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With a little practice, dry suits can provide unparalleled warmth and comfort during a dive, as well as leaving you nice and dry between and after dives.

The purpose of a drysuit is to ensure the wearer is kept dry and to provide thermal insulation or passive thermal protection to the wearer while immersed in water. Although these suits are predominantly worn by divers, other users such as boaters, water sports enthusiasts, and others who work or play in or near cold water also benefit from these suits. A dry suit normally protects the whole body except the head, hands, and possibly the feet, this is were the need for hoods, gloves and boots are greatly increased. In some configurations, however, all of these are covered as well.

The main part of the drysuit is a waterproof shell made from a membrane type material, neoprene or a commercial foam rubber.

Types of Dry Suits

Scuba drysuits are made from a few different materials.

  • Neoprene
  • Tri-Laminate
  • Vulcanized Rubber
  • And more...

Each type of suit comes with its own unique set of pluses and minuses.

Drysuit Features

A dry suits features are what turns it from a big person shaped water bag, into something that can keep you warm and dry in even the coldest water.

Multiple valves, zippers and seals all come together to form what looks to be a deceptively simple suit, but is actually a sophisticated piece of environmental survival equipment.

Fitting Drysuits

Because they are worn baggier than a wetsuit and an exact fit isn't necessary, fitting a dry suit is very easy.

But be aware: different brands can vary in their sizing.

The best thing to do is try on the suit while wearing whatever thermal under garment you plan to wear while diving.

Try squatting down to see if you can do so comfortably. Reach your hands over your head, hug yourself, bend twist and generally move around. If you feel like you have a good range of motion in all angles and directions without the suit being too baggy or tight, then the suit fits.

Make sure the boots fit, as this will be your biggest source of discomfort if not sized properly.

If you can't find something off the rack, then you'll have to get measurements done and order a custom suit.

Putting it All Together

There is no way around it, buying a drysuit is probably the most expensive piece of equipment the 'average' diver will buy. That's IF you can call anyone who is looking for a way to dive in freezing cold water and/or weather 'average'.

If you take a look at each of the above sections you'll have a good head start on picking out a great suit.

If you're lucky and have some dive buddies that own drysuits and are willing to let you try theirs, or a knowledgeable local dive shop like The SCUBA Doctor, them you'll be a lot further ahead.

Take the time to do your homework and you'll find the right suit that hopefully won't empty your bank account.

J1 Deep Submarine

Wreck Dive Wreck Dive | Boat access Boat access

Deep Rated Outside Port Phillip Wreck Dive Site

Diesel Electric Submarine | Max Depth: 38 m (125 ft) — Graveyard

HMAS J1 Submarine in Victoria
HMAS J1 Submarine in Victoria
Source: State Library Victoria

The J1 Submarine (aka Deep Sub, J1 Sub, 38 Metre Sub, 125 Foot Sub, or New Deep Sub) shipwreck is part of our very own piece of WWI maritime history and an exciting deep adventure for scuba divers. Scuttled in 1926, she was rediscovered in October 1984 by MAAV members Frank Derksen, Marteen Vanetie and another diver.

The J1 Submarine was the only submarine to have crippled capital ships with a single salvo. She was also fitted with depth charges and was the only submarine to ever sink another sub with depth charges.

Diving the J1 Submarine

Diver Inside J1 Submarine
Diver Inside J1 Submarine
© Ian Scholey

The wreck of the J1 Submarine is located in the Victorian Ships' Graveyard, Bass Strait. The hull lies almost upright with a slight list to port (left) in 38 m (125 ft) with the conning tower rising to 34 m (112 ft). She lies north-east to south-west (bow north-east) and is covered in bright yellow zoanthids with a lot of fish life up the top and around the conning tower.

The J1 Submarine allows penetration by divers, and there is plenty to explore on the inside. The hatch next to the conning tower is the way in for suitably qualified divers. The J1 sub sits on an angle so it can be confusing if you silt the place up and are trying to get out. People have died here!

J1 Submarine Bow
J1 Submarine Bow
© Ian Scholey

The first compartment is reasonably open and light still gets through. Towards the bow it gets pretty dark, so a powerful torch is required.

This dive site is subject to shipping, and a Deep 40m certification is required.

