RivTow Lion

The Rivtow Lion became an artificial reef on February 6, 2005. She sits upright in 80' of water on the leeward side of Newcastle Island. The sheltered location makes it an ideal dive when weather makes getting out to the big wrecks impossible. It is also a great intro wreck dive for newer divers.

Info & History:

The Rivtow Lion is a 157-foot (47 metre) long North Sea Rescue Tug. Built in 1940 in Selby England, she was originally named the "HMRT (His Majesty's Rescue Tug) Prudent", later named "HMRT Cautious" in 1947 and finally becoming "Rivtow Lion" in 1966. This 561-ton vessel was first stationed in Iceland and the Shetland Islands. Built to tow convoy ships damaged by German U-boats in WWII, throw together crews of these tugs accompanied convoys across the North Atlantic on a three week voyage through winter gales and U-boat attacks, towing damaged ships in all kinds of weather. She was part of a rescue fleet that saved 140 American, 245 allied and neutral ships, 750 British and Commonwealth ships along with 245 allied warships and millions of tons of supplies during the war.

Retried from Navy service, the Rivtow Lion worked from 1966 to 1985 towing log booms on the BC coast from Alaska to Puget Sound. After 17 years of log boom towing she was moved to Mosquito Creek where she was used as a breakwater for the marina for many years until she started spilling oil. Saltaire Marine Service was hired by the Coast Guard to clean the spill site and the vessel. It was towed to Ladysmith Harbor where more than 44,000 litres of oil and waste were removed from the tanks and bilges.

The Nanaimo Dive Association (NDA) acquired the ship in early 2002, and following the remainder of the clean-up operation, have sunk her in Departure Bay, Nanaimo on February 6th, 2005 as a shallow water artificial reef, ideal for novice wreck diver training and sport diving all year round.