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Hookah Harnesses

The hookah harness or a BCD keeps the air hose from getting in the diver's way when working underwater. Hookah harnesses are sometimes integrated with a weight belt, to counteract your body's natural buoyancy and make depth control easier.

The hookah harness typically has a backplate which is automatically positioned over the centre of the diver's back when the harness is worn. The backplate is often used to hold a bailout or emergency air source system. The backplate holds a check valve, which acts as a junction point for the air hose and the regulator. Since the air hose terminates at the diver's back, it prevents potential entanglements around the diver's body.

The regulator intake hose that attaches to the check valve prevents any pulling motion from the regulator while working underwater. For example, if a diver were moving around underwater and inadvertently came to the end of the air hose, the harness would absorb the shock and the regulator end would not be jerked from the diver's mouth.

The check valve that is found on the backplate performs a third very vital function. It acts as a safety gate by shutting down the air system, allowing the air to travel in only in one direction. Should a burst or leak occur in the airline somewhere between the output of the compressor and the input of the check valve, it could prevent a vacuum occurring in the mouthpiece of the regulator or cause a diver to breathe in a large amount of water that could cause panic.

Never, ever, dive without a hookah harness or BCD and a check valve!

Please read Introduction to Hookah Diving for more information about things you need to consider with a hookah diving setup.


Wreck Dive Wreck Dive | Boat access Boat access

Deep Rated Outside Port Phillip Ships Graveyard Technical Rated Wreck Dive Site

Three-Masted Iron Barque, Lighter | Max Depth: 57 m (187 ft) — Graveyard

The Casablanca shipwreck lies in the Victorian Ships' Graveyard in Bass Strait.

Diving the Casablanca Shipwreck

Source: State Library Victoria

Of all the sailing vessel shipwrecks in the graveyard, the Casablanca certainly has the most to offer the diver that is prepared to spend some time looking. The bow is broken off about 4 metres in and sits pointing to the surface. The stern has a distinctive sailing ship wheel.

The masts lie off to the starboard side of the wreck. All three masts are clearly identifiable suggesting she was scuttled with all three masts intact. The forward mast is lying at a 45-degree angle out from the starboard bow. The centre mast is lying 90 degrees to the length of the hull, also pointed towards the starboard bow. A crows nest can be found three-quarters of the way up the centre mast. The stern mast is lying approximately 45 degrees to the hull, also pointing towards the starboard side of the vessel.

The port side hull has collapsed inwards, and the starboard side has mostly disappeared into the sand. Only the original ribs of her are still protruding.

Bass Strait Warning: Always keep an eye on sea conditions throughout any shore or boat dive in Bass Strait on Victoria's coastline. Please read the warnings on the web page diving-in-bass-strait before diving or snorkelling this site.

Casablanca Shipwreck History — Built in 1868

Source: State Library Victoria

The Casablanca was a three-masted iron barque, built in 1868, by J. Royden and Sons, in Liverpool, England. The overall length of the Casablanca was 172.1 ft (52 m), with a beam of 28 ft (8.53 m) and draught 17.5 ft (5.33 m), 569 tons net and 601 tons gross.

The Casablanca operated for 80 years sailing the world including a final stint on the trans-Tasman run bringing timber from New Zealand to Australia. She finished her career, like so many others, as a coal hulk in Melbourne after being converted in 1912. She served in this capacity for Melbourne Steamships until 1950.

Casablanca Sinking — Scuttled 16 February 1950

The Casablanca left Williamstown under tow by the Tooronga at 11 a.m. on 16 Febrauary 1950, to catch the ebb tide at the heads. The Rip was cleared at 3:07 p.m. and they headed for the Victorian Ships' Graveyard.

On arrival at the sinking destination at 4:20 p.m. explosive charges were set. At 5:03 p.m. the first charge exploded, followed by another a minute later. The Casablance started sinking by the stern and had compleely disappeared by 5:14 p.m. into a depth of 57 m (187 ft).

See also, Heritage Council Victoria: Casablanca, and
Australian National Shipwreck Database: Casablanca.

Heritage Warning: Any shipwreck or shipwreck relic that is 75 years or older is protected by legislation. Other items of maritime heritage 75 years or older are also protected by legislation. Activities such as digging for bottles, coins or other artefacts that involve the disturbance of archaeological sites may be in breach of the legislation, and penalties may apply. The legislation requires the mandatory reporting to Heritage Victoria as soon as practicable of any archaeological site that is identified. See Maritime heritage. Anyone with information about looting or stolen artefacts should call Heritage Victoria on (03) 7022 6390, or send an email to

Mystery Casablanca GPS Mark

We have another GPS Mark for the Casablanca, just south-east of the Casablanca GPS mark we're using.

Source: Dive Victoria:
Latitude: 38° 21.757′ S   (38.36261667° S / 38° 21′ 45.42″ S)
Longitude: 144° 26.354′ E   (144.4392333° E / 144° 26′ 21.24″ E)

49 m, bearing 40°, NE

It would be interesting for someone to check it out and report back to us what, if anything, is there. It might be another location on the wreck, or a better GPS mark than the one we're using.

Traditional Owners — This dive site does not lie in the acknowledged traditional Country of any first peoples of Australia.


Casablanca Location Map

Latitude: 38° 21.777′ S   (38.362953° S / 38° 21′ 46.63″ S)
Longitude: 144° 26.332′ E   (144.438867° E / 144° 26′ 19.92″ E)

Datum: WGS84 | Google Map
Added: 2012-07-22 09:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2022-05-04 16:45:13 GMT
Source: Book - Victoria's Ships' Graveyard GPS (verified)
Nearest Neighbour: VHB 53, 298 m, bearing 325°, NW
Three-Masted Iron Barque, Lighter, 601 ton.
Built: Liverpool, England, 1868.
Scuttled: 16 February 1950.
Victorian Ships' Graveyard, Bass Strait.
Depth: 57 m.

DISCLAIMER: No claim is made by The Scuba Doctor as to the accuracy of the dive site coordinates listed here. Should anyone decide to use these GPS marks to locate and dive on a site, they do so entirely at their own risk. Always verify against other sources.

The marks come from numerous sources including commercial operators, independent dive clubs, reference works, and active divers. Some are known to be accurate, while others may not be. Some GPS marks may even have come from maps using the AGD66 datum, and thus may need be converted to the WGS84 datum. To distinguish between the possible accuracy of the dive site marks, we've tried to give each mark a source of GPS, Google Earth, or unknown.


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