LATEST NEWS on the rudder which was lifted by Commercial & Specialised Diving in 2013: Dave Parham, Associate Professor at Bournemouth University confirmed that the conservation of the rudder, which was lifted by Commercial & Specialised Diving in 2013, being undertaken at York Archaelogical Trust is scheduled for completion at the end of this year. The rudder will then go on display at Poole Museum late 2016/early 2017.

Swash Channel Wreck Rudder Carving
Swash Channel Wreck Rudder

The History:

When a Dutch dredging ship struck an obstacle in 1990 in Poole Harbour, a site already well known for its wrecks, little attention was paid for over a decade. However, after an investigation of the site was commissioned in 2004 the UK’s largest underwater excavation – since the Mary Rose 20 years before – was started by Bournemouth University led by Dave Parham, Associate Professor in Maritime Archaeology.

Although its exact identity is still unknown the Swash Channel Wreck is thought to be a Dutch merchant ship built around 1628 that sunk just a few years later. As well as large parts of the ship being intact and well preserved a number of carvings, some of the earliest found on a wreck site in the world, have been rescued from the site.

Commercial & Specialised Diving’s Role:

The largest section of the ship to be raised, the 8.3m elaborately carved rudder that weighs 3.5 tonnes, was raised last summer with the help of Commercial & Specialised Diving. This huge carving posed a number of challenges due to its immense size and fragile nature. Commercial & Specialised Diving were consulted during the design of the bespoke two phase lifting frame and cradle, as well as conducting all dives during the lift to ensure the rudder was lifted safely and securely.

Diver being preped
Commercial and Specialised Diving Diver ready to assist in rudder lift
Custom Built Support Frame
Custom-made support frame
Rudder Lift in Progress
Rudder lift in progress
Lift successfully completed
Lift successfully completed

For more information on the wreck the BBC’s The One Show produced a piece on the wreck shown above, for which Commercial and Specialised Diving provided the underwater cameramen.

Poole Museum Society have written the following blog detailing the history of the wreck and trading within Poole Harbour.