Dive Site: P29 Patrol Boat, Malta

Scuttled off the coast of Malta to benefit local marine life and scuba divers in 2007, the wreck is one of Malta’s newest, and is therefore in excellent condition.

A true Malta classic, the P29 patrol boat is a German-built Kondor-class vessel that was also used as a minesweeper. Scuttled off the coast of Malta to benefit local marine life and scuba divers in 2007, the wreck is one of Malta’s newest, and is therefore in excellent condition. This popular dive site is located off the very northern tip of the island, about 500 feet (150 meters) from the coast at Cirkewwa, near the ferry’s departure point to neighboring Gozo island.

The wreck sits upright on its keel in about 114 feet/35 meters of water, making this an advanced dive. The top part of the superstructure, in particular the radar mast, is well within open-water depth range, though, and it is possible to do the dive as an OW diver, especially thanks to the usually excellent visibility. You must have good buoyancy skills, however, to stay within your training limits.

The land facilities are excellent at this location. There is parking next to the ferry terminal at the water’s edge, though it can get crowded on busy days. There are also plenty of port-a-potties nearby. A food cart comes by on most days, selling water, soda, coffee, tea, snacks, sandwiches and wraps. To reach the wreck, enter the water through the shallow area known as Suzy’s Pool. Or, if weather conditions don’t cooperate, make a giant stride at the lighthouse. From there, head away from the reef until you reach the wreck.

Interesting sights on the wreck include the machine gun aft, the radar tower, the bridge and the cargo holds. There are plenty of interesting swim-throughs, though these often feature very tight quarters, so only experienced divers should attempt exploration. Note that the dive begins deep and stays deep. You fairly quickly descend to somewhere around 60-100 feet/20-30 meters and stay there, or even deeper, for most of the dive. Divers must watch their bottom time and start shallowing up well before they reach no decompression limits. Finish the dive with a mid-water swim back to the coast.