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Purchase Guide: Monarch Diver’s Guide

Dive Notes

  • This should be considered an ADVANCED dive site.
  • Expect a 4 to 8 knot current; hang onto cable or wreck at all times.
  • Visibility varies from 0 to 15 ft..
  • Missing foredeck provides a meeting place protected from the strong current.
  • Recommended you leave wreck with 1000 psi air remaining.
  • Dive flag should be tied off near shore since wreck is on the edge of the shipping channel.
  • There is sometimes a backwash current flowing North until about 35 ft. depth.
  • Suggest work gloves be worn over dive gloves to protect them from steel cable.
  • As with all Marine Historical Sites in Ontario, the MONARCH is property of The Province of Ontario and removal of any material is illegal.

The MONARCH lies on the bottom of St. Clair River, south of the Bluewater Bridge in Sarnia, Ontario. She is accessible from shore via a submerged cable. Take Michigan Rd. to the base of the Bluewater Bridge and follow south along the waterfront for about 500 ft. Parking is available at the point where the land jogs inward, across from the buoy you see the river. A set of steel steps mounted on the cement wall provides a good entry point. The cable is attached to a steel seawall about 10 ft. under water, straight out from the bottom of these steps. A safe exit point is just around the corner of the entry site.

Originally launched as the W.H. SIMPSON at Sheboygan, Wisconsin, in 1889, the MONARCH was a 63 foot steam-powered tugboat. It tragically sank on July 6, 1934 while towing an old freighter called the C.F. Bielman upriver. The Bielman had swung out of control; flipped the MONARCH onto it’s starboard side and then dragged the stern underwater. Today, the wreck lies in 55 ft. of water, approximately 200 ft. from shore. The upper decking has long since washed away, but there are still many interesting features to see. Penetration is limited to the front holds.

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