Wreck of the RHS Rhone in BVI: Dive into history at this world-famous shipwreck, teeming with marine life.

Wreck of the RHS Rhone, British Virgin Islands

Wreck of the RHS Rhone in BVI: Dive into history at this world-famous shipwreck, teeming with marine life.

Matt and Britney Weidert

Matt Weidert

The Wreck of the RMS Rhone is one of the most famous dive sites in the Caribbean, located off the coast of Salt Island in the British Virgin Islands. This site offers a unique glimpse into maritime history and provides an exciting underwater adventure for divers of all levels. With clear visibility, it's also possible for snorkelers to see the shallower parts of the wreck.

The wreck is not only a historical landmark but also a vibrant marine habitat, making it a must-visit destination for anyone exploring the BVI.

Where is the RMS Rhone Wreck located?

The RMS Rhone wreck lies off the western coast of Salt Island in the British Virgin Islands. It is easily accessible by boat and is a popular stop for diving charters operating out of nearby islands such as Tortola and Virgin Gorda. The wreck rests in two main sections at depths ranging from 30 to 80 feet, making it suitable for both novice and experienced divers.

The History of the RMS Rhone

The RMS Rhone was a British Royal Mail Ship that sank during a hurricane in 1867. Built in 1865, the Rhone was one of the most advanced ships of its time, boasting a robust iron hull and a steam engine capable of significant speed. On October 29, 1867, while attempting to weather a severe storm, the ship was thrown against the rocks of Salt Island, leading to its tragic demise. The wreck resulted in the loss of approximately 123 lives, with only 23 survivors. The Rhone's story is a poignant reminder of the dangers faced by mariners in the age of steam.
Diving the wreck of the RMS Rhone

Diving the RMS Rhone Wreck

Diving the RMS Rhone is an unforgettable experience, offering a blend of historical intrigue and natural beauty. The wreck is split into two main sections: the bow and the stern. Divers can explore the large iron hull, swim through the remains of the ship’s structure, and discover artifacts such as the ship’s propeller and bronze portholes.
  • Bow Section: The bow section lies in shallower waters and is often the first part of the wreck explored by divers. Highlights include the massive anchor, coral-encrusted railings, and the famous "lucky porthole," which remains intact and is a popular spot for underwater photography.
  • Stern Section: The stern section is deeper and more fragmented but offers fascinating sights such as the ship's engine and the remnants of the paddlewheel. This area is teeming with marine life, including colorful coral formations, schools of fish, and occasional sightings of larger sea creatures like barracudas and turtles.

Marine Life at the Wreck

The RMS Rhone wreck is not just a historical site but also a thriving marine habitat. Over the years, the wreck has become encrusted with coral and sponges, attracting a diverse array of marine life. Divers can encounter a variety of species, including parrotfish, angelfish, moray eels, and octopuses. The vibrant underwater ecosystem makes each dive a new and exciting experience.

Exploring Nearby National Parks

While exploring the RMS Rhone, visitors can also take the opportunity to visit other nearby sites within the BVI National Parks Trust. One such site is The Baths on Virgin Gorda, known for its massive granite boulders and unique rock formations. Another notable spot is Devil's Bay, which is connected to The Baths and offers beautiful beaches and excellent snorkeling opportunities. Additionally, learn more about ,, and its surroundings by visiting Salt Island.


The Wreck of the RMS Rhone is a captivating dive site that combines rich history with stunning underwater beauty. From the tragic story of the ship's sinking to the vibrant marine life that now calls the wreck home, the RMS Rhone offers a unique and unforgettable experience for divers and history enthusiasts alike.
  • Bow Section: Explore the shallower bow section with its intact anchor and "lucky porthole."
  • Stern Section: Dive deeper to see the ship's engine and paddlewheel remnants.
  • Marine Life: Encounter a diverse array of marine species thriving on the wreck.

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