Many shipwrecks have a story to tell. A few headlines of some of the following vessels
New Shipwreck Additions for book More Shipwrecks of Florida
by Steven Danforth Singer
While the new book was originally in process of publishing, ownership of the publisher changed and the book was delayed for almost two years. Some of my material was lost during this transition, and a few shipwrecks were not included. I’ve since located that material and included it here along with some new shipwrecks uncovered from newly available sources in the digital world. As I continue to uncover new sources, any new Florida shipwrecks will also be added here. I'll try and add sources as I go along using abbreviations such as the following: LC (Lloyd's Casualty Returns); MH (Miami Herald), MDM (Miami Daily Metropolis), MM (Miami Metropolis), TT (Tampa Tribune), TBT (Tampa Bay Tribune) etc., and abbreviations/numbers used in More Shipwrecks of Florida's bibliography. I recently acquired access to a Miami Newspaper Archive site, and with the help of Terrance L. Helmers website: https://miamimaritime.net/ships/, which lists local SE Florida maritime newspaper abstracts from 1871-2009, this helped direct me to a number of news articles about Florida wrecks I had not listed before, many that were yachts or private vessels not listed in casualty reports such as Lloyd's, etc.
1) Branford – Brig, of N.Y., Capt. Wallace, wrecked 6 leagues westward of Cape Florida among the Keys, 4/29/1756. Vessel & cargo a total loss. Crew saved by a Spanish schooner and taken to St. Augustine. Source: The Pennsylvania Gazette, 6/17/1756.
2) Unk. Sloop – From Barbados for Sunbury, Capt. Gilbert, was lost on the coast of East Florida. Source: Georgia Gazette, 12/17/1766.
3) Catherine – Sloop. Capt. John Pyner, from Montego Bay for New London, with rum & sugar, wrecked on the Florida shore during a hurricane near Key Largo, Oct.13, 1766. Except for one who stayed ashore near where wrecked, the rest (nine) took the boat and sailed for Pensacola. They came ashore about 10 miles from the garrison at Apalachicola having lost one person along the voyage. Source: The Pennsylvania Gazette, 3/26/1767.
4) Mary – Bernard Romans, a famous cartographer, naturalist, privateer, etc., was the master of the sloop Mary in 1766-67, and which sloop was wrecked in the area of Cape Florida in 1767. In late 1769, while surveying the Tampa area, Romans survey vessel sank in the Manatee River near Tampa, and he then travelled overland to St. Augustine, writing he may have travelled on Ferdinand Soto’s old path, though likely was one made by the native people here.
5) Augustine – Packet ship, Capt. James. Sprung a leak and sank in the St. Augustine River, in 1776. Source: Freemans Journal, 1/18/1777.
6) Kingston – British merchantman. Left Jamaica with the fleet in May, 1782, with a cargo of rum for NY. Went aground on the Martiers, 6/4/1782, and could not be gotten off. The frigate Pomona then set her on fire. Source: LL, 7/1782; The Independent Gazetteer, 7/6/1782.
7) Eagle – Schooner, Capt. Chisolm, foundered about 1/2/ mile offshore, 22 leagues S by E of Cape Canaveral, Sept. 1809. After saving only a few provisions, the crew & 6 passengers made an arduous journey north for 8 days until they fell in with some wreckers moving some rum (I’ll presume salvaged), who gave them some provisions to help them get the rest of the way to New Smyrna where they were kindly taken in and helped. Source: Alexandria Daily Gazette, 11/23/1809.
8) Philadelphia – Schooner, Capt. Ansdell, from St. Jago de Cuba for Philadelphia, with tobacco. Reported from Nassau as lost on the Florida Reef, May 23, 1811. Cargo saved by schooner Dolphin and then seized in Nassau. Source: Richmond Enquirer, 6/7/1811.
9) Argo – Schooner, Capt. Smith, of Baltimore. From Philadelphia for Havana, wrecked on the Florida Reef, 3/19/1815. Approx. 300 barrels of flour and the crew were saved by the New Providence wreckers. Source: Charleston Daily Courier, 4/29/1815, 5/15/1815.
10) Argus – Ship, of Baltimore, Capt. Jesse Huffington. From Matanzas for Baltimore, wrecked on the Basin Reef, Key Largo (believe now Basin Hill Shoals), 11/13/1815 (or possibly in late October as a 10/31 report said lost in Bahamas). Vessel and most cargo lost, crew saved with some cargo and taken to Nassau. Source; Charleston Daily Courier, 11/11/1815; Evening Post, 11/2-18/1815.
11) Expedition – Privateer brig, Capt. Chase, 340 tons, of Baltimore. Had just saved the crew of the schooner General Jackson near Great Isaac when she wrecked on Carysfort Reef the next day in 10’ of water, early 1816. All on board were saved and taken to Savannah in the schooner Young Brilliant.
12) Sally – Brig, of Bristol, R.I., Capt. William Fales, around 90 tons, 63’4” x 21’2” x 8’, one deck, 2 masts, and had a figurehead. From Rhode Island for Havana. Reported from Nassau 3/18 as leaving there 2/28/1817 and wrecked on the Florida Reef not long after. Cargo & crew saved and taken to Nassau. Source: 27; Charleston Courier, 4/18/1817.
