RivTow Lion

 • Depth: approx 80 ft max.

The Rivtow Lion didn’t go down in a blaze of glory like the Cape Breton did.

Because of it’s location inside the passage where boat, plane and ferry traffic are frequent, the Rivtow was merely filled with water and quietly sank to its resting spot. 
Within a week, anemones had attached themselves to its carcass and a second life began for the former rescue tug.

The Rivtow Lion was a 147 foot rescue tug built in 1940 in England.

First the tug was named ‘Her Majesty’s Rescue Tug’, then ‘Prudent’, ‘Cautious’ and finally ‘Rivtow Lion’. It began its long service in Iceland and the Shetland Islands towing damaged vessels in WWII. The Rivtow was part of a fleet that helped save hundreds of damaged ships and their supplies during the war. The Rivtow came to our west coast in 1966 and worked until 1985 towing log booms from Alaska to the Puget Sound. 
After several years the Rivtow was taken to Mosquito Creek and used as a breakwater for the marina until she started leaking oil. The Rivtow was towed to Ladysmith Harbor where its tanks and bilges were cleaned of waste. 
Finally the NDA (Nanaimo Dive Association) purchased the tug in 2002 and cleaned it up and on February 6, 2005 it claimed a resting site and became Nanaimo’s third artificial reef.


It sits listing slightly to port in approx 80 feet of water.

The deck is approx 50 feet down from the surface (depending on tide). This is a good sized artificial reef for beginner wreck divers and advanced sport divers. And it’s small enough to offer the experienced diver plenty of time for a leisurely swim around the decks and outside bottom

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