From the Diving Guide to underwater Florida by Ned DeLoach
(Click on any listing for more info)

1. Ft. Pickens Jetties
2. Sport
3. Catherine
4. Unknown Wreck
5. USS Massachusetts
6. Three Coal Barges
7. Casino Rubble
8. Jacobi Reef
9. Liberty Ship/Joseph L. Meek
10. Tex Edwards Barge
11. Bridge Rubble
12. Russian Freighter/San Pablo
13. Monsanto Boxes
14. P.C. Barge
15. Sylvia
16. Deliverance
17. Soule Barge-Power Towers
18. Tessie
19. Gulf Power Towers
20. Navy Barge/Camel
21. Three Deck Tug
22. Trysler Grounds
23. Heron & LCM
24. Tug Phillip
25. Tug Born Again
26. Railroad Bridge Rubble
27. Pete Tide II
28. Mr. Green's
29. A-7 Jet
30. Miss Jenny
31. Dredge Avocet
32. Tenneco Oil Rig
33. Brass Wreck
34. M.D. Whiteman/Mad Dog
35. Timberholes
36. Liberty Ship/Joseph Brown
37. Chevron Oil Rig
38. Kingry Barge with Tanks
39. Enviro Concrete Modules
40. Pensacola Fish Tanks #1
41. Pensacola Fish Tanks #2
42. M/S Antares
43. Fish Haven Pyramids
44. US Navy Diving Ships
45. Oops Barge
46. Blackwater Bridge Rubble
47. USS Oriskany


During the past years combined efforts of the Escambia County Marine Recreation Committee, the Department of Commerce and the U.S. Navy have greatly enhanced the recreational opportunities for sport divers in the Gulf waters just out from Pensacola Bay. Through their cooperative efforts, many exciting artificial reefs have been added to the area's abundant natural ledges and historical wrecks. Here, divers have the choice of visiting sunken battleships, a Russian freighter, fighter planes, oil rigs, Army tanks and more. All are active fish havens that have attracted grouper, snapper, barracuda, flounder, amberjack, and brilliant multi-colored tropicals by the thousands.

There are also a few good shore dives in the area. However, the shallows out from the beaches are generally disappointing for divers. Their large flat expanses of white silica sand run unbroken for miles. The "hot" thing to do is to take a diving charter from Pensacola. Several excellent boats are available throughout the year. It is best to make advance reservations during the popular summer holidays.

Summer is the in-season for diving in the Gulf. Calm seas are common during the months of April through October. Water temperatures stay around 80 degrees. Underwater visibility averages 60 feet, with days of l00-foot visibility common. Spearfishermen will find the hunting good. Grouper. snapper, amberjack, and large grouper are the most plentiful game fish. Larger fish tend to move into the area during the winter. Underwater photography, tropical fish and shell collecting are good at all dive locations; and, of course, the wreck diver will be in paradise.


Location: On the western tip of Santa Rosa Island National Seashore

The Ft. Pickens Jetties is a good beach dive with easy access. A drive approximately six miles west on Santa Rosa Island will bring you to the park. Here you are only minutes away from the hotels, restaurants and clubs. The park's excellent facilities include camping grounds. The rock jetties are located at the very end of the island. Start your dive at the beach and follow the gradual slope to a 50-foot depth. The rocky bottom is alive with marine life. The site is often used by instructors for check-out dives. Because of strong currents that accompany each tidal change, it is extremely important to dive on a slack tide. Check with the local dive shops or the park rangers for tide information. Remember to always tow a diver's flag on a surface float.

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2. SPORT Beach Dive

Location: West end of Santa Rosa Island on the bay side.

This wreck is located in the bay just past the entrance to the Gulf Islands National Seashore. It is accessible by beach or boat. The Sport is an old tug that was sunk during the 1906 hurricane. It is located in shallow water on a sand bottom. Check with local dive shops or park rangers for the exact location.

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3. CATHERINE Beach Dive

Location: West end of Santa Rosa Island on the Gulf side, inside the Gulf Islands National Seashore. It is just off the beach near the Old Coast Guard Station.

The Catherine was a Norwegian bark that ran aground on August 7, 1894. The broken remains lie in approximately 15 feet of water. A dive from the beach will require a strong kick to make it through the surge. Remember to float a diver's flag behind.

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Beach Dive

Location: Just off Pensacola Beach. Swim east toward the second water tower.