13) Rolla – Schooner, of Beverly, MA, Capt. Woodbury. From Ragged Island for Apalachicola, with salt. Took aboard the pilot at St. George Island and attempted to go into Apalachicola Bay, but ran aground on a sandbar around Dec. 10, 1826. She remained there a few hours but final got over the bar, but not before damage to her hull caused her to take on water. She was then purposefully run aground off St. Vincent Island about ½ mile from shore. The crew managed to bring some valuables to shore. Sails, rigging, etc. were saved and was to be auctioned. Source: SR, 2/3/1827; Sag Harbor Corrector, 2/3/1827
14) Glaneuse – French brig, of Havre, Capt. Forneaux, from Havana for London with sugar and coffee. Went aground on Little Pickle’s Reef, 3/10/1834, and immediately bilged. The wrecking sloop Azelia luckily was in the area and saved the crew and brought then to Key West. Was stated that little if anything was salvaged. A Scottish paper in early May printed the same story but same paper in late May said it was taken into KW and condemned, though I think this is wrong, though can’t confirm. I did not find the brig in Lloyd’s Register. Source: The Charleston Mercury, 3/24/1834; The Caledonian Mercury, 5/10-24/1834
15) Conde de Villanueva – Spanish bark, 147.5 tons, Capt. Carlos de Ageo, from Charleston bound for Cuba with rice and lard. Were caught in a gale on 9/11/1835, and they decided to run her ashore to save the crew. Just before the breakers, they let out the bower chain and anchor and made it fast to the mainmast and she struck bottom soon after. They then cut away the foremast to lighten the ship and help to bring the bow around towards the beach. Fearing the vessel would soon break up they all attempted to swim to shore and two of the crew were drowned. With only the clothes on their back, they walked some distance and came upon the plantation of Abraham Dupont, Esq, who welcomed them in and soon helped them get to St. Augustine. It was wrecked about 26 miles south of St. Augustine. The Capt. had a court case in St. Augustine regarding tonnage duties paid. A portion of the lard was saved. Wrecked on the Florida coast about 50-60 miles north of Cape Florida, 9/11/1835. Source: 10
16) William Osborne – Brig, of Portland, ME, had 600 bales of cotton loaded at Apalachicola bound for Liverpool, when she caught fire at Apalachicola (spontaneous combustion of one cotton bale was said to be the cause), 6/10/1836, and was a total loss. Source: BNP, 7/2/1836; London Morning Post 7/21/1836.
17) Cinderella – Schooner, around 20 years old, of Charleston, wrecked in the Indian River during a gale, mid-January, 1857. Had a cargo of turtle, hides, etc. Source: The Southern Enterprise, 1/29/1857.
18) Palmas – Brig, Capt. Bracegrdl, built 1858 at N.B., 263 tons, of Liverpool. From Belize for Liverpool, with mahogany, rosewood and logwood. She sprung a leak, 3/25/1861, at Lat. 29-12 N, Long. 79-48 W, and after pumps failed to keep the water out, she was abandoned and sunk off Florida the next day as the crew took to the boats. They safely landed 15 miles to the south of Matanzas Inlet. Source: LR; SDR, 4/13/1861.
19) Horace – Schooner. Burned by the Confederates while at anchor in the Jupiter River to prevent its capture, Dec. 1862. Anchors and sails salvaged by the USS Sagamore. Source: Alexandria Gazette, 1/20/1863.
20) John Stevens – Brig, of Bluehill, ME, 266 tons, 104’ x 26’ x 10’, 1 deck, built 1853 at Bluehill by A. Cough. Became a total loss of the St. John’s Bar, late Oct. 1866. She went to pieces and much of her valuable cargo was strewn along the coast for miles. Source: 37; Florida Times Union, 12/14/1883; SDMN, 10/31/1866.
21) Lincoln Webb – Brig, of Thomaston, ME, Capt. Guthrie, built 1853 or 54 in ME, 199 tons, 98’ x 25’ x 9’. Had just finished loading 120,000’ of valuable flooring, and was getting underway to sail opposite the Wallis & Co.'s Mill, Jacksonville, when a fire started in the cabin area and soon engulfed the whole vessel, 10/10/1867. Was a total loss. Source: 37; Florida Times Union, 12/14/1883; Boston Post, 10/23/1867; Portland Daily Press, 10/23/1867.
22) Cicely Helen – Brig, of St. John, Newfoundland, Capt. W. Taylor, 202 tons, 106’7” x 26’2” x 16’5”, built 1865 by Sinclair, iron bolts. From Nassau River, FL. for Rio de Janeiro, became a total loss at Nassau Inlet (now known as Nassau Sound), Nov. 1867. Source: LR; The Daily Telegram, London, 11/18/1867; Florida Times Union, 12/14/1883.
23) E.M. Hamilton - Schooner, of Portland, ME, 192 tons, 102’ x 27’, built 1867 at Portland of oak, pine & steel, copper & iron fastened. From Portland for Jacksonville, with hay, lime, potatoes & other provisions. Went aground on the north breakers of the St. John’s Bar, 12/31/1868. Most cargo saved. Source: 37; Florida Times Union, 12/14/1883; Portland Daily Press, 1/13/1869.
24) A.R. Wetmore – Schooner, of Hackensack, NJ, 172.96 tons, built 1850 at Belleville, NJ, of oak, copper & iron fastened. From NY for St. Mary’s, GA, in ballast, went aground at Ft. George Island and bilged during a gale, 8/25/1871. A total loss. Source: 37; Fl. Times Union, 12/14/1883; Boston Post, 9/4/1871.
25) Dora Ellen – Schooner, of New Smyrna, 33.12 tons, from Jacksonville for New Smyrna, wrecked about 10 miles north of Mosquito Inlet, 9/8/1878. A total loss. Crew saved by schooner Ida Smith, which wrecked near same area the next year. Source: 10; FL Times Union, 12/14/1883; Portland Daily Press, 9/17/1878; The Florida Agriculturist, 10/2/1878.
