Drifter Report

Investigation of an uncharted wreck located in Scapa Flow, Orkney.

In May 2016, a possible wreck site was discovered by accident during survey work being carried out near the island of Fara in Scapa Flow, Orkney. Subsequent investigation by side scan sonar revealed a discrete wreck site in approximately 27m water depth. A survey of the site by divers was made in August 2016. The results of the survey were as follows:

  • The wreck was that of a wooden vessel of approximately 30m in length. While the timbers had largely disappeared the remaining parts and layout suggested she was a steam powered herring drifter.
  • The engine was present, although largely obscured by wreckage and could not be identified. A number of other features were recorded, including the ships wheel, eroded but in place, pressure gauges, sighting gauges, lamp housings, capstan winch, anchor and other miscellaneous wreckage.
  • A large amount of what may have been telecommunications cable was found forward of the wheelhouse.
  • The wreck did not appear to have been dived previously.
  • No direct evidence of the vessel’s identity was found although based on the remains of the vessel’s registration number located on the funnel, it is possible that this wreck is that of HMD Chance (WK 270), lost in Scapa Flow in 26th January 1916. This identification should be treated with some caution and further survey work might help to confirm this.
  • The remains of the cable and the circular object would also be interesting to examine in more detail. The site would form a valuable addition to the diving resource in Scapa Flow, although heavy use might be precluded by its location in a shipping channel and close proximity to the SS Prudentia, where diving is prohibited.

Downloadable Resources

Drifter Report - August 2016

About the Wreck Site

This is a pristine site that lay undiscovered for a long time. Much of the pleasure of the dive lies in seeing small details that have remained in place undisturbed over time. Please respect the site and don't move or remove artifacts so that those who follow in your finsteps can enjoy the same small pleasures. The advice of "leave only bubbles and take only memories" will make sure the remains of this small wreck remain in place for others to explore.