The Rotorua 1, Ocean Liner, is the biggest diveable wreck in Lyme Bay! She is broken laying in 65m of water and is a stunning dive! although a long steam as she lies 24 miles east of Start Point!

Dive Site Name: Rotorua 1      Dive Type: Wreck Dive      

Max Depth Seabed: 65m             Depth to top of Wreck: 50m  

Approximate Position: 50 18 47N  002 59 73W

Tonnage: 11140tonnes    Length: 147.9m       Cargo: General Cargo

Date Lost: 22/03/1917      How Lost: Torpedoed UC 17

Minimum Qualification: Technical Diver / Trimix (Or Equivilent)Rotorua 1 Ocean Liner

The Rotorua 1 was huge liner/steamship. On 1/2/1917 she sailed from  Wellington to Plymouth carrying 5,600 tonnes of general cargo and 238 passengers. On 21/3/1917 her passengers landed in Plymouth and she sailed again on the 22/3/1917. Whilst off Start Point at approx 17:45 making 13 knots she was torpedoed, perhaps by UC-17, she sank after 35 mins with the loss of 1 life, a steward who fell overboard whilst abandoning the stricken vessel.

She now lies in 60+m of water in Lyme bay, she is spreadover a large area in 3 or 4 distinct parts, each of which is substantial. We have found many portholes layed on the seabed leading us to believe that the part of the vessel we have been diving is rarely if dived at all.


roorua 1 postcard


rotorua 1


















Rotorua 1 



Rotorua 1 photo

Rotorua 1

 Other Information:

  1. The first ROTORUA was a 11,130 gross ton ship, length 484.2ft x beam 62.3ft, one funnel, two masts, triple screw and a speed of 14 knots. There was accommodation for 52-1st, 72-2nd, 156-3rd and 280-emigrant class passengers. She was fitted with refrigerated cargo space for 170,000 carcasses of lamb. Built by Wm.Denny, Dumbarton she was launched on 9th Jul.1910 for the New Zealand Shipping Co. Her maiden voyage started 27th Oct.1910 when she left London for Capetown, Auckland and Wellington. She remained on this service until 22nd Mar.1917 when she was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine UC-17, 20 miles from Start Point, Devon with the loss of one life. [Merchant Fleets by Duncan Haws, vol.7, New Zealand Shipping and Federal Lines][North Star to Southern Cross by John M.Maber][Great Passenger Ships of the World, vol.1, by Arnold Kludas]

  2. 11,140-ton New Zealand Shipping Company triple-screw three-deck liner, built 1910. 484ft x 62ft. Armed: 4.7in on stern. Cargo: 5600 tons general New Zealand goods, Wellington via Newport News for London, 238 passengers. Position: 50 18.47N; 02 59.73W. Depth: 55m.
    22 March, 1917, by torpedo from UC-17. One crew-member killed.
    Diving: 11m proud, upright, slight list to port, intact fore and aft. Much collapsed amidships and around engine room, which leaves six-cylinder steam engines showing well clear.
    Bell recovered.
    Launch: Lyme Regis.


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