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Purchase Guide: Rothesay Diver’s Guide

Dive Notes

  • 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.

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.

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