Built in 1881 at the Swan & Hunter Shipyard in Newcastle, England, at the dawn of the age of steam-driven ships, the Darlington was a sturdy, iron-hulled steamer powered by a 250-horsepower compound inverted engine. Five years later, carrying a cargo of more than 5,000 bales of cotton and 15,000 bushels of grain from New Orleans to Bremen, Germany, the vessel was navigating unfamiliar waters around Bermuda. After Captain Richard Ward failed to assign a lookout while navigating the unfamiliar waters, the ship crashed into Bermuda's Western Reef on February 22, 1886. The Darlington’s five officers and 23 crew members all survived. Failing to re-float the vessel, a Marine Board of Inquiry eventually found Captain Ward negligent for failing to assign a lookout to help with navigating the reefs.


Today the Darlington remains fairly intact, but has collapsed onto herself and lies on her port side. The wreckage lies in relatively shallow waters – in 16 to 30 feet of water – with her steam boilers, propeller shaft, and deck winches still recognizable. The rudder points up to the surface and, in stormy weather, can break the water line. The rudder and propeller are still in place. Widely photographed features include the rudder quadrant and propeller section, which are both encrusted with fire coral (creating a stunning, bright red color). . The ship’s winch is the most readily recognizable element of the heavyily damaged forward section. Two massive boilers come to within inches of the surface and are often exposed during low tide. Divers who follow the propeller shaft for the entire length encounter the hollow mast, which has provided an excellent shelter for frequent slipper lobsters and massive sea hares. Visitors can also swim a short distance from the Darlington to an area with the buried remains of an unidentified Spanish galleon.


Location: 32°17'14.35"N, 64°59'2.76"W    Length: 285 feet (87 meters)    Maximum Depth: 30 feet (9 meters)    Tonnage: 1,990 tons    Protected Area Radius - No Fishing: 300m