Emerald Sea Photography
The wreck of the Ranger lies just
off the breakwater
around the Boat Haven marina in Port Townsend. It is
accessible from shore, located in about 30’ of water near
the old railroad ferry terminal just west of the marina.
The wood hulled Ranger is about 80’ long and is constructed
of very stout timbers and large iron spikes. The old
work boat was being re-fitted or salvaged in the marina,
when it was moved to the old ferry dock, abandoned, and
allowed to sink where she now lies.
You can see that the boat took out many of the pilings of the ferry dock’s west wing wall as she sank, and still lies, bow facing the dock (southwest). She sits upright on the bottom, hard against (and on top of) the old wing wall (which is mostly submerged, but dangerous if diving this site by boat). This makes finding the Ranger pretty easy, just follow the wing wall, heading northeast from the old railroad ferry terminal. Once the visible pilings end, the broken off pilings are just below the surface and are easy to find, the Ranger lies just outside the piles, her deck is only about 15’ deep and she is easily visible from the surface.
The wreck is very large, and is covered with many varieties of nudibranchs that will delight the critter watchers on the dive. For those hard core wreck divers, the chain steering pulley and cables are visible, which once controlled the huge rudder to maneuver this big boat around Admiralty Inlet. The propeller is long gone, as is the deck house and wheel house, but bits and pieces of machinery and hardware can be found hiding around the vessel.
The wreck of the Ranger makes a nice second dive site after the Alaska Reefer, or even a nice site to snorkel or dive from shore. To access this site from shore, park near the restroom at the shipyard just southwest of the Boat Haven Marina in Port Townsend, gear up and walk, wade or swim to the wing wall of the old railroad ferry dock. The dock is plainly visible, with many sections between the shore and the old ferry slip collapsed or removed. Once at the wing wall (there is only one), swim to the end of the visible piles, then continue northeast, following the line of submerged piles, and you’ll spot the Ranger on the bottom about 100’ North of Ferry Dock. Submerge and have a great dive. At this shallow depth, you should have plenty of air!
Note if you zoom in on the Google Maps Satellite image, you can actually see the wreck of the Ranger sitting on the bottom against the wing walls. This satellite image is several years old, and the pilings right next to the wreck of the Ranger are now broken off just below the surface.