving accounts for a significant share of this market, with the global dive tourism industry estimated at nearly $3 billion in 2022, according to recent data from market information and advisory company Future Market Insights.
And, while there’s no shortage of dive sites to explore with wrecks and natural reefs aplenty, for those looking for something a little different, there’s a whole underwater world of wrecks to explore. had to discover.
Some destinations have intentionally sunk planes to promote dive tourism and create coral reefs, while others are the result of plane crashes.
From a submerged Boeing 747 in Bahrain to a tiny two-seater private plane in the Bahamas shrouded in urban legends, here are five of the best in the world.
1. Dive in a Lockheed in the Red Sea, Jordan
At the southern tip of Jordan, the seaside town of Aqaba is home to a Lockheed Martin L-1011 TriStar, which sits at the bottom of the ocean. Divers can circle the massive 400-passenger plane located 15 meters deep.
Sunk in 2019 after being abandoned for years at King Hussein International Airport in Aqaba, the jet is well preserved and divers can enter the interior through two doors behind the cockpit. The mid-fuselage seats have been removed to allow easy access to the wreck, which is now a haven for corals, puffer fish, octopus and other marine life.
2. Explore a Boeing 747 in the Gulf of Bahrain
The largest plane submerged in the ocean is off little Bahrain.
Part of Dive Bahrain – an eco-friendly underwater theme park that will span some 100,000 square meters when completed – the decommissioned jumbo jet is the park’s star attraction on Amwaj Island.
Divers will need to remain seated before they can access the site as it is currently closed until 2023, but when it reopens it will also house several other structures, including a replica of a traditional Bahrain pearl merchant’s house, an artificial coral reef and an underwater sculpture park.
3. Deep Dive in the Flying Fortress of the Adriatic Sea, Croatia
At a depth of over 60 meters, Croatia’s sunken flying fortress is known as one of the toughest dives in the Adriatic Sea.
Located off the island of Vis on the Dalmatian coast, the B-17 bomber wreck is only accessible to technical divers and even then bottom time should be limited to 15 minutes.
The jet is one of the best preserved of its type and divers can clearly see its 30 meter wingspan, 20 meter fuselage and four propeller engines. The pilot cabin is fully accessible and divers will find the deepest point below the tail of the fortress.
4. Swim around a WWII jet in the Bahamas
Perhaps the most accessible underwater wreck in the world is found in the Exuma Cays.
Nestled in shallow turquoise waters about half a mile off the coast of Staniel Cay, the WWII two-seater private plane is submerged to a depth of about three meters, making it a good place to start for a shore dive.
The story surrounding the plane crash is a convoluted tale of poorly lit island runways, low fuel warnings, drug trafficking and Colombian cartels in the 1980s, but the underwater wreckage which resulted has become one of Exuma’s most popular tourist attractions.
And, with the surrounding Atlantic Ocean known for its marine life, you’re sure to see plenty of coral and colorful fish in and around the sunken jet.
5. Dive into the Airbus A300 from Neopolis off the Aegean coast, Turkey
One of the biggest planes ever to sink as a dive site is the Airbus 300 jumbo jet, which was sunk to the seabed off Kusadasi in 2016.
The Neopolis is located about 20 meters below the surface and is a huge site to explore. With a fuselage of 55 meters long and a wingspan of 45 meters, it is fully accessible to divers.
Before being sent out into the blue, the jet was stripped to remove any substances that could be harmful to the underwater world and the region’s thriving marine life, with divers able to spot lobsters, akyas, swarms of black sea bream and sea rabbits.
Updated: July 21, 2022, 05:42