Canterbury Dive



Canterbury Warship Diving Attraction


The Bay of Islands Eco Dive Attraction at Deep Water Cove


Final Resting Place GPS location approx. 35°11'34.69"S  174°17'48.70"E

Sonar Image shortly after sinking

Foredeck on the bottom

Sinking November 3, 2007
After nine months of final planning and a weather postponement, the F421 finally slipped down to her resting place in just four minutes after the charges were fired. Over 300 hospitality boats and pleasure craft gathered to witness the event. The engine room, galley and shell rooms had previously been flooded. Holes had been cut into its sides to ensure the ship stayed upright and in one piece when it reached the bottom and without damage from the explosives imported from the United States.
Preparation for the Sinking

At Opua about to be stripped for sinking

Being towed to Opua wharf from Devonport for final sinking preparation


HMNZS Canterbury History

The RNZN HMNZS Canterbury is a Leander Class Frigate built in Scotland for the Royal New Zealand Navy and commissioned in 1971. She was powered by two steam turbines developing 30,000 horsepower through twin shafts. HMNZS Canterbury was the last steam powered Frigate in service.

F421 was decommissioned by the RNZN in 2005. Like most of the warships before her, she has been sunk as a diving attraction. After the popularity of the Green Peace Rainbow Warrior dive attraction further north in Matauri Bay, F421 is attracting divers from all parts of the world to dive on her at Deep Water Cove in New Zealand's Bay of Islands.

HMNZS Canterbury was laid down on 12 June 1969 and launched 11 months later on 6 May 1970. Commissioned on October 22, 1971, Canterbury went on to see operational service in the Persian Gulf, supporting United Nations sanctions against Iraq and also in East Timor. Canterbury also relieved a Royal Navy Frigate, HMS Amazon (F169), in the Indian Ocean, during the Falklands War and relieved the frigate HMNZS Otago at Murorua Atoll during the anti French nuclear protests. Although a relatively old ship, several refits over her service life meant Canterbury had both a tactical and weapon fit out that remained up to date. Her Phalanx Close-In Weapon fired 3,000 rounds per minute. Her refit in 1998 included changes to accommodate the Navy's new Kaman Seasprite helicopter.  Specifications


Passing Tapeka Point as she leaves the Bay of Islands under her own steam for the last time 2005

Loading troops during active service


The Dive Location

Deep Water Cove - Bay of Islands

Cape Brett - southern entrance to the Bay


Deep Water Cove is located near the tip of Cape Brett at the southern entrance to the Bay of Islands. It was the site of Zane Grey's first deep sea angling base and an early whaling station. It is now a nature reserve. The cove is a popular anchorage and shelter for boats after they first enter the bay. There is no road access to the cove but a popular 20km 8 hour Department of Conservation (DOC) walk to Cape Brett light house passes by. Guided walking tours are also offered. The surrounding coastline is already a popular fishing and diving location. This is being further enhanced by the Canterbury and the new marine life it is attracting.


The Deep Water Cove site completes a dive trail of the highest international standards, incorporating the Poor Knights marine reserve, the two former naval vessels, Waikato and Tui off Tutukaka and the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior at Matauri Bay. The carefully selected site provides sheltered waters avoiding any potential environmental hazards or the wreck being broken up by swells as was the case with sister ship, Wellington off the southern Wellington coast. The location provides a safe diving environment sheltered from prevailing winds with minimal current. Deep Water Cove provides the perfect sanctuary for the frigate on the sparsely inhabited sandy bottom at the selected location. The wreck is also creating an artificial reef. This is improving bio diversity and fish stock in the area. 


Cape Brett Track access at Deep Water Cove

Sinking of sister HMNZS Waikato Waikato at Rest

Attracting new marine species

Preparations for the Scuttling

A wrecking crew recovered high value non-ferrous metal such as copper in the vessel's kilometers of wiring. Public open days sold a number of items including the entire captain's galley, dials, gauges, telephones and signs. One propeller sold for $20,000 and there was strong demand for the crew's aluminum gear lockers. The other propeller has become a monument in Whangarei.  Leander-class frigates were known to have a hull weakness just forward of the bridge and the frigates that have already been sunk, Waikato and Wellington, had broken in half at the weak point. This was taken into account when Canterbury was sunk. The site has a flat, sandy bottom. It should sit on the bottom in one piece for many years


