The Bay of Fires on Tasmania’s east coast is world renowned for its beautiful beaches.
But just a few hundred metres from the pristine white sand could lie the area’s next big tourist attraction, under the sea.
Tasmania is again pushing to be given a decommissioned navy ship to use as a dive wreck.
Proponent Peter Paulsen said he had been trying to get an old navy ship in the area since 2001.
“It would just be a fantastic asset to the community,” he said.
Peter Paulsen says the dive site would be only minutes from a boat ramp. (ABC News: Damian McIntyre)
“Without a doubt it would be one of the most accessible dive sites in Australia.
“We’re only probably three minutes from the boat ramp, probably 800 metres … onto the dive site, so it doesn’t get any closer than that.”
In 2016 Tasmania missed out on securing HMAS Tobruk at the site.
Now proponents have got their eyes on the 140-metre HMAS Darwin, which had its final voyage last year.
“All that good work that we did, all the science and marine studies and the environmental impact studies that we did for that vessel, are still valid for this,” Mr Paulsen said.
“This time around it comes down to a matter of negotiations, it’s how well the State Government can in fact sit down with the Federal Government and negotiate and knock out a deal, and give us the asset that we rightly deserve.”
The Royal Australian Navy’s long range escort frigate HMAS Darwin had its final voyage last year. (Royal Australian Navy)
If the backers are successful, the frigate would be scuttled 30 metres under water in Skeleton Bay.
Local diver Danny Lee said he was excited by the possibility.
“People would flock from all over the world to dive this, there’s people that just dive wrecks,” he said.
“I like to dabble in underwater photography, so it excites me the fact that huge schools of fish would just be attracted to something of that structure, that size.”
A southern right whale swims over a diver in Skeleton Bay, close to the proposed dive site. (ABC News: Danny Lee)
He said it was a perfect site.
“Over the sand here we generally get 30 to 40 metres visibility throughout the year, so when you stick a wreck in the sand you’re just going to have high quality visibility all year,” he said.
The State Government has submitted a bid for the Darwin.
Binalong Bay restaurant owner Glenn McLean welcomed the push.
“We’re getting people from all over the world here, and they’re looking for so many things than just looking at the beach,” he said.
East Coast Tourism chief executive Ruth Dowty said she believed it would complement other activities.
“What’s really important in a tourism perspective is to have diversity of interesting things for people to do, and the more diversity we can offer the more people we can attract with different interests,” she said.
Tasmania is the only state without a decommissioned navy ship as a dive wreck.
Break O’Day Mayor Mick Tucker said Tasmania deserved the to get the ship.
“It will create an economic stimulus that our coast is really in need of,” he said.
“There must be a very large economic benefit when we have other states [who are already] competing again.”
A decision is expected within months.