Vobster Quay is home to one ex-military vehicle with an illustrious career - our popular Westland WS-61 Sea King helicopter. Vobster’s Sea King - registration number ZA299 - is an HC4 (Mk 4) Commando variant, a medium-lift support helicopter formerly operated by the Royal Navy’s Commando Helicopter Force (CHF).
Shortly after entering service in 1981, Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands and our Sea King was shipped down to the South Atlantic on board the Royal Navy’s taskforce flagship HMS Hermes. During the conflict, she was attached to both the SS Canberra troop transport and MV Europic Ferry to aid in the unloading of essential supplies. As Argentinian Air Force jets attacked the fleet anchored in ‘Bomb Alley’ San Carlos Water, ZA299 proved her worth and made a considerable contribution to the eventual liberation of the Islands.
She also saw active service in the former Yugoslavia and Afghanistan. Her final assignment came in 2010 with 845 Naval Air Squadron. Finally, in 2014, the Royal Navy began the process of replacing its aging fleet of Sea Kings and Sea King ZA299 was decommissioned.
Sea King Helicopter
INFORMATION FOR DIVERS
Want to dive this little piece of UK military history? Vobster's Sea King helicopter airframe lies at a depth of 24 metres in a position that makes it accessible to the majority of divers.
We've put in a lot of effort to ensure that the helicopter is safe to visit - all cabling and anything you can get tangled in has been removed but care should obviously be taken, especially if you're planning to go inside.
We've taken the sliding side door off to make access to the interior as easy as possible but we still recommend that only divers with overhead training should venture inside. Even then, make sure you take a torch with you and always ensure you know where the exit is in case the viz deteriorates. The inside of the helicopter is covered in a fine layer of silt so watch those fins - it doesn't take much to stir things up!
Whilst it's beyond the depth of Open Water divers, we're hoping it's presence will provide new divers with an incentive to further their training - we'd recommend a PADI Advanced Open Water as a minimum level. Feeling even more adventurous? A PADI Wreck Diver Specialty will give you the skills and knowledge to safely explore the impressive interior of this exciting attraction.
Loss of visibility
SAFETY FIRST: Only experienced divers with overhead environment training should enter this dive attraction. Movement inside is restricted and the cold, darkness and depth can be very disorientating. If in doubt, DO NOT ENTER!