26) Favonius – British ship, of New Brunswick, Capt. J.W. Dunham, wood hulled, composite metal sheathed, 2 decked, 1,569 Tons, built 1883 at St. John, N.B., 213.6’ x 40.3’ x 24.3’. Burned about 10 miles from land and 18 miles from the Pensacola Lighthouse. Sept. 18, 1897. It was purposely set on fire by a crewman (carpenter) who was trying to do anything to not set sail for Rio de Janeiro with her cargo of lumber, and remain at Pensacola. His pleads to be let off the ship being met with a resounding “no,” he did the following: “he, for the purpose of securing his release, intentionally mutilated himself by cutting off with an ax the ends of two fingers of his left hand.” He then asked to be taken ashore for medical help, but instead a doctor was brought aboard and after treatment, deemed him still fit for duty. That night the carpenter was heard telling some of the crew that they would all be back in Pensacola soon, and he was later seen approaching the forward ventilator with a large roll of oakum. A fire was discovered soon after. The crew tried to put the fire out but to no avail, The anchor was let go to prevent the ship from going into deeper water as a large swell was running, and it was said “the chain becoming red hot as it went grinding through the hawsepipe. “The boats were lowered and all made it safely off the burning ship. The carpenter was sent to England along with 4 witnesses to face trial as it was a British ship. The penalty for his deed in the United States was death, and in Great Britain was life imprisonment.” Source: LR; BDG, 10/6/1897.
27) C.S. Glidden – American 4-masted schooner, wood hulled, 1,657.94 tons, of Thomaston, ME, built 1894 at Thomaston, 195.7’ x 41’ x 19.4’ From Tampico to load phosphate at Port Tampa, went aground on Egmont Key, Nov. 1, 1897. A report dated Dec. 16 said the vessel “was imbedded in sand, its starboard rails 3’ under water, and is a hopeless wreck.” The captain and crew were busy saving all they could from the wreck at the time. Note: Another identical copy of the ship with the same name was built soon after at Thomaston. Source: 10;
28) Priscilla Scribner – American 3-masted wood schooner, built 1874 at Milford. DE, of Wilmington, 454.97 tons, 144.5’ x 33’ x 16.5’, Capt. Van Gilder. From Darien for Philadelphia with lumber. Newspaper reports in early October, 1897 reported that wreckage from the Priscilla Scribner were washing up on Anastasia Island and the north & south beaches of St. Augustine. Pieces of the bow and stern with the schooners name came ashore identifying her. A yawl from the schooner also came ashore with its bow stove in and indications that it was being launched by the crew. No sign of the six on board were found, and it was feared all were lost. Source:
29) Asturias – Mexican iron steam tug, 113 tons, from Laguna for Wilmington, wrecked May 24, 1896. Reported as sunk between Alligator and Carysfort Light and also as aground near Matecumbe Key. Salvage was attempted but they couldn’t raise her.
30) Avanti – Norwegian ship of Christiania (now Oslo). U.S newspaper reports all say a bark. Originally the ship Belle Morse built at Bath, ME in 1867, by J.P. Morse. Norwegian specs-1314 tons, 185’ x 33’ x 23.7’. Sailed from Ship Island for Greenock, Aug. 3, with pitch pine, Capt. J.R. Agerup. Wrecked on Rebecca Shoal, Aug. 18, 1898. Attempts to salvage her failed and she filled with water. All on board saved.
31) Lizzie Heyer – Three-masted schooner, of Boston, 360.17 tons, built 1873 at Thomaston, ME, 137’ x 31.4’ x11.3’. Left Jacksonville for Providence, RI, with lumber, Sept. 18, 1898, just before a major storm struck the area. Was reported in early October a portion of her bow with her full name washed ashore at Fernandina along with other wreckage including lumber. Two bodies also washed ashore but were too decomposed to identify though most likely from the Lizzie and another body was reported seen floating off Fernandina. She had a crew of seven. Was under command of Capt. Frank Delay and was also accompanied by his son Capt. Frank Jr. Note: An early Nov. 1898 report said that a lower hull structure (about 160’) with yellow metal sheathing, and some cargo of lumber which appeared to be Florida or Georgia pine, most with the letter “S” stamped on the ends, had washed up at Cape Lookout Light, and it was surmised that it was likely part of the Lizzie Heyer which had drifted north, but not confirmed.
32) Cadice – Italian bark, 800 tons, built 1873 at Gravosa, 158.1’ x 30.5’ x 24.2’. Left Pensacola for Messina, 2/10/1898, Capt. Capriol. Went ashore on the Quicksands near the Tortugas, Feb, 23, 1898. On April 19, 1898, a steamer reported seeing her drifting in the middle of the shipping lane “lying on her port beam ends, fore and main masts and jibboom gone, mizzen lower mast standing,” while other reports just said it was stripped clean and longboat was still on deck. Area reported at that time: “Rebecca Shoal Light-house, bearing N. NW (magnetic), 6.5 miles, drifting NE.”
33) Chipman – Norwegian full-rigged ship (newspaper reports say a bark), of Tønsberg, was at Pensacola to load pitch-pine lumber and caught fire due to a lightning strike around June 17, 1899. She was scuttled in order to put the fire out and later condemned. Built 1877 at St. Stephen, NB, 191.2’ x 36.6’ x 22.5’.
34) Gertrude Abbott – 3-masted schooner, of Philadelphia, 594 tons, 144’ x 35’ x 16.5’, built 1882 at Dennisville, N.J. From Philadelphia for Jax, with coal, Capt. Duneau. Due to a storm, she missed the entrance to the St. Johns, and “grounded heavily on the south jetty,” 3/27/1900. Her boats got smashed. There were two different reports on how the crew were saved. One said a line was shot from the beach to the schooner and made fast to a mast, and all were saved via a breeches buoy. Another says the crew all remained in the rigging overnight and were rescued by the tug Three Friends the next morning. It soon broke up.