This old, unidentified wreck is just beginning to uncover itself. It lies just off the beach in 15 feet of water. Already uncovered are ballast stones, a steering station and a large metal tank.

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Lat 30 17.740 Lon 87 18.722

Location: A little over a mile off the rock jetties, this wreck is found easily.

This is one of the best small boat dives in the Pensacola area. The site is listed as a Florida Archaeological Preserve. The 500-foot battleship of WWI vintage was built in 1893 and sunk by the Navy in 1927 to be used as target practice. Lying in 25 feet of water, part of the ship is still exposed. Though it is mainly intact, some sections of the USS Massachusetts are covered by sand. In winter diving can be hampered by rough surge. 13215.0 47108.9

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6. THREE COAL BARGES Lat 30 17.490 Lon 87 13.290

Location: l.8 miles off the beach, in 50 feet of water.

Three barges rest end to end on a white sand bottom forming a wonderful area for safe, easy diving. The top decks of the 200-foot barges are 15 feet off the bottom. The area has developed into an outstanding fish habitat. The clean sand surrounding the ships is covered with large sand dollars and shells. 13270.6 47107.6

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7. CASINO RUBBLE 13326.3 47116.0

Location: 1 mile off Pensacola Beach.

The rubble from an old casino (the first building constructed on Pensacola Beach) was dumped in 60 feet of water to form an atificial reef. Large concrete bricks and other construction materials provide habitat for flounder and red snapper.

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Beach Dive

Location: Just off Pensacola Beach near the main swimming beach on the Gulf side.

These are rows of concrete pilings in about 10 feet of water. A good snorkel dive. Shifting sands periodically cover and uncover the pilings.

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9. LIBERTY SHIP/JOSEPH L. MEEK Lat 30 16.390 Lon 76 09.567

Location: 7 miles east-southeast of the pass leading to Pensacola Bay.

The intact hull of the 480-foot Liberty Ship Joseph Meek was sunk by the Department of Commerce in November 1976 as part of their program to form areas for sport divers and fishermen. She rests in 95 feet of water with her sides rising 20 feet off the flat bottom. 13306.7 47102.7

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13300.3 47101.8

Location: 6-1/2 miles east-southeast of the pass leading to Pensacola Bay.

This large, intact deck barge is considered by charter boat captains to be one of Pensacola's safest dives. Blue angelfish and other tropicals hide in the many compartments. The top of the barge is at a depth of 60 feet.

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13277.8 47091.9

Location: 7 miles from Pensacola Beach

Twelve barge loads of rubble from the old Pensacola toll bridge were dumped in 75 feet of water to form an artificial reef. The large, complete bridge spans an area nearly 300 feet in diameter, forming an exceptional fish haven. Snapper, grouper and flounder are common at the site. The remains of a 100-foot barge lie at the western end of the area.

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Lat 30 11.305 Lon 87 13.095

Location: 9 miles off Pensacola Beach

The San Pablo was torpedoed in the Florida Straits during WWII. She went down nine miles off Pensacola Beach while being towed to Mobile for repairs. She was later dynamited to clear shipping lanes. Her stern section and boilers remain intact in 75 feel of water. Her remains form an excellent fish habitat with many barracuda, grouper and snapper. 13263.6 47077.1

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Lat 30 11.972 Lon 87 14.753

Location: 8 miles south-southeast of Pensacola Pass.

Over two hundred 4x4-foot fiberglass shipping containers with metal edges were welded together in units of eight or ten each and placed down in 70 feet of water as a fish haven. They have worked so successfully that the area is known by local divers as the Grouper Condos. 13248.6 47081.2

A second Monsanto site is just southwest of the first. Lat 30 11.681 Lon 87 14.900
l3246.7 47079.7

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14. P.C. BARGE
Lat 30 11.024 Lon 87 14.126

Location: 8 miles south-southeast of Pensacola Pass. Just east of the Sylvia.

A 110-foot barge was sunk in 75 feet of water in 1990 as part of Escambia County's ongoing artificial reef building project. The barge is part of a cluster in this one-square mile area that includes the Monsanto Boxes, the tugs Sylvia, Deliverance and Tessie. 13253.6 47076.3

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Lat 30 11.005 Lon 87 13.718

Location: 8 miles south-southeast of Pensacola Pass.

