Scuba divers may have another reason to love San Diego next year.
The San Diego City Council signed off Tuesday on a proposal to sink a 366-foot decommissioned Canadian Navy destroyer off Mission Beach early next year, but one more hurdle must be cleared before it can happen.
If given final approval by the California Coastal Commission, the HMCS Annapolis would become the second ex-Canadian vessel at an artificial reef at the San Diego Underwater Recreation Area, which is popular with diving enthusiasts.
The HMCS Yukon was sunk in July 2000.
“This is very good for the local economy, especially the beach economy and a lot of businesses,” said Councilman Ed Harris, who represents many of the city’s coastal areas. “People do come here to dive. They do book hotel rooms, they do pay for charter boats.”
The vessel would also provide a new habitat for “our creatures living under the ocean,” Harris said.
The Annapolis is being held under court receivership in Canada because of a default by its owner, according to Chief Lifeguard Rick Wurts.
An organization called California Ships to Reefs is working to acquire the vessel and tow it to the waters off San Diego.
Wurts said the ship would be inspected by Canadian and U.S. authorities before it’s towed, and would then go into a dry dock for hull cleaning and removal of any remaining paint.
The ship would be sunk with explosives in February or March and inspected for safety before being opened to the public for diving.
Such expeditions are not without danger. A handful of divers have died in scuba accidents at or near the Yukon site, and several others have had to be rescued.
– City News Service
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