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SHIPWRECK SECTION

 

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SHIPWRECKS FROM ADMIRALTY FINAL RECORD BOOK

FOR U.S. DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA, volume 2-19, microfilm number 1360, roll 2 - 19, any number following a listing is the actual account number in the reel, so you can trace the information also. This information was boiled out of an index of all ship mishaps compiled by Tom Hambright, of the Monroe County Public Library, Key West, Florida, in 1988.

 

There are many shipwreck books on the market with lists of ships taken from the admiralty records; however, what is not commonly included (in fact, I have never seen it included) are facts from the records on what the disposition of the ship was after it wrecked. In the admiralty records themselves, is listed right after the wreck the disposition, and roughly 85% were refloated, broken up for scrap, or completely salvaged. So, out of the average shipwreck book's list of losses, toss away 85% of the wrecks listed, and you have about the number actually on the bottom.

 

In the list that follows, are only wrecks that were lost, so if you look for one, at least you have a shot at finding something. Where coordinates are given, they are for the reef where the ship was lost.

 

 

 

NORTHWEST FLORIDA SHIPWRECKS:

 

  1. ENGLISH NAVY COVE - is where the English careened ships for bottom cleaning during their short occupation of Florida, and in the process they lost at least three here. Two 1700's era hulls are beginning to expose themselves in the bay. In Gulf Breeze, Shoreline Road takes you past Shoreline Park and the first road to the left (South) dead ends in the center of English Navy Cove. There is an unknown wreck site just below East Point, almost on shore, at N30 21.56 W87 11.30.
  2. FORT PICKENS WRECK - (N30 19.12 W87 14.28) is almost on the Santa Rosa beach, just West of the Pensacola beach.
  3. AUDITORIUM WRECK - (N30 24.13 W87 13.15) is almost due W. of the Pensacola Municipal Auditorium, at the end of the railroad wharf. This is probably a historic wreck, due to the fact it has a ballast pile associated with it, and it is at the foot of Old Pensacola's Historic District. The Auditorium is at the foot of Palafox Street (US 29S.).
  4. PENSACOLA BEACH WRECK -- (N30 20.003 W87 07.378) is roughly off the end of Avenida 13 Street in 15 feet of water. The wreck is rock ballast, so it is probably not an English war vessel, as they used iron ballast.
  5. BRASS WRECK - (N30 12.25 W87 04.10) is so named after the brass pins used to hold her planking to the ribs. Divers have broken off many of these, but this is still a largely unexplored wreck, and due to the depth of the water (90ft.) it is doubtful a thorough salvage was done when she sank, if at all. The wreck sits on sand; use your depth finder to spot the large ballast mound and anchor over the site. There is a good chance this ship is the BRIDE OF LORNE, 1,324 tons, with a cargo of timber, under Captain Matson. She is listed in Steven Singer's Shipwrecks of Florida as sinking very near this site, April 8, 1887. Ned DeLoach's Diving Guide to Underwater Florida gives a TD of 13365.7 47085.0 which is slightly different from my Lat./Long., but the wreck is so large I believe either one will put you onto it, but probably at opposite ends.
  6. FOX - (N29 44.30 W84 38.35) is a British naval schooner, 18 guns 150 tons, that sank SE of the modern day East Pass bell buoy to St. George's Sound. This shipwreck is probably worth an extensive search, but is undoubtedly covered with sand. A depth sounder, with its white-line recorder in on position, may show ballast beneath the sand, and if not, a magnetometer will be needed. Good luck, this could be a very rich site!
  7. HATTIE G. McFARLAND - (N30 19.30 W87 18.80) a 546 ton bark sank Feb. 6, 1891 in ballast, quite near the wreck of the MISS JENNY (13248.8 47006.5) a modern 55' boat. Use the Miss Jenny as your anchor point to find the wreck. Ships of that time that sank "in ballast" typically had hard money aboard to buy cargo!
  8. UNKNOWN WRECKS! - are unknown wrecks from the NOAA surveys of 1982. (N30 08.25 W85 37.59) is located at the SW end of the old railroad wharf, at the end of East Avenue in Springfield. Almost directly N. of this wreck, across the railroad tracks in the branch of the bay that becomes Watson Bayou, is another wreck at (N30 08.43 W85 37.54).
  9. UNKNOWN WRECK - (N30 19.12 W87 14.28) is in the surf-line off Santa Rosa Island and is a beach dive.

 

SOUTHWEST FLORIDA WRECKS:

 

  1. BAJA CALIFORNIA -- (N25 21.38 W82 31.96) was a Norwegian 1,648 ton freighter built in 1914 and carrying war materials when torpedoed by U-84 roughly 60 miles off the Naples inlet. The ship was out of New Orleans, bound for Guatemala when sunk. This wreck is now a popular dive destination for charter boats operating out of Naples. Depth at site: 115 ft.
  2. STONEY POINT -- (N26 10.11 W82 54.61) this is the site of the former Hudson River ferry that was scuttled in 1968. Now a popular site for diving. The secret here is to metal detect the floor around the vessel for finds.
  3. FANTASTICO -- (N26 03.10 W82 57.42) was the 200 ft. Honduran freighter sunk in the March 19, 1993 "Storm of the Century" that inundated the west coast of Florida with a tidal wave of water. Many people lost their lives and property to this storm, much being washed into the tidal areas along the coastline from Cedar Keys south to Naples.
  4. NAPLES SPRING -- (N25 50.45 W82 09.21) is a possible Paleo site, since artifacts have been found all the way out to the Florida Middle Grounds. This freshwater spring in the Gulf is 80 feet across, 220 feet deep, with the bowl dropping away from the sea floor at the 70 ft. depth level.
  5. BAYRONTO -- (N26 45.80 W82 50.84) this British steamer was abandoned during a hurricane Sept. 11, 1919 and offers the real possibility of treasure being aboard. Although no passengers were lost, the ship was abandoned suddenly, and nothing of consequence was saved.

 

 

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