Wreck Wreck

M.F.V. Ella Hewitt

Rathlin Island

Average score: 0

Site name: M.F.V. Ella Hewitt
Location: Descriptive location referring to nearest landfall i.e. town, village, harbour or island
Rathlin Island
Type: Describes whether this dive site can be dived from the shore, from a boat, or both
Boat
Wreck: Dive sites which include a shipwreck (or part of a shipwreck) are labelled with a ‘Yes’
Yes
Min. dive depth (m): The approximate minimum depth of the dive given in metres
11
Max. dive depth (m): The approximate maximum depth of the dive given in metres
15

Max. seabed depth (m): The maximum depth of the seabed at the site taken from the intersect between the dive site point and the depth contour on an Admiralty Standard Nautical Chart
15

Diving experience (min level): The recommended minimum level of diving experience for a specific site, described as Novice (<50 dives in temperate/cold waters and minimum certification of PADI Open/Advanced Open Water, BSAC Ocean Diver or CMAS 1 star), Intermediate (50-100 dives in temperate/cold waters and minimum certification of PADI Rescue Dive, BSAC Sports Dive or CMAS 2 star) or Advanced (>250 dives in temperate/cold waters and minimum certification of PADI Divemaster, BSAC Dive Leader or CMAS 3 star
Intermediate

Optimal wind direction: The general wind direction which causes minimal exposure at the site, corresponding to 8 points of the compass: North (N), North East (NE), East (E, South East (SE), South (S), South West (SW), West, North West (NW)
N/NE/E

Exposure: The approximate level of exposure to wind and wave action at the site on any given day, described as Sheltered (inshore sites surrounded by a form of shelter on all sides), Moderate (sites which are partially sheltered) or Exposed (sites with little to no shelter)
Exposed

Tidal strength: Anecdotal description of tidal strength at the site
Moderate

Marine Protected Area: A Yes or No highlighting whether or not the site occurs within a Marine Protected Area
Yes

Visibility: Anecdotal description of the typical underwater visibility at the site
The visibility can be very poor at this site, but ranges from 6-10metres when conditions are optimum.
Best time to dive: Anecdotal recommendation for the best time to dive the site for optimal underwater conditions. This typically relates to the stage of the tide
Getting there: Directions for getting to the site

By boat from Rathlin or Ballycastle. The site is approximately 500m SW Rathlin Harbour and a few metres NNW of HMS Drake (marked with a yellow buoy). Due to their close proximity confusion can arise as to which site you are at, therefore look out for ‘Ella Hewitt’ on the bow of the ship.

Facilities: Details of nearest facilities to dive site i.e. public car parking and toilets, slipways etc

Rathlin Harbour has pontoons for around 40 boats. Water and electricity are available on the pontoon but there is no reliable source of fuel. Public toilets are available in Church Bay between the harbour and the pub, near the playground.

Ballycastle Harbour has a gated slipway (open during office hours) and pontoon berthing. Free car parking is available above the harbour and marina. Free public toilets are available in the visitor information office above the harbour.

Berthing fees apply for both Rathlin and Ballycastle Harbour Office; for use of either, contact the Ballycastle Harbour Office: 02820768525 / 07803505984.

Nearest tank filling is Aquaholics in Ballycastle or Portstewart (ring ahead: 028 7083 2584)

Hazards: Anecdotal information on possible hazards at the site for divers and snorkellers

  • The trawl bobbins have potential to be an entanglement hazard.
  • Boat traffic between Rathlin and Ballycastle.
Description: A general description of the physical features of the dive site

The wreck is partially buried under the seabed, which is made up of clay with a layer of sand on top

History: The history of the wreck provided by the Senior Marine Archaeologist from the Department for Communities Historic Environment Division (only included for wreck sites)

Date of loss 03/11/1962. A British steam fishing trawler operating out of Fleetwood and owned by Heward Trawlers Ltd., London. LBD: 51.84 x 8.94 x 2.59. 595 tonnes. Ran aground on the wreck of the HMS Drake, a Royal Navy armoured cruiser, which had sunk in 1916. It had become a tradition for these fishing boats to call at Rathlin before heading to fishing grounds. The wreck of the Ella Hewitt and Drake were later dispersed with explosives by the Royal Navy. There is still substantial wreckage from both vessels on the seafloor. The wreck of the Ella Hewitt falls with the protected scheduled area of HMS Drake. Diving within the scheduled area is permitted on a ‘look but do not touch’ basis.

Information derived from Historic Environment Record of Northern Ireland (HERoNI), Department for Communities, Historic Environment Division.

Biodiversity: A description of the species composition at the site. Species of interest are highlighted. Follow the links for more information about the species on the NBN Atlas Northern Ireland website

The species composition of the seabed that surrounds the wreck is the same as that described from the HMS Drake: sand gobies, the burrowing anemone Cerianthus lloydii and the slender sea pen Virgularia mirabilis  (a Northern Ireland Priority Species).

View all species records from this site

A link to the dive site location on the NBN Atlas Northern Ireland website, showing all species records from within a 1km boundary of the site centroid. Any new species records from the site submitted to Seasearch, iRecord, CEDaR Online Recording or iNaturalist will appear here
Local charters: A link to the website for the nearest Dive Centre to the site. A map of all dive centres is provided under ‘Go Diving’

Aquaholics

Environmental and Historical Designations: A list of any environmental or historical designations attributed to the site, or overlapping it. Follow the link for more information

Rathlin MCZ
Rathlin SAC
Rathlin Island SPA

More information: Links to additional information found online for the dive site

Irish Wrecks Online

Northern Ireland Marine MapViewer

Safety: Safety tips

  • In an emergency call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.
  • Follow VHF radio Channel 16 (156.8 MHz), the international distress frequency. Send a distress alert followed by ‘MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY’ and ‘This is [boat name]’.
  • Find nearest defibrillator (AED) here.
  • Ballycastle/Rathlin Harbour Office No. 028 207 68525 Mobile Number 07803 505084.
  • When navigating within Ballycastle or Rathlin Harbour, use VHF Channel 80.
Latitude, Longitude: The approximate XY coordinates for the dive site in Decimel Degrees (DD). These can be converted to DMS or DDM by following the link below
55.285767, -6.209033

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