Dive charter boats sometimes schedule dives on the J1 Submarine, heading out from Portsea and Queenscliff. Private dive boats usually launch at the Sorrento Boat Ramp or the Queenscliff Boat Ramp.

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.

J1 Submarine Wreck from Allie Beckhurst on Vimeo.

J1 Submarine History

HMAS J1 Submarine in Victoria
HMAS J1 Submarine in Victoria
Source: State Library Victoria

Originally HMS J1, later HMAS J1, this is one of the J class submarines designed and built during WW1 by the British Royal Navy. The J class of submarines was a seven submarine class developed in response to claims that Germany was developing submarines that were fast enough (22 knots) to operate alongside surface fleets. The rumours were actually false.

The J Class design brief was for a submarine to operate on the wings of battle fleets, diving at the commencement of engagements, and picking off stragglers, damaged ships, and acting as an anti-submarine submarine.

This class of submarines were the only design of submarines ever to have had 3 screw propellers, and at the time were the fastest subs around with a surface speed of 19 knots (35 kpm). Six J class submarines were completed during mid-1916, while a seventh entered service in 1917.

HMS J1 commissioned in the Royal Navy on 15 March 1916 under the command of Commander N.F. Laurence, DSO, RN and was allocated to the 11th Submarine Flotilla based at Blyth, Northumberland.

HMS J1 Submarine Operations

J Class Submarine Control Room
J Class Submarine Control Room
Source: Royal Navy

On 15 July 1916 the Commander-in-Chief, Grand Fleet, was informed that the German High Seas Fleet would probably be sailing that night and would be passing in the vicinity of Horn Reefs. He immediately cancelled exercises designed to test lessons learned at the recent Battle of Jutland and took steps to bring the German Fleet to battle again. As part of these dispositions J1, in company with three G Class submarines, left Blyth to patrol off the Horn Reefs. The alarm subsided, the Grand Fleet returned to exercise, and the submarines reached their patrol areas where they remained for three days. They saw nothing but a few aircraft and two surfaced U-boats which they were unable to attack.

On 18 August 1916 a German signal was intercepted which made it clear that the German High Seas Fleet would be putting to sea that night. Again the several submarine flotillas were involved in the British counter measures. By midnight 26 submarines were on the move including J1, J3, J5 and J6 sent to patrol areas off the Tyne. In the event only E23 saw anything of the Germans.

During the evening of 4 November two German submarines, U-20 and U-30, had grounded in thick fog off Bovbjerg Light on the west coast of Denmark and the 4th Destroyer Flotilla was ordered to proceed to render assistance. The battle cruisers Seydlitz and Moltke with additional destroyers were ordered to the area of the Horn Reefs in support and four battleships of the 3rd Battle Squadron (Konig, Grosser Kurfurst, Kronprinz and Markgraf) also put to sea. These events were unknown to Commander Laurence in J1 who had sailed from Blyth to patrol off the Horn Reefs. He had dived at dawn on 5 November and was patrolling submerged in a circle of 30 miles radius centred on position 55°56'N, 06°50'E.

HMS J1 Submarine with original gun
HMS J1 Submarine with original gun
Source: Royal Australian Navy

From the submarine point of view the weather was bad; visibility was only about two miles and a heavy swell made depth keeping at periscope depth difficult except by excessive use of speed. In this respect the J Class were difficult to control at periscope depth in any sea owing to the large expanse of flat upper deck. This was modified and improved later.

In order to economise in battery power and to avoid breaking surface constantly he was patrolling at a depth of 70 feet, rising occasionally to 25 feet to carry out a periscope search. At 11:50 he was about 30 miles south west of the Horn Reefs, and coming to periscope depth he sighted four enemy battleships astern, looming only about two miles away in the poor visibility. Going deep to avoid breaking surface he turned to get into an attacking position. Coming to periscope depth again he saw that the battleships were ahead and turning together to reverse course to the south. At this stage J1 broke surface and it was necessary to go full ahead to regain control, but she remained unseen. At 12:08 four Mk VII torpedoes were fired with a five degree spread at the third ship in the line, Laurence firing as J1 went deep still unable to keep depth in the heavy seas. Two explosions were heard. Surfacing at 14:30 there was nothing in sight and J1 returned to Blyth on 7 November.