35) Nellie M. Slade – Bark, 560 tons, built 1874 at Boston and of Boston, 143.5’ x 33.4’ x 15.9’. From Cuba for Ship Island, Capt. Rawling, ran ashore on an outer reef at the Tortugas, 8/17/1900. Couldn’t be saved and became a total loss.
36) Ceres - Bark, of Galveston, built 1876 at Rostock, Germany, 467 tons, 143’ x 29.8’ x 17’. From Sabine Pass with lumber, Capt. Taylor. Arrived at Key West leaking, late February, 1901. Was condemned and cargo offloaded onto a schooner. She later sank in Key West harbor. Appears to have been a failed salvage attempt that summer and bankruptcy court was involved and in Nov. 1901, the government was accepting bids for the wreck’s removal.
37) Manakin – The sloop Manakin was being towed from Jacksonville to Miami by the tug Admiral Dewey, when a gale struck off Ft. Lauderdale and the sloop sank, 2/22/1902. The three on board were rescued. Source: The Florida Star, 2/28/1902; Miami Metropolis, 2/28/1902.
38) Monhegan – Four masted schooner of Bath, Me, built 1890 at Rockland, Me, 1,030 tons, 184.4’ x 39’ x 18.6’, Capt. J.W. Murphy. From Havana for Delaware Breakwater, with 10,600 bags of sugar, went aground the evening of March 16, 1902 on Molasses Reef in rough seas. She soon bilged. Crew saved and some cargo and materials salvaged. Source: SMN 5/22/1902, Lloyd’s Casualty Reports 1902.
39) Otzamiz – Uruguayan bark, 1132 net tons, from Liverpool for Fernandina in ballast to load lumber, wrecked on Amelia Beach, 3/6/1904, about one mile south of the jetties. One report said: “is a total wreck on Amelia Beach. The vessel is listed to port and bilged. Her rudder is gone, and she is deeply grounded.” She later sold for $120 as she lay. Supposedly was anchored offshore in a dense fog and chains parted that evening and she went aground on the beach. The pilot who boarded next morning said two crewmen were on deck with knives and later arrested and charged with mutiny. A report four days after she wrecked said she was fast going to pieces. Last report I saw said the two charged with mutiny were fined, but those were remitted as a shipping agent was then charged with having shanghaied them.
40) El Victoria – Spanish bark, from Tampico for Fernandina, with lumber, wrecked (likely just offshore,) 1/16/1905, believe not far south of the wreck of the Italian bark Massa E Gnecco, which wrecked just offshore the day before about 6-7 miles south of Palm Beach (one report says two miles south of the beached wreck James Judge (on beach since Oct. 1904). Of the 16 on board, The Captain and ten crewmembers drowned trying to reach shore. Source: DMM, 1/16-17/1905. Note: Actual location of wreck is confusing as it appears some newspaper reports got her confused with the Italian bark, whose crew had taken refuge in the wreck of the J. Judge.
41) Vanloo – Italian ship, of Genoa, 1,553 net tons, from Buenos Ayres for Pensacola in ballast, went hard aground 25-miles east of the Pensacola Lighthouse on the outside gulf beach, Nov. 16, 1906. She was headed for Pensacola when it was caught in a dead calm and slowly drifted onto the beach. A few hours later a storm hit with 50 mph winds and she almost broke in two. A total loss, crew saved.
42) Charlotte Caase – A two-masted fishing smack, built 1904, 11 tons, 49.2’ x 14’ x 4.5’, of Wilmington. Had left St, Augustine for Wilmington, 3/31/1907, and soon encountered heavy weather. Capt. Otto and his wife tried returning to St. Augustine, but with the cabin washed away and taking on water, they beached her about 10 miles above North Point (another report said 16 miles below Pablo) where both remained there that night and for two more days. Capt. Otto then found an old boat, made a paddle, and they made it to St. Augustine the next day. Source: 10; MDM, 4/6-8/1907.
43) Norah Higgens – The hull of this sloop washed up on the beach near Delray, early Oct., 1908. Looked to have been stripped of all materials. Source: MM, 10/19/1908.
44) Trixie – A Launch/yacht owned by the Manetto Co., who had a plant at Cape Sable was “Used in Conveying Supplies, Passengers, etc., to and From Cape Sable.” It had left Cape Sable for Knights Key late afternoon on 5/18/1909, with the Capt. Phelps, the engineer and three passengers, who were to board the train for Miami. The engine started to act up and they decided to drop anchor about midway between East Cape and Sandy Key so the engineer could fix the engine (original article said Sand Key which I don’t want to confuse with Sand Key off Key West--Sandy Key lies just off Cape Sable). As dusk approached though, mosquitoes began to attack, and as anyone who has ever anchored at dusk near the Florida swamps or mangroves, you don’t stick around. Phelps immediately told the engineer to start the engine so they could get far enough from land and the relentless mosquitoes. The engine started, and they made their way further offshore when they heard the engineer yell “Help” and they all scrambled to the stern. The engineer was gone, and the engine compartment was on fire. The engine was shut off and they began to fight the fire, two men got in the small boat they were towing and were lucky to find the exhausted engineer in the dark who had jumped overboard after his clothes caught fire. They then rowed back to the burning launch where Phelps and another passenger were about ready to jump overboard as the fire had almost reached the gas tank and they immediately jumped in, leaving most all their personal belongings. The fire had started about 9:30 pm and the gas tank exploded a couple hours later and the launch sank. All five reached Sawfish Hole about 2am the next day. The three passengers eventually made it to Quarry, where they boarded the train to Miami. Source: MM, 5/20/1909.
