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Diving the awesome kelpcutter wreck of the Kopco Star

Diving the Kopco Star can be anywhere from awesome to down right challenging and for the most part it’s all in the dive planning. The best time to dive the Kopco Star is at slack tide in the fall on a day with the least tidal change.

The Kopco Star sits on a sandy bottom in a westerly direction  at a depth of 85’ wit an average visibility of about 10’-20’. Measuring about 25×60, it is a very picturesque dive. The bow area is where the kelp would have come up and over into the ship and it stands about 10’ high and is home to many fish and scallops. The stern is home to 4 diesel engines and props, an adult wolf eel and more fish; it stands about 6’-8’ high. There is a slight list to port with the starboard side about 3’-4’ high.

There is no place big enough to penetrate the wreck, but there are many small areas to poke your head into and look into the wreck. The Kopco Star has become its own artificial reef with a large assortment of fish and invertebrates such as sheep head, sand bass, Cabazon, schooling blacksmith’s, lobster and much more. While diving the Kopco Star don’t forget to watch overhead because there is usually schools of fish and sometimes the occasionally jellyfish passing through. This also one dive you can see a wolf eel or two in Southern California.

At 85’ deep, the Kopco Star is an excellent dive for nitrox and you can see the entire wreck in one dive. When you dive the wreck it is suggested to start at one end and dive the perimeter then check out the center area, making sure you take plenty of time to look around the bow with its rigging and fish hiding in and around it. Also, take plenty of time to check out the stern with the wolf eel (he sticks his head out of a whole in the top center) and the engine area with its 4 props at the sand level.

Afterwards it will probably be time to make your ascent to the boat and talk about how cool the Kopco Star was to dive. Please remember to take nothing except photos video and memories and leave nothing but bubbles.