This intact 65 foot tug rests on a sand bottom in 82 feet of water. There is a lot of fish activity around the vessel and her surrounding sands are littered with sand dollars, starfish, and shells. An excellent dive. 13252.5 47075.5

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Lat 30 10.905 Lon 87 14.618

Location: 8 miles south-southeast of Pensacola Pass. Just south of the Sylvia.

This is another intact 65-foot steel tug in the artificial reef site. 13247.7 47074.7

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Lat 30 10.696 Lon 87 14.633

Location: Situated in artificial reef site #l5, which is 5.3 miles on a 150 degree course from sea buoy.

Seven groups of 4-foot wide steel towers were welded to the barge's deck before she was deployed as an artificial reef in April 1992. The barge flipped during descent, landing upside down on the tower section in 82 feet of water. The sheltered network of steel provides an excellent lair for grouper. The l40-foot structure rises 15 feet. 13248.0 47074.6

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18. TESSIE Lat 30 11.637 Lon 87 14.452

Location: 8 miles south-southeast of Pensacola Pass.

A 40-foot cabin cruiser, with her superstructure removed and filled with four auto bodies, was sunk in 75 feet of water as an artificial reef. The wreck is surrounded by large concrete culverts. Flounder are common in the area. l3250.0 47078.5

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Lat 30 12.358 Lon 87 14.246

Location: Situated in artificial reef site #l5, which is 5.3 miles on a 150 degree course from sea buoy.

Four modules, each made up of six 10-foot long sections of power line tower sections were placed in 77 feet of water. The entire configuration rises 12 feet off the sea floor. Open type structures, such as the Gulf Power Towers, seem to attract a larger variety of fish life than traditional closed-hull wrecks. 13253.2 47082.6

Second site: 13253.2 47082.6 Lat 30 12.358 Lon 87 14.452

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Lat 30 11.042 Lon 87 14.820

Location: Just east of the Soule Barge in artificial reef site #15

A 110-by-23 foot navy barge was put down in 75 feet of water in January 1994. The barge has an eight foot profile. 13246.6 47076.1

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Lat 30 06.116 Lon 87 23.589

Location: 11 miles south of Pensacola Beach in 95 feet of water.

A tug boat with three levels of decking sits intact on a clean sand bed. Large fish are common. Big sand dollars litter the ocean floor around the wreck. 13151.0 47050.3

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Location: 20 miles south-southwest of Pensacola Pass.

Basket sponges, soft corals and tropicals are common on this large broken bottom area. It is 110 feet to the bottom where lobster and game fish reside. Sixty-foot visibility can be expected during the spring and summer.

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Lat 30 08.175 Lon 87 13.667

Location: 11 miles south-southeast of the Pensacola Pass.

A 53-foot steel tug rests upside down inside a 56-foot LCM landing craft. Deployed in July 1990. This is a sight to see! 13253.0 47060.6

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Lat 30 10.696 Lon 87 14.633

Location: Situated in artificial reef site #7, which is approximately 8 miles on a 157-degree course from the sea buoy.

This intact 60-foot long 22-foot wide tug sits upright in 95 feet of water. Deployed in December 1990. 13256.2 47059.4

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Lat 30 08.063 Lon 87 14.293

Location: Situated in artificial reef site #7, which is approximately 8 miles on a 157-degree course from sea buoy.

The 40-foot tower of the 65-foot tug Born Again projects to within 55 feet of the surface. Her hole is filled with twenty-one 18-foot long stanchion pipes. She was placed in 95 feet of water in February of 1991. A large school of resident horse-eye jacks patrol the intact vessel. 13247.6 47060.8

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Lat 30 09.036 Lon 87 13.690

Location: 11 miles southeast of Pensacola Pass.

This is within one of the many one-mile square artificial reef sites permitted and developed by the Escambia County Marine Recreation Committee as an ongoing marine habitat project. Five huge concrete railroad bridge sections were put down in 1987. 13255.1 47065.9

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Lat 30 08.753 Lon 87 13.997

Location: Inside artificial reef site #7, just northwest of the Heron & LCM.

A fully intact 180-foot oil field supply boat sits upright in 100 feet of water. Her top is only 60 feet below the surface. 13250.5 47063.4

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13279.9 47061.6

Location: 12 miles south-southeast of Pensacola Pass.

This is a large circular linestone reef in 110 feet of water. It provides divers with a great spot for lobster hunting, spearfishing and photograpy. Visibility is usually good between 50 and 100 feet.

