Rivtow Lion Nanaimo BC


Dive Site Directory> Nanaimo BC Dive Sites> Rivtow Lion Dive Site


The Rivtow Lion in Nanaimo's Departure bay was purposely sunk to make an artificial reef / dive site.

Above is an archive photograph or the Rivtow Lion taken in Vancouver from back in her working days!


This 150 foot (47m) deep sea tugboat was originally christened
HMRT Prudent, and then later HMRT Cautious.
She was used by the British in WWII as a support vessel in the North Atlantic, mainly towing ships damaged by torpedoes.

After many years of regular service as the Rivtow Lion, she was acquired and sunk in 2005 by the Nanaimo Dive Association.

The ships deck begins at about 50ft (15m), and if you go right to the bottom the Maximum depth is around 80ft (24m) depending on the tide.

Loaded with Plumose Anemones, and home to a few good sized Ling Cod, this artificial reef is a great dive for beginners or advanced level divers, whether day or night.

Go to Dive Site Directory From the Rivtow Lion

To access the site requires a boat and a very short trip from the Brechan boat ramp, which is right by the BC Ferries terminal in Departure Bay.
Find the intersection of Brechin Road and Stewart Avenue in Nanaimo BC, and then follow Brechin Road down to the water.

The former tug is located along side Newcastle Island as you exit the channel coming from the Brechin boat ramp.

The site is marked by a yellow buoy as well as a few floats for tying up to. Use the buoy line for reference to easily find the ship.

There is access to the wheel house and a few other area's of the ship but personally I just like to visit and look, and leave penetrating the ship to those with the desire, equipment, and experience.

As mentioned, the Rivtow Lion is a great night dive, as it is only minutes away from the dock, and laying in very sheltered water.
As a night dive, the site is suddenly transformed, with new sights and lots visiting creatures!

I highly recommend this as a night dive!

Also for those divers interested in geocaching, there is apparently a cache somewhere on the ship!

Have fun and dive safe!


Some Other Pages That May Interest You

Clark Rock

V.I. Marine Life

Cold Water Scuba Diving


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Tides & currents

Here is an excellent link to
tide and current charts
for Nanaimo, BC.
At the bottom of displayed
chart you will see two links,
"other tide stations" or
"other current stations"
follow these links for
information from California
and right up to Alaska.