The USS Oriskany
Viking Diving runs more charters to the USS Oriskany than any other dive operator on the Gulf Coast. At the time of this publishing Captain Thorsen had logged 750+ dives on the carrier himself and has more experience in diving than any other dive charter captain on the Gulf Coast - bar none. We specialize in small groups and a comfortable boat for your pleasure. Captain Thorsen is not your typical 6-pack captain. In fact, he holds the highest rating of any charter boat captian on the Gulf Coast. He has worked with organizations and been captain to boats to include Dive Live Aboards and Research Ships with organizations such as The Coral Reef Foundation and The Cousteau Society. No one has the experience and training to ensure your safety in diving like Captain Thorsen. We do not use illegal attachments to the wreck nor do we allow anyone to harm our natural resouces in our Gulf. We have been the stuarts of protection of our dive sites since before most dive operators where certified to dive. Come let us show you the "Experience of a Lifetime".
Since the Mighty "O" is not your typical dive site there are basic qualification requirements we look for before taking someone out to this wreck.
1) You must have a minimum of 20 logged dives or Advanced certification.
2) You must dive with a dive computer and dive safety sausage.
3) You must dive with a dive buddy or our Dive Master (provided free of charge)
4) You must stay above 130 feet (the flightdeck is at 145 feet)
The Captain or Dive Master always reserves the right to superceed any of these requirements based on individual divers proficiency and demonstration of skills.
Dive Site Specifications:
Top of Wreck - Depth: 78 feet (23.7 m)
Main Bridge - Depth: 120 feet (36.5 m)
Flight Deck - Depth: 145 feet (44.2 m)
Sea Floor - Depth: 212 feet (64.6 m)
Overall Length: 900 feet (274 m)
Overall Width: 157 feet (47.9 m)
Average Visibility: 100+ feet (30+ m)
Scuttled by the US Navy in 2006 the Oriskany is the largest object intentionally deployed as an artificial reef, and the first aircraft carrier sunk since WWII. She has an impressive length of 911 feet, a massive breadth of 148 feet, and a height of 151 feet with 17 decks. Eight decks on the island structure above the flight deck alone. She rests on the seabed at 212 feet but rises to within 80 feet of the surface. This puts her within the range of almost any level of diver training. Though storms have taken their toll on her since her sinking, due to her size, shape, and structure she attracts a diverse array of marine life with many species being unique to her that are not seen anywhere else in the Northern Gulf. Sitting 23 nautical miles to the South East of Pensacola Pass she is bathed by clear water from the nearby Desoto Canyon and is known to have impressive visibility that often reaches over 100 feet laterally. She is one of the most popular dives in the world and listed as number five on the dive sites for the Florida Panhandle Shipwreck Trail. Every diver should put this site on their must do list.