The first torpedo hit Grosser Kurfurst aft, damaging her rudders and causing her to take in some 300 tons of water. Kronprinz was hit on the port bow. Both ships reached harbour under their own steam, but required several months in dock. Commander Laurence was awarded a Bar to his DSO, the original award having been made for his exploit in torpedoing Moltke in the Baltic on 19 August 1915.

At 13:30 on 19 March 1917, in position 56°N, 00°32'W, while en route to patrol off Utsire, J1 fired a torpedo at an enemy submarine and missed. An hour later she sighted some British minesweepers screened by the destroyers Rival and Orpheus, and reported the presence of the enemy submarine to Rival. The destroyers had been in sight for nearly an hour when Orpheus suddenly closed at high speed and fired four rounds at short range at J1, narrowly missing the bridge. It transpired that she had not seen the interchange of signals between Rival and J1, had not been aware of the presence of a friendly submarine, and approaching at high speed from leeward had not seen the White Ensign flown by J1.

J1 made further unsuccessful attacks on enemy submarines on 8 and 9 May 1917.

In June 1917 it was decided to conduct a large scale operation using both destroyers and submarines to flush out enemy submarines either leaving for patrol or returning to their bases from the Atlantic. Known as Operation BB, it was planned to force enemy submarines to dive through certain areas heavily patrolled by destroyers so that they would be on the surface while passing through adjacent areas patrolled by British submarines. The British submarines employed included J1, J2, J4 and J5. During the ten days, 15 to 24 June, 19 German submarines passed in or out of the North Sea; 12 homeward bound and seven outward bound. There were 26 sightings and 11 attacks made, eight by destroyers and three by submarines.

On 20 June at 14:45 in position 58°N, 01°36'E, J1 saw an enemy submarine come to the surface three miles away and fired one torpedo at 4,500 yards. Three more were fired but by then the range opened again to 5000 yards and all missed. J1 then surfaced and gave chase at full speed opening fire with her gun. She claimed two hits before the enemy was lost in poor visibility.

On 28 July 1917, at 18:15 when on patrol off the Danish coast near the Lodbierg Light, J1 sighted a submarine and fired four torpedoes, all of which missed. The enemy was probably U-45.

HMS J1 in the Mediterranean
HMS J1 in the Mediterranean
Source: Royal Australian Navy

Between 1 December 1917 and 15 May 1918, J1 was based at Gibraltar and was at sea for 103 days out of 166, including 665 hours dived. On one occasion a three week patrol was carried out. Anti U-boat patrols were carried out near the shipping route along the Spanish coast or well out in the Atlantic towards the Canary Islands.

While escorting a convoy near Gibraltar on 31 July 1918, HMS Kennett was ordered to proceed to the assistance of J1 which had broken down and was lying stopped. Kennett received this information from a seaplane, though it is not clear whether the seaplane landed to pass over the information or merely dropped a message nearby. Kennett was unable to assist and J1 had to be towed back to Gibraltar.

On 9 November 1918 while on patrol off Gibraltar, J1 attacked an enemy submarine. The target may have been UB-51. Having fired a salvo of torpedoes, and missed, J1 then surfaced and opened fire with her gun and the enemy boat dived. She then closed the spot and dropped depth charges on the estimated position of the enemy. Although unsuccessful the attack is of interest since it involved an unusual form of attack by one submarine on another. The depth charges were fitted as the result of an idea by J1's Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander RL Ramsay RN, who had envisaged four '200 lb naval bomb stick throwers' abaft the conning tower. In the event two chutes were fitted internally just forward of the steering gear. About twenty charges were carried. The equipment was manned by Stokers under the Chief Stoker, orders being passed from the bridge by means of a special telegraph. The charges were lowered on strops into the chutes, the lid was then clamped down and the firer stood by for orders. When ordered a lever was pulled and the charges dropped out. The boat had to be going at full speed at the time to avoid damage to herself.

Although larger and more powerful than previous British submarines, the J class could not keep up with surface vessels and operated independently during the war. Between them, the submarines sank a U-boat, and heavily damaged two battleships. The J6 Submarine had been sunk in error in 1918 by a British ship.