45) Mayflower – Columbian 3-masted schooner, 132 net tons, was anchored on Plover Key Point, ten thousand Islands, and dashed to pieces in the hurricane of Oct. 19,1910. Two lives lost, one being a child. All others saved by schooner Florida though all survivors had to stay in the trees overnight to avoid drowning in the high surf.
46) Maria – Uruguayan bark, built 1878, 567 tons, 140.1’ x 30.7’ x 21’. From Jacksonville for Carrabelle for lumber, Capt. J.R. Pickett, went aground on the east side of San Phillips Shoal, eighteen miles south of Carrabelle, the night of March 23, 1911. The crew abandoned ship the next night except for the Capt. and one crew member. A storm hit the next day and it was feared she would break up but a report on March 30th said there was 3’ of water in her hold and was hoped she could be saved. The 1912 Lloyd’s Register has her as wrecked, so was never saved.
47) Bicycle – Sloop. Owned by the Cape Florida lighthouse keeper Capt. Ed Walker, exploded due to a gasoline stove in the galley injuring the one person on board. It sank near the dock there. The Daily Metropolis, 4/25/1911.
48) Leonard Parker – Canadian three-masted schooner, built 1897 at Tynemouth, NB, 287 tons, 127.9’ x 29.8’ x 10.4’, from Gulfport for Cape Breton. Went aground on a reef off Ragged Key, Biscayne Bay. While trying to get her off the reef using anchors, a lamp was accidentally knocked over in the hold, and the 400 tons of dry lumber and a hold saturated with pitch immediately caught fire and swiftly spread, leaving no opportunity to put out the blaze, 9/16/1913. Capt. McNeil and the seven crewmembers barely made it to the lifeboat and landed on Ragged Key where they watched their vessel burn and then sink. Source: 20; Tampa Times, 9/19/1913; MDM, 9/17/1913.
49) Rockledge (ex -Governor Worth) – Iron hulled side wheel steamer, built in 1866 at Wilmington, DE, 136.4’ x 22.4’ x 5.3’. President & Mrs. Grover Cleveland enjoyed their first visit to Florida and their honeymoon on this vessel. It later became a floating hotel in West Palm Beach and later towed to Miami and became Miami’s first hotel where many early residents also dined, being anchored for many years at the Avenue D bridge. Later it became a gambling hall (known for gunfights on deck), house of ill-repute, & moonshiner’s hangout (a still was found onboard after one raid). It eventually fell into disrepair and abandoned. As many Miamians watched and reminisced about her many years and roles in Miami, she was finally towed out to sea about 3 miles offshore and sunk, 11/14/1913. Source: 10; MDM, 11/14/1913.
50) Nimkee – Dredge, owned by the Trumbo Dredging Co, of Havana, and was one of the most powerful suction dredges in its class, had finished its job filling in a marsh area for development at Daytona and was preparing to be towed back to Havana. On May 28, 1915 around 8:00 in the morning, a large tug waited outside Mosquito Inlet to tow the Nimkee back to Havana. A launch had both the Nimkee and a large barge with dredging equipment in tow proceeded out the inlet to the tug, but when almost to the bar, a strong southeast squall struck and blew the barge and the dredge onto the north shore. The tug came in closer and the launch managed to get to the tug and retrieve a tow line to attach to the dredge. The launch then took safety back inside the inlet. Unknown if the tow line failed or if the tug just wasn’t able to get the dredge off, but by noon, the seas were now breaking over her and she was being pushed higher up onto the beach. There she remained, and at low tide people could walk around her. As days passed the dredge further imbedded itself in the sand, and by June 11th, any hope of re-floating her was abandoned and she was being broken up to save whatever machinery and other parts could be salvaged. Source: Daytona Daily News, 5/29/1915; Daytona Gazette, 6/11/1915.
51) Charles K. Schull – Schooner, built 1889 at Camden, NJ, 884 tons, 176.3’ x 38’ x 18.2’, of Philadelphia. From Gulfport for Rotterdam, with phosphate, Capt. O’Brien, foundered about 15 miles west of the Tortugas, 2/1/1917. The crew took to the boats and drifted for five days until rescued by the Norwegian steamer Mt. Vernon and taken to Key West. Source: 10; Lakeland Evening Telegram, 2/7/2017
52) Maria Louisa – Greek schooner. Built at Madison, CT, 1884, 500.98 tons, 155’ x 34’ x 11.5’. Originally the John L. Treat. Wrecked on the Tortugas, 4/28/1917. Source: LC; 10.
