Bordering the Atlantic Ocean, the Skeleton Coast is known for its thick ocean fog and ominous name, as well as the numerous shipwrecks that have occurred along the shoreline. The name Skeleton Island was originally adopted due to the whale and seal bones that littered the beaches as a result of whaling activities. However, the name also relates to the skeletal remnants of shipwrecked vessels that rest on the beaches and in the shallows. The heavy fog has caused a number of well-known shipwrecks over the centuries, involving vessels like the Islander, Sir Charles Elliot, Suiderkus, and Dunedin Star.
In 1944, John Henry Marsh published a popular book detailing the wreck of the Dunedin Star and the subsequent rescue efforts. The vestiges of many of these ships are still visible and some remain in astonishingly good condition.