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Quality top brand scuba diving consoles to suit every scuba diver's requirements from The Scuba Doctor dive shop.

A scuba diving console is an essential piece of equipment. Most allow you to monitor your air supply underwater. The modular nature of some diving instrument consoles means that it is possible to add on an analogue depth gauge, a compass, and even a dive computer, in addition to the submersible pressure gauge (SPG).



Lady Cheryl

Wreck Dive Wreck Dive | Boat access Boat access

Inside Port Phillip Open Water Rated Slack Water Wreck Dive Site

Fishing Vessel | Max Depth: 14 m (46 ft)

Lady Cheryl
Lady Cheryl | © Mike Smith

Level: Open Water and beyond.

The 27-metre fishing trawler Lady Cheryl sank off Point Nepean on 24 March 2012, spilling about 30,000 litres of diesel fuel. The master, Skipper Grade 2 Darrin John Laidlaw, and four of the five crew members recorded blood alcohol readings in excess of 0.05 in breach of the trawler owner's zero tolerance policy. All crew were rescued by Port Phillip Sea Pilots.

Diving the Lady Cheryl Shipwreck

Lady Cheryl Dive
Lady Cheryl Dive | © Ian Scholey

There is a huge gash along the starboard side giving access to the internals of the wreck.

The Rip & Tides Warning: Always keep an eye on sea conditions throughout any shore or boat dive within "The Rip" (aka "The Heads"). This is a dangerous stretch of water, where Bass Straight meets Port Phillip, which has claimed many ships and lives. Please read the warnings on the web page diving-the-rip before diving or snorkelling this site.

Lady Cheryl Shipwreck History — Built in 1987

Lady Cheryl was a purpose built deep sea commercial fishing vessel of 157 gross registered tonnes, built in 1987. It was owned and operated by Corporate Alliance Enterprises Pty Ltd, Melbourne. The vessel had been operating out of the Port of Melbourne for the previous six years. Fishing voyages were usually of between seven and ten days duration all year round. At the time of the incident the vessel was under survey with Transport Safety Victoria.

Lady Cheryl was of steel construction, with a forward wheelhouse and fitted for stern trawling. It had an overall length of 27.4 metres, an extreme breadth of 7.92 metres and at the time of the incident had a maximum draught of about 3.6 metres. Propulsion power was supplied by a 440 kW Cummins diesel engine driving a righthanded single screw propeller, giving it a service speed of about 10 knots.

Lady Cheryl Sinking — 24 March 2012

The commercial fishing vessel FV Lady Cheryl departed Williamstown at about 2100 on the evening of Friday 23 March 2012, for a 10-day deep sea fishing voyage. The vessel was manned with a master, an engineer and four general purpose hands. At about 2114 the vessel passed Breakwater Pier, Williamstown and set a course to the West Channel, situated to the east of the Bellarine Peninsula. It was intended that the vessel transit Port Phillip, depart through Port Phillip Heads and then set a course for the fishing grounds to the west of Tasmania.

However, in the early hours of the following morning, when abeam Shortland Bluff (Queenscliff) and still within Port Phillip, the Lady Cheryl altered course towards Point Nepean. The master did not notice the error and Lady Cheryl ran aground on the outlying reef at Point Nepean at 0057 on Saturday 24 March 2012.

The master was able to manoeuvre the vessel off the reef and attempted to head back to Williamstown. However, the vessel was holed below the waterline and commenced sinking rapidly, forcing the crew to abandon ship into the pilot launch that had arrived at the scene.

At the time of the incident the wind direction at the Heads was west-south-westerly at about 25 knots, gusting to about 35 knots with high seas, and a south-south-westerly swell of two to three metres in height. The tide was flooding.

Lady Cheryl Track
Lady Cheryl Track | Source: Transport Safety Victoria

The subsequent investigation concluded that the master mistook Shortland Bluff for Point Lonsdale and believing that the vessel was clear of Port Phillip Heads, altered course to head to the fishing grounds. Instead, the course alteration directed the vessel towards Point Nepean.

It was found that the master was fatigued and had consumed a significant amount of alcohol, both factors contributing to his loss of situational awareness. The investigation also found that the master had not made effective use of navigation aids within the port and navigational equipment aboard his vessel. The master and four of the five crew members recorded blood alcohol readings in excess of 0.05 in breach the trawler owner's zero tolerance policy.

See also, Heritage Council Victoria: Lady Cheryl.

Finding the Lady Cheryl Shipwreck

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

  • Scuba Doctor (green):
    Latitude: 38° 17.936′ S   (38.298933° S / 38° 17′ 56.16″ S)
    Longitude: 144° 39.235′ E   (144.653917° E / 144° 39′ 14.1″ E)
  • Peter (blue):
    Latitude: 38° 17.934′ S   (38.2989° S / 38° 17′ 56.04″ S)
    Longitude: 144° 39.238′ E   (144.65396667° E / 144° 39′ 14.28″ E)

    6 m, bearing 49°, NE

Lady Cheryl Plot
Lady Cheryl Plot, © Packo

The rough 'wreck outline' by Packo for the Lady Cheryl in the plot above is not 'gospel' but gives you a rough indication of how the wreck lies in relation to the various GPS marks.

Boon Wurrung / Bunurong country
Boon Wurrung / Bunurong country

Traditional Owners — This dive site is in the traditional Country of the Boon Wurrung / Bunurong people of the Kulin Nation. This truly ancient Country includes parts of Port Phillip, from the Werribee River in the north-west, down to Wilson's Promontory in the south-east, including the Mornington Peninsula, French Island and Phillip Island, plus Western Port. We wish to acknowledge the Boon Wurrung 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.

 

Lady Cheryl Location Map

Latitude: 38° 17.936′ S   (38.298933° S / 38° 17′ 56.16″ S)
Longitude: 144° 39.235′ E   (144.653917° E / 144° 39′ 14.1″ E)

Datum: WGS84 | Google Map
Added: 2012-07-22 09:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2022-05-15 04:51:30 GMT
Source: GPS
Nearest Neighbour: Empress of the Sea, 589 m, bearing 111°, ESE
Fishing Vessel.
Built: 1987.
Sunk: 24 March 2012.
Port Phillip Heads.
Depth: 6 to 14 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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