53) M. E. Eldridge – Three-masted schooner, 252 tons, built 1878 at Portsmouth, NH, 101.7’ x 30.2’ x 10.8’. She left Tampa for Cienfuegos, Cuba either May 5 or later (different dates given), 1917, with 140,000’ of lumber. She encountered a hurricane and began to leak. The pumps could not keep up and she rolled over May 14th off Cuba and the crew climbed onto the overturned hull. I should note that her cargo of lumber likely helped to keep her afloat as I’ve seen this reported with other wrecks. For the next five days the crew remained there with no food or water until the mainmast fell away which immediately gave hope the vessel could be righted. The crew then began to cut away the foremast which had also been loosened when capsized, which they achieved and the vessel righted itself. A few cans of peaches were retrieved but not enough to sustain anyone for long as all other provisions had been lost. The stronger of the crew had managed to snare three sharks and this enabled eight to survive by drinking its blood and eating the raw flesh. Capt. George Delbat died from exposure on the 23rd, and another crewman died four days later, and both had been given a proper burial at sea. The survivors said that a few steamers passed right by and did not stop, “a steamer came so close to us we could see the water foaming around her bow. She did not come to us, and one passed so close later that we could see her water-line.” On the 15th day adrift, they were rescued by the British schooner Frances from Belize for New York, who brought them to Havana. The abandoned schooner drifted north and news reports on the June 5th said the derelict was now six miles south of the New River Inlet off Dania in 28’ of water though another said off Delray. A report on June 9th said that the wreck was now a mile from the New River Inlet stuck on a reef and on the 11th said it was so broken up there was no hope to save her though saving the cargo was still being considered. Source: 10; Tampa Times, 6/9/1917; Tampa Tribune, 5/31/1917,6/6/1917; Miami Metropolis, 6/11/1917; MH, 5/31/1917. 54) Aigua Freda – Spanish 3-masted schooner, 400 net tons, from Barcelona for Jacksonville, in ballast, burned about 30 miles from Jacksonville, 9/2/1917. Crew abandoned her after a large gas tank exploded on deck, and they were picked up by a fishing boat 24 hours later.
55) Springfield – Four-masted schooner, 538 net tons, 172’ x 36.1’ x 13.7’, of Puerto Rico (used to sail from Jacksonville). From Gulfport for Puerto Rico, with lumber, was abandoned (either 120 or 160) miles south of Pensacola, 4/9/1918, after a storm caused her to leak badly. Crew were rescued by the smack Sea Connett and brought to Pensacola. Capt. E.C. Hunter searched for his abandoned vessel on the tug Nimrod out of Mobile. They found it on fire and decided to return later to see if they could tow her back. On their second trip, they only found floating wreckage. The Capt. of the Sea Connett said he rescued the crew at Lat 27.40° N, 87.28°W, and on the 19th saw it again at Lat. 28.40°N, long. 87.28°W. Possible Florida shipwreck.
56) Jeannette – Three-masted, steel hulled, auxiliary schooner, of Rotterdam, built 1917 at Foxhall, 332 tons, 135.1’ x 26.4’ x 11.5’. From Philadelphia for Havana, with 400 tons of cement, Capt./owner Edgar Sammis, sank about 15 miles southeast of Fowey Rock, 3/18/1919. She’d been struggling in heavy weather and early that day a leak started and by that afternoon the pumps couldn’t keep up. The captain then headed for the Florida coast when she suddenly began breaking in half and was abandoned, the crew barely escaping as she sank to the bottom. All seven on board arrived at Miami in their lifeboat the next day. Source: MDM, 3/17/1919; LR. Note: Lloyd’s lists her in both sailing and steam vessel registers (schooner rigged with steam engine). One newspaper report said was 15 years old and American, but the only Jeannette I found with same tonnage was the Dutch one listed and which Lloyd’s says was the ex-Harry Frater, which I could not find in any registers. Source: LR; MDM, 3/17/1919.
57) Santa Cristina – Twin screw schooner/steamer. Built 1917 at Aberdeen, WA, of Hoquaim, WA, & owned by the W.R. Grace Line, 2159 tons, 224.5’ x 42.6’ x 25.9’. From Barranquilla for New Orleans with coffee & hides (another source says 2,000 tons of lumber), sunk after an explosion in the engine room about 50 miles north of Havana, 7/8/1919, which could put it close to Key West. The 29 crewmembers and 5 passengers took to the boats and were picked up by a passing schooner. Possible Florida shipwreck.
58) Adonis – British 3-masted schooner, built 1903 at Bridgetown, NS, 350 tons, 140’ x 32’ x 11.3’, of Bridgetown, Barbados. From Jacksonville for Sagua La Grande, Cuba, Capt. Smith, with yellow pine lumber. Was disabled during a gale and abandoned about 20 miles NE of Jupiter Inlet whose crew were picked up by a passing steamer. Waterlogged, and with sails fully set, she then drifted ashore opposite Jensen, FL, where she sank and quickly went to pieces in a heavy surf, 10/21/1920, a total loss. Source: Lakeland Evening Telegram; The Pensacola Journal; & Tampa Tribune, 10/23/1920; Lloyd’s Casualty Reports; 20
59) Kenomee – The 55’ British gas-powered yacht, burned off Elliot Key due to a faulty gas tank and sank in eight feet of water, 5/2/1921. Was from Havana for Miami. The two crewmen got into their life boat and were rescued. Source: MDM, 5/4/1921.
60) Mount Hamilton – Norwegian four-masted schooner, 1537 tons, 231’ x 45’ x 18’, built 1919 at Seattle, WA. From Brunswick, Ga. for Havana, with 1,400 tons of railway steel, and lumber. She caught fire June 3, 1921 due to one source saying some tanks of benzine had exploded. Unable to put the fire out, the crew took to the boats, were soon rescued, and landed at Miami. She burned to the waterline and sank one mile south of the Fowey Rock Lighthouse in 18’ of water. In October it was reported from the lighthouse keeper that the wreck was rapidly breaking up and pieces were washing up onto adjacent beaches and warned any small craft to be on the lookout for floating debris. In November, it was reported that two salvage barges had been towed from NY to Miami to salvage the steel rails and hopefully some of the lumber. A report from March of 1922 said the vessel Salvor had just brought in 50 tons of steel rails from the wreck into Miami. Source: 35; MDM, 6/4 & 10/28/1921; MH, 10/30 & 11/30,1921, 3/24/1922. Believe owned by the bank of Norway
61) Celeste D – 3-masted schooner of Weymouth, NS, 649 tons, 164’ x 23.3’ x 15.6’, built 1919 at Meteghan River, NS. From Pensacola for Le Have, N.S., in ballast, Capt. J.H Richards, and caught fire at one am, 6/26/1921, when a crewman tried to light a lamp with gasoline instead of kerosene, causing an explosion. The fire quickly spread, and the crew had only about 15 minutes to lower the boats (a gas-powered launch & a skiff) and abandon ship about 75 miles off the coast of Florida. They tied the skiff to the launch and headed west but the gas quickly ran out. When daylight came, the captain put two crewmen in the skiff and sent them towards the Florida coast. The two landed at Coronado, FL, and soon met with the lighthouse keeper, Capt. Lindquist, by Mosquito Inlet. Lindquist soon found a boat to go search for the launch. They were able to locate it and tow it back to shore. The crew were brought to the lighthouse to rest and later taken to New Smyrna. As the schooner had burnt to the waterline, no salvage was attempted.
