BlueWild in partnership with TASA (Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association)

The best wreck dive in Belize

Experience diving the WIT on Turneffe Atoll

The wreck of the Wit off Turneffe Atoll offers some of the best wreck diving in Belize in its new role as an artificial reef with a thriving marine community.

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01.

The ultimate underwater adventure

Deliberately sinking ships to create artificial reefs not only creates fascinating dive sites, but also helps to provide new habitats for marine species. The wreck of The Wit, in the Turneffe Marine Reserve, definitely ticks all these boxes.

The sinking of The Witconcrete (affectionately known as The Wit) in December 2021 has created one of the best wreck diving sites in Belize. The Wit was chosen for its large size (375ft/114m long), variety of accessible chambers and corridors (for qualified wreck divers), and above all for its unusual concrete structure, which makes it easier for coral to recruit to the wreck.   

02.

From military history to natural history

The Wit was built in Philadelphia, USA during WW2, and spent much of its career as a sugar transporter and molasses storage vessel in Central America. By 2021, it was surplus to requirements, but a new lease of life beckoned. In an innovative move (which incidentally mirrored the fate of her sister ship, now an artificial reef in the US Virgin Islands), The Wit was prepared for a second, more significant contribution to the blue economy.

All potentially hazardous materials (such as fuel oil and plastics) were removed from the ship so that she could achieve compliance with relevant EPA standards. Access to the interior was improved to make The Wit even more enticing – to fish and divers.

The site of its final resting place was carefully chosen – a wide, sandy area where there was no risk of reef damage as the wreck slowly settled. The seabed in this area is at an average depth of 60ft/18m, with the gentle slope making it suitable for snorkelling adventures as well as wreck diving. As the site of the Wit wreck is a no-fishing zone, its new residents will not be disturbed by exploitative human activity.

Did you know?

The Wit was built mostly by women due to wartime labour shortages.

03.

New habitats for marine life

Lying on its starboard side, the flat deck of The Wit means that it offers a large surface area for marine organisms to colonise (in addition to the sponges that were already present on the hull). Microbial mats – a vital precursor to coral growth – began to form within months of the sinking, while many species of fish wasted no time in seeking food and shelter in and around the wreck.

Nature can now take its course as The Wit slowly transforms into a reef, and begins to blend in with her surroundings.

Did you know?

The Wit has become a haven for elusive and exciting fish species such as Snappers, Groupers, Rays, Sharks and even, the occasional manatee.

04.

Belize’s most exciting dive site

The Wit offers an amazing experience for divers, with opportunities to explore inside the ship via access hatches, and explore recesses where the anchor chains and molasses were stored. The profusion of marine life makes The Wit an especially rewarding dive, with excellent visibility in the crystal-clear, azure waters. The effects of light and shadow falling on and through the wreck also provide excellent photographic opportunities.

05.

Explore the Wit in 3D

Thanks to Reef Smart Guides, you can explore the Wit in detail before you dive. Their 3D model allows you to explore the ships exterior in detail. Click the [play] icon to activate the model, and once it’s loaded use your computer mouse to navigate the hull from every angle.

06.

Contributing to marine conservation

The Wit wreck diving site is overseen by TASA, the Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association, a non-profit responsible for the co-management of the Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve. 

To gain access to the Wit, your resort or dive operator will have to make a Conservation Contribution to TASA on your behalf. This contribution as well as any additional donations are applied directly to the protection and management of this unique marine wilderness.

Learn more about the Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association and where your contributions go.

PS: Wreck diving and wreck penetration carry an associated risk. Please ensure you are appropriately qualified and be aware that diving the Wit is entirely at your own risk.

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