HMAS J1 Submarine Operations

J1, J4, J2 alongside HMAS Platypus, circa 1920
J1, J4, J2 alongside HMAS Platypus
Source: Royal Australian Navy

Following the conclusion of hostilities in World War I, the Admiralty in 1918 presented the six remaining boats of the J Class, plus six navy destroyers, to the Australian Government. All the submarines commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy at Portsmouth on 25 March 1919, as tenders to the submarine depot ship HMAS Platypus. The commanding officer of J1 was Lieutenant Ronald A Trevor RN.

The beam tubes were removed from all six J Class submarines before they sailed for Australia. The tubes were despatched separately to Garden Island. The reasons given for the removal were that the beam tubes were not a success and that increased accommodation was required.

J1 Submarine in the Suez Canal
J1 Submarine in the Suez Canal
Source: Royal Australian Navy

On 9 April 1919, HMAS Platypus and the submarines, escorted by the light cruiser HMAS Sydney, sailed from Portsmouth for Australia, their first two ports of call being Gibraltar and Valetta. Other ports of call included Port Said, Aden, Colombo, Singapore, Thursday Island, and Brisbane. The J5 developed engine trouble during the voyage and was taken under tow by the HMAS Sydney, and later the HMAS Brisbane. When they arrived in Sydney, Australia on 15 July 1919, the six submarines were all in poor condition. They were taken in hand at Garden Island Dockyard for refitting.

HMAS J1 Submarine in Sydney
HMAS J1 Submarine in Sydney
Source: Royal Australian Navy

After her refit was completed in February 1920, HMAS J1 sailed on 16 February 1920, in company with J4 and HMAS Platypus, for the submarine base at Geelong, Victoria. Osborne House, previously a rest home for nurses, was used as the base for the six submarines. The ironclad Cerberus was renamed HMAS Platypus II on 1 April 1921 and acted as a depot ship to the J Class submarines whilst stationed at Geelong. The HMAS Platypus II is not to be confused with the HMAS Platypus which was one of the six gift vessels which escorted the J submarines from England to Australia.

The J1, J2, J4 and J5 submarines carried out a major cruise in Tasmanian waters in January 1921.

After uneventful service, little of which was spent at sea, J4 and her five sisters paid off into Reserve and decommissioned at Western Port on 12 July 1922. The boats had become victims of the worsening economic conditions of the time, coupled with their high cost of maintenance.

J1 Submarine Details

J-class Submarine General Arrangement
J-class Submarine General Arrangement
Source: Royal Australian Navy

The J1 Submarine was built in 1915 at Portsmouth Naval Dockyard, England, launched on 6 November 1915 as a double-hulled type, triple screw submarine. At that time the J class were the fastest subs in existence.

It's commonly believed that the J-class submarines were identical in dimensions and layout, but this is not so. Royal Navy drawings placed the J class into two groups of J1–4 and J5–7, and that the bridge of J7 was moved 60 feet aft compared to J5–6. Plans show a difference in overall length between the two groups, with J5–7 at 274 feet 9 inches being 9 inches shorter than J1–4 which were 275 feet 6 inches.

The overall length of the J1 Submarine was approximately 275.5 ft (84 m), beam 23.25 ft (7.09 m) and draught 16 ft (4.88 m) giving a displacement weight of 1,210 t (1,334 s-ton) surfaced and 1,820 t (2,006 s-ton) submerged.

Inside a J-class Submarine
Inside a J-class Submarine
Source: Royal Australian Navy

The J-class submarines were powered by three 12-cylinder Vickers solid injection, direct reversing, 4-cycle, diesel engines of 14.5-inch bore and 14-inch stroke, producing a total of 3,600 HP at 380 rpm. For submerged running there were two Mather & Platt 700 HP electric motors, for a total of 1,400 HP, powered by four banks of 58 cell batteries.

The vessel had a maximum speed of 19 knots (35 kpm) surfaced and 9.4 knots (17 kpm) submerged, with a range of 4,000 nm (7,408 km) at 12 knots (22 kpm) and 2,250 nm (4,167 km) at full speed surfaced. The maximum safe diving depth was 300 ft (91 m). The J-class submarines were equipped with a powerful long-range wireless and were ideally suited to reconnoitre in enemy water.

