A passenger/freighter built in 1900 for the Cromwell Line, the Proteus sank in a collision the night of August 19, 1918, with the tanker Cushing. She now rests in 125 feet of water off Hatteras, North Carolina. The wreck was depth charged numerous times during World War II, as her sunken hull resembled a German U-boat to many a trigger-happy seaman.

Rediscovered in 1983, she became known for her numerous bronze framed windows, whose upper section contains an ornate leaded stained glass piece; this exact style of window was also used on the legendary passenger liner Titanic. Her beautiful lines are evident in the builder’s plans, though her current condition does her no justice. The stern rises high off the bottom, with her single screw and rudder still upright above the sand. Forward of the stern, the bronze auxiliary steering helm hubs lay exposed in the sand for many years until a North Carolina diver recovered the prize in 1997. The port side of the wreck is lower than the starboard, and many artifacts are found along this edge as the ship came to rest on her side. Three large boilers sit amidships, and there are numerous digging holes just forward of this area where the ship’s china can be found. The starboard side of the wreck consists mainly of twisted hull plates. The wreck consistently has visibility in excess of 50 feet, many times approaching 100 feet, and is home to a diverse abundance of sea life including sand tiger sharks, grouper, triggerfish, rays, and sea turtles.


Lat: 34 46.52 N

Long: 75 46.93 W

Depth of wreck

125 feet

Size of wreck

Length: 390 feet

Beam: 48 feet

Wreck Dive Guide Tags:

  • 125 proteus wreck