THE STORY OF RESURGAM

(RESURGAM - 'I will rise again')

 

RESURGAM was the first steam powered submarine, built by Rev.George W. Garrett of Manchester, England, in 1879 and wrecked off the coast of Rhyl in 1880. Approximately 41 feet in length and 7 feet in diameter, she is now deteriorating on the sea-bed due to the inabilitiy of official bodies  to make the right decisions regarding salvage. When first found, her hull timbers were intact and much of the restraining banding intact. The timbers are now gone and the hull is exposed to the scouring effects of current and sand.

Various theories exist as to why the vessel was not found earlier, but the most likely reason is that she was hidden below the sea-bed, which served to protect her. Now that she is exposed, the risk of damage from collision with heavy anchors or commercial trawling is real. If recovered, the vessel will need to be immersed in a salinity controlled water tank and the metal stabilised through gradual removal of electrolytes. Cost of salvage and recovery has been estimated at in excess of £100,000 by some bodies, but others (including the author of this page) believe that the recovery operation could be carried out for a figure closer to £10,000. A lot of rubbish is being put out by both official bodies and some archaeologists for reasons of their own - very few of whom have any real experience of salvage in the true sense. The sad thing is that there are plenty of individuals and small companies who could safely and easily salvage this small vessel, but being a protected vessel under the law, no salvage can take place without the correct recovery license from CADW.

Preservation costs have been estimated as high, as there needs to be a long-term committment. However, if a local authority were to provide an existing building to house a preservation tank and the tank (at cost?) built by some generous steel fabrication firm, the costs could become very affordable, even at local authority level. If the tank was constructed in the correct manner, with viewing ports and overhead walkways, it would allow visitors to North Wales to view the vessel and this in turn would enhance the attractions of the North Wales Coast. No doubt, some will disagree with my thoughts but they are here on the Internet to make the public aware that if nothing is done, the vessel will eventually become lost to society through the usual mis-management of anything where our 'quangoes' are involved.

Come on councillors of Rhyl area - imagine what a tourist attraction this would be!

 

Diver inspects the propellor of Resurgam(left) and (right) Port side before the wooden hull cladding was lost.

 

View of the boiler inside the hull, looking aft from the bow. To get this picture, the camera was held through a hole on the port bow. The build-up of silt can be seen across the end of the boiler, extending left down to the bottom right corner of the picture.

 

 

 

 

 

The wreck is home to a wide variety of marine creatures and is populated with white anemone. Shoals of fish hang suspended around and above the wreck, so plentiful on occasions that to dive Resurgam is more like a dive in continental waters.

(Photographs extracted from a video taken by Richard Bufton.)

©2005 Richard Bufton

Note: The Resurgam is a protected wreck, under the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973 and it is an offence to dive the designated wreck-site without a license issued by the Secretary of State for Wales.

 

Email to:

richard@richardbufton.co.uk

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