Empress of IrelandQuebec

Dive site characteristics

Types Sea dive Shipwreck dive Deep dive Drift dive
Conditions Visibility more or less reduced Thermocline or cold water Strong current
Interests Sea stars Sea shells
Providers Parking Boat ramp Restaurant Swimming Picnic tables W.C. Bathroom
Planning Rescue in case of emergency Weather conditionsFerries scheduleRoad conditionsRoad maps

Diving notes

Source: Transports Canada(#1) and with permission of Éric Legua (#2 & #3)

On the aerial photo on the left, you can see the port installations of Rimouski. On the center, a view of the marina at Rimouski. On the right one, the buoy marking the location of the wreck classified as a cultural heritage by the Government of Québec.

Behavior to have: respect the shipwreck which has been classified as an historical preserve since 1999. You must register at the RAEQ Society or at the Rimouski Marina due to privately owned buoys.

This is a dive for experienced divers. The dive is mostly done in low visibility conditions at high depth. It is important to have a good dive plan which covers all the possibilities in case of problem. Get informed about weather conditions (click on Weather icon in order to obtain weather and water tidal conditions).

The dives are done from a boat. The dives are done in sea water, watch your buoyancy. Raise the weight on your weight belt accordingly.

There are strong tidal currents. The water tidal amplitude may reach 5m. The water current may surprise you and carry you. Be carefull. Don’t hesitate to prepare yourself long time before. Usa all the techniques of shipwreck diving and also redondancy, redundancy but above all your judgment!

The RMS Empress of Ireland measures about 172m (569.8ft) long by 20m (65.5ft) wide and can be found at a depth of 80’ to 140’m deep. The wreck is on its side.

To get there, departures are from Pointe-au-Père but most generaly from Rimouski in order to reach the site which is marked with a buoy (as above).

Entry points

Source: Société RAEQ

Note: directions are accurate as possible. It is recommended to go with someone who knows the site.

  Depth   Site  Characteristics
To display on Google map, click on the link
26-45mEmpress of Ireland Informations to come.

Driving directions

Don’t get into trouble, make a reservation by calling (418) 739-5271 (excursion fee).
Bring your C-card: you must register in order to dive on the site.

From highway 20, follow the indications leading to Rimouski. Head up to Pointe-au-Père (Father Point). You must then continue until Ste-Luce-sur-Mer a couple of kilometers more. Please adjust de target place with the help of your charter.

Touristic note: at Pointe-au-Père (Father Point) where you may visit the PBS Online ). The abreviation RMS means "Royal Mail Steamer", the boat was used to deliver the mail of his Majesty the King.

And also while on the road going or returning, you may visit Musée maritime du Québec (Quebec Maritime Museum) located at L’Islet, a nice visit to plan.

Did you know that...?

Source: unknown

The Empress sank at 1h55 am on May 29, 1914 with 1477 passengers who boarded at Quebec city. 1012 died while 465 survived (on which 165 are crew members) and have been treated at Rimouski.

In 1914, the Wotherspoon’s divers during the dives on the Empress in the cold waters of the St.Lawrence used a procedure called "crash surfacing" for the first time in the world. The same procedure has been used later (without knowing it) by the U.S. Navy which has produced its decompression surface table in 1945 (Van des Aue et al, 1945, 1951). More recently, the procedure has been used by Damant during the salvage of Laurentic. This allowed to Behnke (1951, 1967) to develop the concept of "oxygen window".

The Empress has been "rediscovered" in 1964 by divers who read an article in a news paper which related the historical incident.

An excellent site amoung others on history of the ship, its construction, its tragedy, etc...all about the Empress.

Diver’s services

Providers Address Phone Services
Centre de plongée du Bas St-Laurent  292, St-Germain est,
418 722-6232 air, nitrox, rental, charter
Centre hospitalier de Rimouski  150, av. Rouleau,
418 724-8554 health center
Marina de Rimouski  1, rue de la Marina,
418 723-0202 marina

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