Underwater Treasures

New Jersey's coast provides divers and fishermen a bounty of underwater places to explore and a rich supply of marine life that includes great lobster finds. Along with hundreds of shipwrecks off the coast, the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife has createda number of artificial reefs, making New Jersey one of the top sport-fishing states in the nation. And there's no lack of dives to explore; an estimated 200,000 dives are within a 100-mile radius of New Jersey.

Many of the shipwrecks, like that of the R.P. Resor, come with fascinating histories. Found 120 feet beneath the water 32 miles off Long Beach Island, the Resor was one of the victims of a World War II German U-boat operating off the coast. When U-578 torpedoed the Standard Oil of New Jersey tanker on Feb. 28, 1942, residents of the resort towns along the coast could see the fire and smoke from their homes. The Resor is considered one of the best deep-dive locations on the coast, with good visibility, large schools of cod and outstanding lobstering - sometimes lobsters are of record size. The Resor also is the site of shark-fishing tournaments in late summer. While the Resor site is ideal for the experienced diver, there are shipwrecks and reefs for all levels of experience off the New Jersey coast. For more information on scuba diving in New Jersey, visit www.scubanj.org. For a fascinating look at New Jersey's maritime history, includingshipwrecks, visit Museum of New Jersey Maritime History in Beach Haven.