The Rothesay

Ontario, Canada
Entry Map
Viz (last reported 76629h ago)
Max Depth
35.1 ft

Snorkeling and Scuba Diving at The Rothesay

The Rothesay is a 19th Century wooden side wheeler (193' x 28.8' x 7.9') and was launched in St. John, N.B. on Feb. 2, 1868. Initially she sailed between Fredricton and St. John but was later relocated to serve on the St. Lawrence River. She was carrying passengers between Brockville and Montreal when, on Sept. 12, 1889, she collided with the tug Myra and sank at her present location. Although no-one was lost from the Rothesay two crewmen on the tug were killed. In 1901 members of the Royal Military College in Kingston blew up the wreck amidships in a munitions exercise. The Rothesay was rediscovered on Sept. 25, 1964 by the Underwater Society of Ottawa and remains a very popular dive site. Bring a light to see into the chain locker and hold. Prepare for a 1 to 2 knot current along the surface. there is hardly any current at depth. Shore buoy marks the start of a 300 ft. line out to the wreck along the bottom. Follow the line, you arrive at the smoke stack. Upperwork lies at about 20 feet, maximum depth is 30 feet. Best visibility is early and late in the dive season, and varies from 5 to 10 feet. As with all Marine Historical Sites in Ontario, the Rothesay is property of The Province of Ontario and removal of any material is illegal. The Rothesay, is located in the St. Lawrence River, west of Prescott. It is accessible both by land and by boat. Follow Highway 401 and take the Highway 18 Exit (#716) to Prescott. Turn west on King St. W (Highway 2) and follow for 1.75 Km until you reach Riverview Heights. There you will see a Historic Marker along the south side of the road commemorating Justus Sherwood. The adjoining grass strip can accommodate about a dozen cars. From the embankment you will see a buoy approximately 300 ft out, marking the actual wreck and a jug closer in that is the beginning of the line.
entry map
Alan T
Alan T
Sep 1, 2015, 12:00 AM
When I dove this wreck, I noticed a number of divers that surfaced at the wreck and then took the long swim against the current and waves to go back to shore. I think that it would be important to let divers know that this is a bad idea. It is a long somewhat arduous swim. One should plan the dive to do the wreck, and then swim back along the line underwater and return to shore. Your dive plan should include this.
Originally posted on
Jason NYC
Jason NYC
Sep 3, 2007, 12:00 AM
Park along the tree line by route 2. You will see all the cars. Busy day on 9-2-07 with 15 feet of viz, a tiny bit of current, and flat calm conditions with 71 degree water. A port-a-potty on site. Down the 10 or so metal steps (careful) and into the water on the small beach area. Snorkel over very shallow water to the floating milk jug and then descend and follow the installed line about 100 yards or so to the site of the Rothesay. The Rothesay is really a large mess of wreckage with a slightly in tacked bow and stern. Nice dive, just make your way around the jumbled wreckage and then back to the line again and to shore. Super easy but the viz tends to be slightly less at this site compared to say the Conestoga wreck. Easy entry, no surf to worry about, no current really, basic facilities and picnic tables. Enjoy!!!
Originally posted on
Shane & Elana
Shane & Elana
Aug 3, 2007, 12:00 AM
02 Jul 07 - Sunny day helped improve the visibility (15ft - 20ft). Max depth about 30ft. Water temp at 65F. Swim out to the first marker, then dive and follow line (approx. 200ft) to the wreck. Lots of fish this day - bass, carp and perch, plus one large pike on the south side of the wreck. Site is usually busy on the weekends, so week days are much more enjoyable. Excellent beginner/intermediate dive or a good dust off for anyone. We prefer to dive the site either early or late in the season to avoid the algae blooms.
Originally posted on
Other Locations Nearby