62) Former Navy Sub-Chaser 205 (SC-205) – This former sub-chaser (built 1918 at Alexandria, VA) left Miami for Matanzas, Cuba, 6/2/1922, and appears to have run out of fuel, as it was later towed into Key West. It left Key West on 6/15/1922, and when about 13 miles from Key West, a fire was detected on board believed to have started due to a short circuit in one of the guest rooms. Unable to put out the fire, the vessel eventually burned to the waterline before sinking off Sand Key. All twelve on board were rescued by nearby vessels, though the owner’s wife was slightly injured by the fire. This was the same vessel that blew up in Key West Harbor in 1920 killing two on board, which was then condemned by the Navy and sold to the current owner. Source: MM, 6/15/1922.
63) Shirin – A 125’ converted yacht for passenger service between Miami & Nassau. It exploded about 3 miles off Miami, 8/11/1922. Several passengers were killed or drowned; the rest being rescued clinging to scattered wreckage. This was the third vessel Capt. Pappas had lost in the last three years, the Albert Soper off Florida in 1920, the Thetis in 1921 off Cat Cay, and now the Shirin. Miami Metropolis, 8/12/1922.
64) Lizzie A. Williams – Three masted schooner of Jacksonville, 188 tons, 125’ x 23.7’ x 7.5’, built 1892 at Bethel, DE. Foundered at Tampa in 1922. Merchant Vessels of the US 1923, simply lists her as being abandoned.
65) Elaine – A 42’ gas powered charter boat, built 1922 in St. Paul, MN. Believe exploded about 7 miles south of Jupiter while testing out a new engine April, 1923. Capt. Fontein, (who built the boat) was presumed drowned. The mate was picked up by a passing steamer headed to France and it looked for the captain for about an hour around the burning craft before ending its search. Source: The Columbus Telegram, 4/11-12/1923; MH 4/11/1923.
66) Cristobal – Spanish 3-masted schooner, of Alicante, 212 tons, 97.8’ x 30.3’ x 11.2’, built 1919. From Havana for Cagliari, owner & Capt. Juan Rodriguez, with a cargo of antique tiles and building materials from Cuba. She became becalmed in the Gulf Stream, and drifted for several days before grounding off Walton (a now defunct town not to be confused with Walton County in the Panhandle) about three miles north of Jensen and 100 yards offshore in 14’ of water, 11/22/1923 (also stated as wrecked 12 miles south of Ft. Pierce, which is about where Walton is on old maps). The crew swiftly abandoned her, claiming the ship was “bad luck,” and the hull was soon sinking in the sand and breaking up in the surf. The rescued crewmembers were taken to both the Indian River Coast Guard Station, and Gilberts Bar Station. Supposedly coins, etc. dating from the 1715 fleet period have been found in this general area over the years from a wreck referred to as the “Power Plant Wreck.” I wonder if the so-called “antique tiles” dated from the 18th century. I’m sure just as in the USA, that builders in Cuba would save old decorative tiles, and other antique building materials when tearing down or remodeling old buildings, and possibly unused antique building materials were still stored in Cuba and being sold.
67) Valdarno – Italian steel steamer (ex-War Persian), of Genoa, 5311 tons, 400.2’ x 52.3’ x 28.5’, built 1918 at Glasgow. Burned at the St. Andrews Bay Lumber Co. dock at Bay Harbor, 10/24/1924. Had loaded 1,300,000’ of pine lumber and 300 barrels of rosin. Was a complete loss, and caused $125,000 dollars of damage to the dock and lumber stored there.
68) Clara B – A 40’ launch type gas powered yacht, was headed out Sebastian Inlet, 10/11/1925, with 23 persons on board. Realizing the seas were too dangerous, the captain attempted to turn around just outside the breakwater, when a large wave quickly capsized her about 150’ offshore where her bottom remained visible. Fourteen of those on board died by drowning or being slammed into the rocks of the jetty. Source: MH, 10/12-13/1925.
69) Campania – Schooner, of Cayman Brac, built 1903 at Luneburg, NS, 88.8’ x 24.6’ x 9.2’. On the morning of 11/17/1925, Capt. Banks said they were hit by a storm around Lat 24.52N; Long. 85.07W, when some planking tore off the hull and she began to sink within 25 minutes. Crew took to the lifeboat and were luckily picked up the next day by the schooner Horace M. Bickford (see #69).
