Tourist attraction? An artist’s depiction of the American steam packet Roanoke. It is hoped the search for the vessel will attract visitors to the island. *Image supplied
Tourist attraction? An artist’s depiction of the American steam packet Roanoke. It is hoped the search for the vessel will attract visitors to the island. *Image supplied

A team of divers will embark on a groundbreaking mission to find the wreck of the Roanoke later this year.

The old American steam packet was burned and sunk off St George’s in 1864 and has never been recovered.

Now as part of a series of events to mark the American Civil War anniversary Bermudian dive operations and divers from across the island will launch a fresh search to find the Roanoke in October. Chris Gauntlett, who runs Blue Water Divers, told the Sun: “As dive operators we are always looking at different things to do to attract more visitors to Bermuda, especially in the off-season.

“We have worked with the Department of Tourism on this idea and hope we can attract divers with an interest in the American Civil War to come to Bermuda and join the search for this old ship.

“The plan is to get all the boats together and conduct an organized search of the area of Five Fathom Hole in St George’s where the Roanoke was sunk.

“There will also be events put on during the evening at the National Museum and BUEI and other organized dives of the civil war wrecks around Bermuda.

“This is a boat that has never been found as far as we know, so it is an exciting project too. If we are able to fill the boats there could more than 100 divers involved in the search.”

The United States vessel was commandeered by the Confederate Navy and scuttled offshore of St George’s in 1864. The dive operators in Bermuda plan to begin their two-day search for the ship between October 24 and 27.

Mr Gauntlett added: “We are going to narrow down the area of the search with the help of Teddy Tucker.

“Then the plan is to spend two or three days doing a coordinated sweep of the area. Bermuda has so much to offer as a dive location whether it is in the summer or in the off season and we need to make visitors aware of this.” 

For more information on the project contact roanokedive@selectsitesgroup.com or call (441) 292-9741 or (441) 238 2332.