Former Fishing Vessel Becomes Latest Dive Attraction For Western Australia

A former fishing vessel was sunk off the coast of Rockingham to become part of a major dive attraction.

The 400-ton, 125 foot Saxon Ranger joins 10 existing wrecks on the floor of the 279sq kilometer West Coast Dive Park, off Rockingham.

The Saxon Ranger became the first purpose-sunk dive wreck in the metropolitan area and, according to Western Australian Tourism Minister Mark McGowan, will significantly boost tourism.

The burgeoning recreational diving industry contributes more than $500 million to the national economy, of which $120 million flows into Western Australia.

Local tourism officials decided to sink the vessel for the recreational scuba diving market over two years ago and the $450,000 endeavor was financed with federal and local government funding.

"A vessel such as the Saxon Ranger with three holds easily accessible to divers will be a significant added attraction in a dive park where wrecks date back to 1874," Housing and Works Minister Fran Logan said.