Rathlin Island Wreck List
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Vessel Type:

Fleetwood Trawler

Location:Co. Antrim
Date of Loss:3rd November 1962Place:Church Bay, Rathlin Island
Cause of Loss:Fouled wreck of H.M.S. DrakeBoat Dive from:Ballycastle
Charted Depth:15mIrish O.S. Map:Discovery Series No. 5
Height of Wreck:4mAdmiralty Chart No:2798
Hull Material:SteelLatitude (GPS):55° 17' 13.44" North
Type of Seabed:Sand over clayLongitude (GPS):06° 12' 33.66" West
Average Visibility:6 - 10mConvert Lat. & Long. to -Decimal - CLICK HERE
Image available?Yes - see below Diving Experience:Novice
Diving Information:   
  • She lies close to "HMS Drake", on the harbour side and is well broken up.
  • Difficult to know, at times, which wreck you are actually on.
  • Her name can still be seen on the bow.
  • The large trawl bobbins are often mistaken for mines.
  • Can be dived at any state of the tide, but make sure the anchor is secure as the wind can blow the boat off station.
  • There is a fee to pay for using the slip at Ballycastle Harbour.
Historical Information:
  • A Fleetwood Trawler, built in 1953 by Cook, Welton & Gemmell Ltd., Hull, she grossed 595 tons, measured 51.84 x 8.94 x 2.59m., and was owned by Hewett Fishing Co.
  • One of the largest trawlers operating from Fleetwood and was skippered by William Gregson.
  • Bound for the Icelandic fishing grounds, the vessel was on a social visit to the island (ie. the pub).
  • She fouled the wreck of "HMS Drake", then still in one piece, on the 2nd Nov. 1962 and sank the next day. The crew were all safely taken off by the Portrush lifeboat.
  • The salvage ship "Dispenser" arrived the next day, but decided it was financially unviable to raise the wreck.
  • A large scale attempt was made in 1978 to free and disperse the remaining bunker fuel oil which was creating a pollution problem in Church Bay.
  • Date of sinking dated 5th November in Tommy Cecil's book.

M.F.V. Ella Hewitt

© by kind permission of fleetwood-trawlers web site

Source Publications:
"Fleetwood Fishing Industry"
P. Horsley & A. Hirst
Hutton Press 1991 - ISBN: 1872167276
Roy Stokes & Liam Dowling
"Shipwreck Index of Ireland"
Richard & Bridget Larn
Lloyd's Register - Fairplay Ltd 2002 - ISBN: 1900839970
"Shipwrecks of the Irish Coast 932 - 1997"
Dr. Edward J. Bourke
Edward J. Bourke 1998 - ISBN: 0952302713
"Shipwrecks of the Ulster Coast"
Ian Wilson
Impact Printing 1997 - ISBN: 0948154993
"The Harsh Winds of Rathlin"
Tommy Cecil
Impact Printing 1990 - ISBN: 0948154659

Other Sources:

Royal Navy
Hydrographic Department (1970)
Randal Armstrong
Castlereagh SAC (1990)

Rathlin Island Wreck List

Last update - 25-Oct-2005

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