The Boys Club (Santa Monica Bay — 170 fsw)

Background

Due to all my travel and target diving in San Diego, it had been a LONG time since I had gone diving with Ray & Kyaa @ Sundiver. We arranged a day to go dive some targets in Santa Monica Bay that Tyler had and then also check out a few things Ray had noted.

Tyler’s targets didn’t result in any good sonar images so we started going through Ray’s numbers. We had one that had a small return but plenty of fish so we decided to check it out. The target was about 170 feet deep and it turned out to be a small motor & prop assembly that was surrounded by a ton of fish and even some crabs. I took some photos just to document the site:

As we conducted our surface interval, we scanned a few other targets. One of them had an interesting and promising return so we decided to dive it and investigate.

Unidentified Target Sonar Image

Dive #1 Sept 7, 2022

Tyler and I conducted the first dive on 7 Sept to do an initial investigation. We had good visibility and spent the time looking around the wreck. I spent some time scrubbing the stern to see if I could discover the name. However, I didn’t have any tools with me so I was using my dry glove and it actually got a small leak so I stopped.

We estimated the wreck at 35-40 feet long and after some back-and-forth, we concluded that name could be “The Boys Club” but it warranted another dive to do some cleanup work.

It is also interesting to note that the door to the cabin was locked shut.

Here are some photos with the stern section somewhat cleaned off:

Dive #2 – Sept 27, 2022

We were relatively sure that the name was “Boys Club” but at the same time, I wanted to do a little more cleanup to be 100% sure and I also thought maybe I could build a photogrammetry model.

Unfortunately, Tyler wasn’t available so I was going to have to dive it solo. We made the long trek back up to the target. Conditions were a bit bumpy on the initial part of the trip but flattened out once we got into the shelter of the coastline blocking the swell.

I had brought along a set of tools to do some cleaning and we had good conditions at the site with unbelievable visibility on the wreck itself.

My plan was to shoot photos for the model first and then get to work scrubbing. At that depth, you get close to a 1:1 ratio in terms of bottom time and deco time. My plan was a 30 minute bottom time and a total runtime of 60-75 minutes. I got the photos for the model done and then started to scrub the back with the metal wire brush and soon had to take a break and catch my breath. After some more scrubbing, I had enough of the crud gone that I figured it could read the name once the proverbial dust settled. I waited a few more minutes, caught my breath again, and then took some photos of the name.

Wide Angle Natural Light Photos

As I was leaving, I took some wide angle photos. I really wish I had done those when I first came down onto the wreck since the visibility was just so amazing and after I scrubbed the stern, the water was a lot more cloudy.

Stern Photos

My primary “mission” was to get some clarity on the name and confirm our suspicions. I spent time scrubbing it and, at this point, I’m confident that the name of the vessel is “The Boys Club” and that it was from nearby Marina Del Rey. I did some work in LightRoom to “over-process” one of the photos to show the name / location.

Photogrammetry Model

Given how intact the wreck was, I thought it would be good to build a photogrammetry model. I also figured it might help identify the type / model of vessel. Below are some screenshots of the model along with a link to the actual model on Sketchfab. The model consists of 408 photos. If you look close, you can make out the name on the stern (keep in mind that it is an amalgamation of multiple photos so it will be a bit blurry).

Here is a link to the “live” model on Sketchfab:

Sketchfab model

Other Photos

The layout and the shape of the vessel remind me of the style of boat on the famous 1980s show “Miami Vice.” Given that the cabin door is locked, I wonder what mysteries remain inside?! A future dive might require a crowbar.

There are a few characteristics which might be able to help identify the manufacturer of the vessel. I’ve included some additional photos below.

I think the layout of the cabin area is a bit unique and the opening to the swim step is on the starboard side and not in the middle. I’m hoping that some sharp eyed knowledgable reader can pinpoint the manufacturer.

A couple other things to note: (1) Most of the cockpit instrumentation, steering wheel, etc. are missing so I have to believe that they were removed prior to sinking (2) there is an “old school” radio on the deck which looks like it was from the 1980s.

Next Steps

We are trying to get more data on this vessel. As happens often, the name of the ship corresponds to something common in real life. In this case, searching on “Boys Club” results in the famous organization and not on ships. I called the Marina Del Rey harbor to see if they have any record of the ship since that is painted on the stern as the home port; however, without a CF number, they couldn’t really help.

A search of the name “Boys Club” in vessel records give us a few results. One of them is about the right length but it was manufactured in 2003 and I’m not sure it is the one we are looking for. It also lists it as “active.”

We will continue to passively search for more info on this wreck. I’m guessing that it was intentionally sank.

Thanks To…

Thanks to Ray for giving us access to his “little black book” of targets and to Kyaa for her tireless piloting of the Sundiver Express on long journeys up to Santa Monica Bay and for always getting the downline on target.

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