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29. A-7 JET

Location: 17 miles south of Pensacola Pass in 110 feet of water.

The A-7 Corsair jet was lost as a result of a cold catapult from the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Lexington. The intact plane rests upside-down.

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Lat 29 58.134 Lon 87 12.636

Location: In artificial reef site #20 which is approximately 19.5 miles on a 166-degree course from the sea buoy.

An intact, 53-foot steel crew boat rests upright in 115 feet of water. She was deployed in December 1990. 13248.8 47006.5

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Lat 29 58.369 Lon 87 12.603

Location: In artificial reef site #20 whick is approximately 19.5 miles on a 166-degree course from sea buoy.

This huge 2640 ton, 247-foot clam shell dredge built in 1943 is one of the largest and best wreck dives on the Gulf Coast. The top of the third deck wheelhouse rises 68 feet from a depth of 115 feet. The vessel was sunk as an artificial reef in May of 1991. 13248.2 47007.2

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Lat 29 59.721 Lon 87 05.141

Location: 22 miles south-southeast of Pensacola Pass.

Two massive 500-ton structures were submerged in 175 feet of water after a 275-mile barge journey from its original Gulf location. This gift from the Tenneco Oil Company is the first use of a complete platform as an artificial reef. The first Loran coordinated listed below are for the tower section with the deck intact. Ths second are for the section that consists only of the leg structures, called jackets. Diving should be limited to the rig's upper section which begins 80 feet below the surface. Visibility in the area is 100 feet or more during the summer months. Large fish are abundant. 13324.1 47014.1 & 13324.5 47012.7

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13365.7 47085.0

Loation: 14 miles southeast of Pensacola Pass.

This is a classic shipwreck. The vessel's identity is not known. Locals call her the Brass Wreck because of the many large brass pins that stick out from her ribs like tree limbs. The 250-foot wooden hull schooner sits in 90 feet of water on a clean sand floor. Considering her size, she probably had four masts and weighed over one thousand tons. Adorning the wreck are two large anchors, a pile of chain and a four-by-eight windlass. The broken wreckage swarms with sea life. Flounder, snapper and grouper lurk in the large ballast pile, while barracudas and amberjack hover above.

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Lat 30 11.921 Lon 86 58.028

Location: 17 miles east-southeast of Pensacola Pass.

An intact l05-foot steel tug put down as an artificial reef. 13417.5 47080.6

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13456.6 47074.4

Location: 35 miles east-southeast of Pensacola Pass.

Timberholes is a natural limestone reef in 110 feet of water with ledges that rise in places to 12 feet off the bottom. Lobstering, spearfishing, and shell collecting are popular activities on this beautiful north Florida reef.

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Lat 30 12.768 Lon 87 48.350

Location: 30 miles east-southeast of Pensacola Pass.

Like all other Liberty Ships in the Gulf that have been sunk to become artificial

reefs, the Joseph E. Brown is void of her superstructure and has a 15-foot profile. Her huge 500-foot hull now rests on a flat sea floor in 95 feet of water. 13544.2 47062.7

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Lat 30 04.242 Lon 87 02.120

Location: 18 miles on a 131-degree course from the sea buoy.

Two large sections of an oil rig donated by the Chevron Oil Co. sit side by side in 134 feet of water. The great structures rise over 50 feet off the bottom attracting great schools of pelagics, including amberjacks. The rigs were placed down in October 1993. Visibility is usually quite good in this deep water location. 13361.9 47037.2

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Lat 30 09.434 Lon 87 13.976

Location: Inside artificial Reef Site #7, approximately 8 miles on a 157-degree course from the sea buoy.

A 75-foot barge with open-ended cylindrical fuel tanks welded to the deck was sunk as an artificial reef in November 1993. Some of the large tanks are over ten feet long and eight feet in diameter. She settled upside down, resting on the tanks in 84 feet of water creating an excellent hiding place for fish. Plenty of snapper and amberjacks frequest the site. 13252.8 47068.0

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Location: Inside Escambia County Artificial Reef Sites 7, 20, and 22.

