The side-paddlewheel steamer Montana sank in December 1863 after running into shallow reefs off Bermuda’s northwest coast. Like the Mary-Celestia, the Montana was a blockade runner between England, Bermuda and North Carolina. The sailing ship carried contraband goods, including arms, to and from the Confederacy during the Civil War. The vessel went by three previous names – Nola, Gloria and Paramount – before finishing as the Montana. The ship frequently out-ran Union gunboats that couldn’t keep up with the sleek steamer.
What’s left of the Montana lies in 30 feet of water, with the bow section partially intact. The wreck is marked by two steam boilers and two paddlewheel frames lying on their sides. The ship is adorned with both hard and soft corals. Field schools and researchers hosted by the Bermuda Maritime Museum carried out several surveys of the wreck and mapped the site often from 1985 to 2000.
The Montana is located near another shipwreck, the Constellation, which sank roughly 100 years later. Both sites are popular destinations for tourists aboard glass-bottom boats as well as divers on snorkeling and scuba diving tours in the area. The Montana is easy to find because the site is buoyed under the Bermuda Dive Sites program. It’s also a protected site, so no fishing is allowed within 300 meters of the shipwreck.
Location: 32.21'.663N, 64.54'.793W Built: 1864 in Liverpool, England Length: 72 meters (236 feet) / Width: 42 feet Displacement: 750 tons Maximum Depth: 12 meters / Maximum Speed: 15 knots Protected Area Radius - No Fishing: 300m