Preparation at Opua wharf

Shared berth with R Tucker Thompson




Devonport Naval Base decommissioning February 2007

Forward gun removed

Gun destined for the Navy Museum

Empty gun bay

Portholes are removed and sealed

Sealed top deck

Torpedo tubes ready for a new ship

Dry Dock Devonport Naval Base

Dry Dock Devonport Naval Base



Devonport with replacement class ship Te Kaha

Departing Devonport Feb 22, 2007


At Devonport February 2007 prior to the tow north


Other world famous New Zealand diving sites



Canterbury Specifications

Displacement - 2,470 tons Standard, 2,990 Full Load

Dimensions - 373 x 43 x 18 feet (114 x 13.1 x 5.5 metres)

Propulsion - 2 x Steam Turbines, 30,000 hp, 2 shafts

Max. Speed - 28 Knots


Endurance - 30 days or 5500nm @ 15kts: Max speed 28kts


Complement - 243 - (15 Officers)

Aircraft - 1 x Westland Wasp later replaced by 1 x Kaman Seasprite SH-2G ASW Helicopter 


Armament - 1 x Twin 115mm, 1 x 20mm Phalanx CIWS, 2 x Triple 21-inch torpedo tubes



Guns - 2 x 1 Vickers 114mm Mk 6 – 20rpm to 19km, 1 x Phalanx CIWS – 3000 rpm to 1.5km, 4 x 12.7mm

Missiles - Seacat Missile system removed early 1990’s and replaced by Phalanx.

Anti Submarine -  Mk 46 Mod 5 ASW torpedo in Mk 32 Tubes

Helicopter Launched M46 Mod 2 ASW torpedo

Maverick AGM-65 (NZ) Air to surface missile

Depth Charges

M-60 Machine Gun

Countermeasures -  2 SRBOC Mk 36 Mod 1 launchers


Extensively modernized from the 1980's. The sensors listed below were those fitted to the vessel at the time the vessels were withdrawn from service

Air Search Radar -  Signaal LW-08 D Band: Range 265km for 2m2 Target

Air Surface Search Radar -  Plessey Type 993 E/F Band

Navigation Radar - Kelvin Hughes Type 1006 I band

Hull Sonar -  Graseby Type 750 Medium Frequency Active

Electronic Surveillance -  Argo Phoenix intercept and Jammer, Telegon PST 1288 HVU

IFF system: Cossor Mk XII

Data System -  Plessey/Marconi Nautis F with Link 11

Weapons Control - RCA TR-76 I Band




          2 X Babcock & Wilcox Boilers - 38.7 cm sq, 454oC, 22.4 MW, 2 Diesel Generators



The Canterbury propellers are a UK MOD design, manufactured by Stone Manganese, a large propeller design and manufacturing specialist.

The propellers are made of an aluminum-bronze alloy. Leander Class frigates pioneered ‘agouti drillings’ which were cast into the propeller during manufacture. These allow pressurised air to be fed through the body of the propeller and out through vents in the leading edge of the individual blades. This feature reduced the prospect of cavitation thus lessening erosion and reducing underwater noise - an obvious advantage for an anti-submarine frigate.

The twin five blade propellers fitted to earlier Type 12 frigates (i.e. “Otago” and “Taranaki”) did not have this feature as they were cast solid. These propellers are “handed”, i.e. the port and starboard propellers were outward turning when the ship traveled forward.

Diameter - 12'

Pitch - 17' 8" @ .7 radius

Area - 79.49 sq ft

Weight - 4.8 ton

One of the propellers purchased by the Far North District Council will be donated to a local community group to be mounted as a land based memorial.




The Rena Tauranga Shipwreck


When you plan your trip to the Bay of Islands consider staying at Tapeka del Mar. If you are taking a dive charter the boats will pick you up at the beach or Russell wharf - just two minutes away. If you are bringing your own boat Tapeka is the closest launching ramp to the islands. The beachfront accommodation has room for 13 guests with off street parking for boat trainers., all tide boat ramp and a deep water guest mooring right in front.  There is even a filleting station and bait freezer. Take some time to look at the rest of the web site and please bookmark it and this page for future reference

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