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At first glance, Simpson Bay’s large sandy beach is of little interest for snorkeling. However, it hosts an interesting spot: a large shipwreck, which emerges from the water a few meters from the shore. Colonized by coral, sponges and sea fans, this wreck attracts many fish around, in a singular underwater landscape.

Simpson Bay's Wreck
The wreck sits in very shallow water, a few dozen meters only from shore.

How to go snorkeling Simpson Bay’s Wreck?

Simpson Bay (or Simpson Baai) is a large bay on the south coast of Saint-Martin. It is located in the Dutch part of the island, and stretches along the runways of Princess Juliana International Airport.

The wreck is at the western end of the beach, just before the seawall that marks the entrance to Simpson Bay Marina and Lagoon. You can park in a large car park nearby (see map) or in the surrounding streets.

Simpson Bay's Wreck snorkeling map, Sint Marteen

Water entrance for snorkeling Simpson Bay’s Wreck

Enter the water from the beach, near the wreck.

Simpson Bay’s Wreck snorkeling exploration tips

We advise you to snorkel only on the wreck and its surroundings (↕3-10ft/1-3m). All around, the seabed is sandy and of little interest.

Grunt around the wreck
Grunts from different species gather around the wreck.

This boat wreck fully plays its role of artificial reef. Over the years, it has been covered with corals, gorgonians, sponges and other encrusting organisms, bringing the seabed to life.

The wreck also offers many faults and hiding places, attracting a variety of reef fish, often juvenile. While exploring the wreck, you will encounter in particular sergeants majors, several species of grunt, bluehead wrasse, as well as blue tang.

Simpson Bay's Wreck
Sergeant majors are probably the most common fish species that can be seen at this location.

This spot is located near the entrance to the marina, around which there is quite a lot of boat traffic. Don’t stray away from the wreck.

Restaurants and accommodation nearby

Many hotels and restaurants follow one another along the 2km-long beach that borders Simpson Bay, as well as at Kim Sha Beach, about 600m on foot from the wreck.

 

  • Level required Beginner
  • Maximum depth10ft/3m
  • Water entranceFrom a sandy beach
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersLow
  • Access costsFree

MAP Spot

These snorkeling spots are accessible to beginners and kids. You will enter the water gradually from a beach, or in a less than 3ft. deep area. The sea is generally calm, shallow, with almost no waves or currents. These spots are usually located in marked and/or monitored swimming areas. It is not necessary to swim long distances to discover the sea life.

This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.