Sunken aircraft and shipwrecks from World War II era provide recreational diving sites, as well as habitat for marine species, National Oceanic and Atmospheric (NOAA) said in a statement.

The undersea wrecks what NOAA calls “legacy” of World War II can be found in near-shore waters along Maui’s southern coast.

“The wrecks along the coast are like windows into the past and they remind us of the sacrifices made during World War II,” said Hans Van Tilburg, NOAA maritime heritage coordinator.

NOAA’s Maritime Heritage Program and the University of Hawaii’s Marine Option Program surveyed these sunken war vessels in sea off the Maui coast.

“During World War II, prior to major invasions in the Pacific, U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Army personnel trained in landing craft and assault vehicles along Maui’s southern coast from Maalaea Harbor to Ahihi Bay. Overhead, aircraft from Maui’s Puunene Naval Air Station conducted combat practice runs. Amphibious operations and naval aviation proved to be two critical innovations of World War II that ultimately helped the United States secure victory in the Pacific.”

However, it proved hazardous, as numerous planes and landing craft, and the lives of young servicemen, were lost around the islands, NOAA said.

As NOAA continues to inspect more shipwrecks further, here are a few latest pictures of the undersea wrecks, it recently surveyed.


Divers inspect an LVT-4 (Landing Vehicle Tracked) amphibious vehicle introduced by the United States in World War II. PHOTO: NOAA



The remains of an SB2C-1C Helldiver carrier-based dive-bomber rest on the seafloor off the Maui coast. PHOTO: NOAA/University of Hawaii



Divers map an unidentified vessel found during the survey of the former military training site. Photo: NOAA/University of Hawaii