In 1994, 80 concrete pyramid-shaped structures, built to attract fish, were placed on the sea floor in groups of five in 16 locations. As predicted by the manufacturers, the "Grouper Ghettos" are doing an excellent job attracting a swirl of gamefish and other sea creatures

13253.6/47064.3 13255.6/47062.4

13251.0/47008.8 13253.0/47008.0

13253.0/47006.0 13253.0/47004.0

13253.0/47002.0 13251.0/47002.0

13249.0/47002.0 13247.0/47002.0

13247.0/47004.0 13247.0/47006.0

13366.0/47038.0 13368.0/47038.0

13307.0/47003.0 13309.9/47003.0

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Location: Inside Escambia County Artificial Reef Site #7

REEF-EX, a defense department project involving the U.S. Army Reserve has placed dozens of Vietnam vintage Army tanks around Florida's coast. After a complete steam cleaning inside and out, removing hazardous materials, welding the hatches open, and removing the engine grills, the M-48 and M-60 tanks were placed on the sea floor as fish havens.

TD1 TD2 Lat Lon Depth

13247.00 47068.70 30 10.158 87 14.324 78

13247.40 47068.40 30 10.101 87 14.276 78

13247.40 47068.10 30 10.044 87 14.268 80

13247.30 47067.70 30 09.373 87 14.513 82

13248.00 47066.80 30 09.796 87 14.172 83

13248.50 47066.60 30 09.758 87 14.117 84

13247.40 47065.60 30 09.566 87 14.199 86

13247.00 47066.60 30 09.757 87 14.266 88

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Location: Iside Escambia County Artificial Reef Site #20, which is approximately 19.5 miles on a 166-degree course from the sea buoy.

More Army tanks in a little deeper water.

TD1 TD2 Lat Lon Depth

13268.10 47052.20 30 07.070 87 11.769 105

13268.30 47052.30 30 07.089 87 11.752 105

13268.50 47052.30 30 06.508 87 11.977 105

13268.70 47052.30 30 07.090 87 11.712 105

13269.60 47052.60 30 07.148 87 11.631 105

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Lat 30 00.594 Lon 87 07.775

Location: 20.9 miles on a 165-degree course from Buoy 12 in Pensacola Pass.

This great freighter, measuring 387 feet, was one of the largest intact artificial wrecks in Florida before Hurricane Opal did her thing in 1995. The storm twisted and broke the hull leaving only the stern section intact. She rests in 130 feet of water with her stern 90 feet below the surface. This is still a great dive, but deep. Penetration into the structure is extremely dangerous! 13299.9 47018.2

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Lat 30 05.983 Lon 87 07.960

Location: 18 miles southeast of Pensacola Pass.

Fifty-three pyramid shaped concrete fish havens were deployed by the Escambia County Artificial Reef Program in June 1999. The structures rest in a 180-degree semicircle in 80 feet of water. Thirty-five modules rise six feet off the seafloor with ten-foot bases. The remaining 18 havens stand five feet tall with 8-foot bases. 13307.8 47048.9

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Lat 30 05.309 Lon 87 09.634

Location: 15.8 miles on a 149-degree heading from Pensacola Pass.

Two 132-foot Navy ships built in the 1950s for Navy Diving Operations were sunk 300 feet apart in April 2000. The vessels, known as YDT 14 and YDT 15, rest 90 feet below the surface on a hard sand bottom within an area known for good visibility. Because the ships rise 30 feet off the bottom, they make a good second dive after visiting the nearby Tenneco Oil Rig or the Antares. The second vessel rests at Lat 30 05.267 Lon 87 09.517

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Lat 30 13.227 Lon 87 13.985

Location: Approximately 7 miles from Pensacola Pass.

Accidents happen. While being towed to another site for deployment, this 65x20x7-foot steel barge inadvertently sank in 71 feet of water. 13258.7 47086.6

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Lat 30 11.800 Lon 87 14.170

Location: Approximately 8 miles from Pensacola Pass.

Concrete rubble from an I-10 bridge was placed down as a fish haven. 13251.7 47079.4

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Lat 30 02.555 Lon 87 00.396

Location: Approximately 25 miles southeast of Pensacola Pass------Not shown on MAP

Sunk in May, 2006, the 888 foot aircraft carrier is the largest object intentionally deployed as an artificial reef, and the first aircraft carrier sunk since WWII. She is massive: breath 157 feet, height 151 feet with 17 decks, 9 below the flight deck and 8 above. She is deployed in 212 feet of water with diving for sport and technical divers available. The Oriskany is the crown jewel of diving Florida.

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