Scuba diving the Picton shipwrecks

The Great Lakes are the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total area, so it should be no surprise that they offer some best shipwreck scuba diving. Frequent sea-like conditions with rolling waves and sustained winds made shipping challenging, and a number 19th century schooners sank at just the right depth to be enjoyed by recreational scuba divers, and the cold, fresh water means they’re well-preserved. While Tobermory is considered by most to be the crown jewel of scuba diving in the Great Lakes, the area of Lake Ontario near Picton rivals Tobermory in the number and quality of the shipwrecks.

Exploring the China shipwreck in Lake Ontario
Exploring the China shipwreck in Lake Ontario

Boat charters for the Picton wrecks are offered 7 days a week by Abucs Scuba, and leave from the Waupoos Marina, usually captained by Helen herself. The AMG dive boat is well-equipped with plenty of space for divers and gear, and has an onboard head. They also have an air and nitrox fill station at the marina for tank fills or top-ups (just arrange that ahead of time with Helen).

Happy divers on the Abucs Scuba AMG dive charter
Happy divers on the Abucs Scuba AMG dive charter

Most of the Picton wrecks are two- or three-masted schooners built in the late 19th century, and sank in either the late late 19th century or early 20th century. Wrecks frequently visited by Abucs Scuba include:

City of Sheboygan

The City of Sheboygan is a 135-foot three-masted schooner built in 1871 and sank in 1915, sitting at a depth of 95 feet.

Katie Eccles

Katie Eccles is a 95-foot schooner built in 1877 and sank in 1922, sitting at a depth of 100 feet.


China is a 130-foot steamer built and sank in 1872, sitting depth of 104 feet.

Annie Falconer

Annie Falconer is a 110-foot two-masted schooner that sank in 1904, sitting at a depth of 80 feet.

Olive Branch

Olive Branch is a two-masted schooner that sank in 1880, sitting a a depth of 100 feet.

If you’ve been scuba diving in Picton, let us know what you think? What are your favourite dive sites?

2 responses to “Scuba diving the Picton shipwrecks”

  1. Joe Rozdzilski Avatar
    Joe Rozdzilski

    I’m doing research on Cdn shipping history and I was reading in a book that the remains of the barge “Picton” 1907 was located near the water pumping station in Picton,Ontario. Do you know if the wreck is on land or in the water. Any information you can give me would be appreciated. Thank you…….Joe

    1. Matt Avatar

      Hi Joe – unfortunately I’m not familiar with that wreck. Check out this pretty thorough map of Canadian dive sites, so if it’s of any diving interest you should find it.

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