The Wreck of the Islander

New York, USA East
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Snorkeling and Scuba Diving at The Wreck of the Islander

One block from restaurants and easy free parking feet from the entry down a short ramp. Swim less than 25 yards and descend on the wreck in about 15 feet. No current. 30 feet viz. Easy as a shore dive can get! Google for more info and start by going here: St. Lawrence River, Clayton NY side. This side wheel steamer was built in Rochester, N.Y. in 1871 and launched as James H. Kelly later changed to John Thorn. The Islander measured 125 ft. x 20 ft. x 7 ft. and weighed 118 gross tons. As well as a regular mail carrier between Clayton and Alexandria Bay, the Islander began island and river tours on July 31, 1893. The Islander burnt on Sept. 16, 1909 while at dock at Alexandria Bay. Since the tragedy the Islander has become a favorite dive site for many divers. The Islander is located just off the shoreline of Alexandria Bay. She is angled slightly upstream with a very slight current, which makes this a very pleasurable dive. The stern is in 15 ft. of water with the bow in 60 ft.. The best access to the wreck is to park in the town parking lot in front of the pavilion, just west of the hospital.
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Aug 10, 2020, 12:00 AM
Just got my scuba certification. The open water test (part 2) was at this site. There's a ramp for easy entry. Just be careful as it can be slippery. The wreck is not far from shore. Little to no current. I thought it was a fantastic beginner dive! Plenty of fish. Even some fresh water sponges (plz leave them where you find them). The bottom will get stirred up easily, especially because there are plenty of newbie's visiting this spot (like me!) This is a very popular dive spot. Parking is limited & can be tricky. A great beginner dive!!
Originally posted on
Jason NYC
Jason NYC
Sep 27, 2007, 12:00 AM
This site really can't get much easier. Park next to the water by the Gazebo and down the street from the hospital in the very small city of Clayton, NY. The "downtown" area is very quaint in a touristy kinda way. It's kind of like Key West without the weird, lol. A VERY short swim brings you to the wreck in 15 feet of water. The wreck, or what is left of it, drops to about 45-50 feet. Just swim directly away from the small concrete entry ramp into the St. Lawrence river. Visibility was about 35 feet and water temps were around 72 in August. No current to speak of. A very easy and relaxing dive with a little bit of fish life and bottles as well. It was worth the two hour drive while visiting family upstate. Save time to drive another hour into Canada to shore dive the Conestoga and the Rothesay! It was slow the weekend we were there but others told us that the place is sometimes jammed with divers, so get there early I guess. We didn't have a problem though. If the small parking area fills up then just take one of the close by metered spots. No bathroom other than close by restaurants. Enjoy!!!
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