Location: Columbia sits on a rocky bottom near Maud Island, not far from Discovery Passage, just north of Campbell River.
Type: Boat dive.
GPS: 50 08.031 N, 125 20.152 W
History: HMCS Columbia (DDE 260) was a Restigouche-class destroyer that served in the Royal Canadian Navy and later the Canadian Forces from 1959-1974. Columbia was the seventh and final ship in her class and is the second Canadian naval unit to carry the name HMCS Columbia. Columbia was built in 1952 at the Burrard Dry Dock in North Vancouver and launched on November 1, 1956. She was commissioned into the RCN on November 7, 1959.
Columbia was not selected for the Improved Restigouche (IRE) or Destroyer Life Extension (DELEX) projects and was instead decommissioned from active service in the CF on February 18, 1974. She was placed in reserve and was converted into a dockside engineering training platform at CFB Esquimalt. In 1988 Columbia was removed from reserve status after being purchased by the ARSBC and sunk as an artificial reef off Maud Island in Discovery Passage in 1996.
Columbia was the third naval destroyer sunk by the ARSBC as an artificial reef, just nine months after the HMCS Mackenzie. On June 20, 1996 a barge with a grandstand was towed to the site, and the area was filled with a tremendous number of boats. She sank to the bottom in three minutes and forty-five seconds, bow first, quite similar to the Mackenzie sinking.
Above Water: The ARSBC have attached four floats with decent lines to sections of the ship.
Underwater: The Columbia is a big and easy to dive wreck, however it does list to its port side. Due to its postion inside the bay, this ship is not as covered in marine life as the other artificial reefs, but is a great dive for those divers interested in looking at an almost fully intacted ship. This wreck is a great training area for both recreational and wreck divers wanting to improve their skills before tackling more challenging wrecks. This ship is 366 ft. (110 m.) in length and sits in about 100 ft. (30 m.) of water.
Hazards: Depth, silt, overhead enviroment, visibility, the wreck itself.
BC Artifical Reef Society: www.artificialreef.bc.ca