The J Class submarines principal weapons originally were:

  1. 6 x 18-inch (457 mm) torpedo tubes (4 bow, 2 beam)
  2. 1 x 4-inch (102 mm) gun
  3. The J1, for a brief period, was fitted with Depth charges

J1 Submarine Scuttling

J1 in Australian waters, circa 1920
J1 Submarine in Australian waters
Source: Royal Australian Navy

The decision to scrap the submarines J1 to J5 was taken on 19 November 1923 following a cut in the defence budget by some 500,000 pounds. In January 1924 the Melbourne Salvage Company purchased the J1, J2, J4 and J5 submarines for 10,500 pounds. The purchasers were under a bond of 1,000 pounds to the Defence Department as a guarantee of the final destruction of the submarines. The contract also included the sinking in deep water or breaking up or otherwise disposing of the submarines to the satisfaction of the government contract board.

In the early morning of Wednesday 26th May 1926, the J1 Submarine was taken from a berth at Williamstown by the tug Minah, and was towed through The Heads out into Bass Strait. She was positioned in deep water outside the three miles limit, off Barwon Heads. The vessel's seacocks were opened and she went down in 65 minutes.

The J1 Submarine was found by MAAV member Frank Derksen, Marteen Vanetie and another diver in October 1984.

Four subs, J1, J2, J4, and J5, were scuttled in the Victorian Ships' Graveyard. Two were scuttled as breakwaters: J3 near Swan Island, and J7 at Sandringham Yacht Club.

See also Heritage Council Victoria: J-1 Submarine,
Australian National Shipwreck Database: J-1 Submarine
Royal Australian Navy: HMAS J1,
WW1 J Class Submarines,
WW1 J Class Subs,
Wikipedia: HMS J1, and
Wikipedia: J-class submarine.

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

Finding the J1 Submarine

Over the years we've been provided with different GPS marks for the J1 Submarine. The GPS marks we know of in circulation for the J1 Submarine are:

  • Book - Victoria's Ships' Graveyard GPS (verified):
    Latitude: 38° 18.959′ S   (38.315988° S / 38° 18′ 57.56″ S)
    Longitude: 144° 33.219′ E   (144.553648° E / 144° 33′ 13.13″ E)
  • Dive Victoria:
    Latitude: 38° 18.958′ S   (38.31596667° S / 38° 18′ 57.48″ S)
    Longitude: 144° 33.220′ E   (144.55366667° E / 144° 33′ 13.2″ E)

    3 m, bearing 34°, NE
  • Allie Beckhurst:
    Latitude: 38° 18.967′ S   (38.31611667° S / 38° 18′ 58.02″ S)
    Longitude: 144° 33.239′ E   (144.55398333° E / 144° 33′ 14.34″ E)

    33 m, bearing 116°, ESE
  • Geoff Rodda:
    Latitude: 38° 18.970′ S   (38.316166666667° S / 38° 18′ 58.2″ S)
    Longitude: 144° 33.241′ E   (144.55401666667° E / 144° 33′ 14.46″ E)

    38 m, bearing 121°, ESE
Wathaurong (Wadda-Warrung) country
Wathaurong (Wadda-Warrung) country

Traditional Owners — This dive site is in the traditional Country of the Wathaurong (Wadda-Warrung) people of the Kulin Nation. This truly ancient Country includes the coastline of Port Phillip, from the Werribee River in the north-east, the Bellarine Peninsula, and down to Cape Otway in the south-west. We wish to acknowledge the Wathaurong as Traditional Owners. We pay respect to their Ancestors and their Elders, past, present and emerging. We acknowledge Bunjil the Creator Spirit of this beautiful land, who travels as an eagle, and Waarn, who protects the waterways and travels as a crow, and thank them for continuing to watch over this Country today and beyond.


J1 Deep Submarine Location Map

Latitude: 38° 18.959′ S   (38.315988° S / 38° 18′ 57.56″ S)
Longitude: 144° 33.219′ E   (144.553648° E / 144° 33′ 13.13″ E)

Datum: WGS84 | Google Map
Added: 2012-07-22 09:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2022-04-28 15:49:27 GMT
Source: Book - Victoria's Ships' Graveyard GPS (verified)
Nearest Neighbour: New Deep Bommie, 1,157 m, bearing 101°, E
J-Class Submarine, 1820 ton.
Built: Portsmouth, UK, 1915/1916.
Scuttled: 26 May 1926.
Victorian Ships' Graveyard, Bass Strait.
Depth: 31 to 38 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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