‘Lucky’ Snorkeler Happens to Swim Across 125-Year-Old Shipwreck

“It just all came at once. I should have bought a lottery ticket,” says the U.K.’s Chris Taylor of his startling shipwreck discovery.

When you first see the footage, it feels odd that this historical site was lost. Taylor’s own drone footage shows the clear outline of a large ship amidst sparkling coastal waters. These conditions, however, are an exceptional rarity; something that has kept the SS Commodore hidden for over a century.

Local filmmaker and avid snorkeler Chris Taylor would spot the shipwreck three weeks ago. His September find marks the rediscovery of the SS Commodore – an English ship with an incredible tale. Currently, the vessel’s remains lie off the coast near Sheringham. And as Taylor tells CBS News, he couldn’t believe his eyes while snorkeling in the area.

“I think I just got lucky,” he offers humbly. “It was just a lot of, you know, the weather, the clearness of the water, the sand not being there and me just happening to swim ashore at the right place. It just all came at once. I should have bought a lottery ticket!”

This area of England’s Norfolk coast is chock-full of fascinating history; from ancient fishing villages to the SS Commodore shipwreck. And thanks to Taylor’s discovery both museums and locals alike are flocking to the vessel’s fascinating remains.

“[The museum] looked at the shots and said ‘Yeah, that’s the SS Commodore,” he reveals of one local museum’s opinion. His drone footage (seen above) of the shipwreck is crystal-clear, after all.

The Fascinating History of SS Commodore Shipwreck

Of his findings, Taylor says museums are “really quite excited because [the ship] hasn’t, like I say, it hasn’t been seen this clearly, for a long, long time.”

And it may not be seen for some time again.

125 years in the past, the SS Commodore would take off from Newcastle with a full cargo of coal. The ship was headed to London in November of 1896 when it ran aground, creating a catastrophe. Thankfully, all 14 sailors aboard the ship would survive. The SS Commodore, however, would sink into the seabed.

A few years on and into the 20th century, the ship was intentionally blown up. English officials in 1902 felt the shipwreck a huge hazard and liability, seeing its dismantling by explosion as the best option. This left the skeleton of the Commodore that Taylor has rediscovered in 2021.

Courtesy of CBS’s reporting, fascinating historical images of the vessel are resurfacing. Shots of the crew before their shipwreck stand in contrast to the seamen sitting atop their vessel’s crashed hull.

Watch the full report above for plenty of brilliant visuals from the U.K. marvel. And as CBS says, “you never know what you’re going to find while out for a snorkel.”