70) Horace M. Bickford – Three-masted schooner, of Tampa, 503 tons, 147.5’ x 33.5’ x 13.7’, built 1907 at Phippsburg, ME. From Miami for Tampa, Capt. A.N. Borden, was already in a leaky state when she came upon the crew of the Campania which she took aboard. On 11/21/1925, she was also in a sinking state and had to be abandoned. At Lat. 24.51N; Long. 85.51W. and were all picked up a few hours later by the Steam tanker Olean and taken to Texas City. Another report from Key West, Nov. 24, said she was seen 125 miles NW of the Tortugas and posed a hazard to navigation. This report also stated the crews form both the Campania & the Horace M. Bickford were taken off the Horace by the lifeboat lowered from the Olean. Both the Campania and the Horace M. Bickford are possible Florida wrecks as both may have drifted many miles before sinking, as I’ve reported on a number of vessels that have drifted from the Gulf, around the Keys, and into the Gulf Stream, with some then becoming wrecks in the Keys or off Florida’s east coast.
71) Rosabliss – A 55 or 60’ motor yacht. Caught fire while starting engines which backfired, and it sank soon after while anchored about 350 yards southwest of Cape Florida. All seven on board got in their dinghy and were soon rescued by a nearby craft and taken to Tahiti Beach. The keeper of the Fowey Rock Light saw the flames and radioed the Coast Guard, but when the cutter arrived, they found no trace of the yacht Source: MH, 3/9/1926; TBT, 3/8/1926.
72) Geneva – Brigantine, of the Whitney & Bodden Shipping Co., Mobile, AL, 495 tons, 150’ x 36.3’ x 14’, built 1892 at Benicia, CA. Was from Gulfport for Mayaguez, with 672, 020’ of lumber, Capt. V.H. Bowden, when she caught fire about 25 miles SE of Fowey Rock Light, 6/11/1926, which quickly spread. The crew took to the lifeboat and were soon picked up by the tanker Gulfstate. She burned to the waterline and turned upside down drifting north. On the 14th was spotted about 75 miles northeast of Miami and a hazard to navigation. Was reported that this was THE LAST BRIGANTINE STILL ACTIVE! There are some brigantines still sailing today, but they were either converted from an original schooner rigged vessel or are a much newer replica build.
73) Artemis – Honduran steamer, steel, twin screw, 559 tons, 161.3’ x 26.3’ x 15’, single deck, built 1912 at Wilmington, DE. From Gulfport for Mayaguez, to pick up bananas and fruit, Capt. Harold Borden, with lumber, caught fire around 10pm, 2/24/1927, while about 20 miles off Key West. The flames spread quickly and the crew were able to save one lifeboat and abandon ship. They were picked up by the vessel City of Houston. Believe the fire started in a boiler. Was reported from Key West on the 25th, that around 11pm yesterday, she was engulfed in flames “in plain view of South Beach here, went down just before noon today, a total loss.” Owned by the Tropical Fruit Co., of Tampa. The Capt. was later to have said “he’d never got to sea with a crew of 13 ever again.”
74) Cynthiana – Yacht, owned by William Filer (chairman of Dade County Board of education), wrecked near Barracuda Key, 11/12/1927, and four on board spent two days on the isolated key until rescued and taken to Key West. Motor and some brass items later saved but hull went to pieces on the reef. Source: Miami Daily News, 11/27/1927; Palm Beach Post, 11/14/1927.
75) Overbrook – Steamer/oil tanker, of N.Y., 5725 tons, 400.8’ x 54.3’ x 31.4’, built 1918 at Chester, PA, fitted with cylindrical tanks for petroleum storage, single screw powered by two Westinghouse steam turbine engines. From Texas City for N.Y., with 70,000 barrels of crude oil, when an explosion occurred in the pump room causing a fire which soon spread, 4/26/1928. Unable to put the fire out, the crew took to the lifeboats and were rescued by the steamer Fred W. Weller. The Coast Guard destroyer Wilkes (on loan from the Navy), intercepted the burning ship, and took off the crew from the F.W. Weller. As to where she was abandoned, I have different reports. Merchant Vessels of the U.S. said lost at Lat. 32°15’ N, Long. 52°77’ W, which appears was incorrect or a misprint, and is why I originally didn’t include it in my books. I recently saw a Lloyd’s report saying burned off Florida and checked out news articles from that period. Most newspapers reported her as abandoned at “Lat. 28:55N; Long. 79:30W.” Also said 100 miles east of St. Augustine and 150 miles north of Jupiter. A report from Charleston dated 4/28 (where rescued crew were brought to), said the fire was out and the crew planned to return to the ship that day. As both Lloyd’s and Merchant Vessels of the U.S. state she was lost due to fire, and not condemned or broken up, I’ll assume it sank somewhere off the coast of Florida, though can’t confirm. If it was in a sinking state, not towable, and drifting, the Coast Guard may have also sunk her to prevent a collision with other ships. Possible Florida wreck.
76) Dandilly – Fishing yacht, struck a submerged object, 2/19/1929, about 30 miles south of Miami and five miles offshore, and immediately sank with only the bow remaining above water which all on board clung to for two hours until rescued by another craft. Original report said struck object off Cocolobo Cay, and sank in 20’ of water. Source: MH, 2/20-22/1929.
77) Edmund S. Fowler – Dipper dredge, owned by the Florida Pipe & Equipment Co. First used to dredge the Palm Beach Inlet, and later the causeway docks area in Miami. Was being towed from the Miami River to Coconut Grove, when the gas motor that runs the bilge pump backfired causing the dredge to catch fire. Unable to put the fire out, the one on board was taken off by the tow boat and it was grounded in shallow water at the edge of the channel two miles off SW 25th Rd. in Biscayne Bay to avoid blocking any shipping, and was left there to burn. Photo in paper shows it was quite large, but can’t find it listed in US Merchant Vessels. Unknown if towed away, broken up or if any or all remained in the bay. Source: MH, 8/2/1932.
78) James Douglas - Nicaraguan auxiliary motor screw schooner, built 1914 in Nova Scotia, 105’ x 26.3’ x 10.4’. Lloyd’s lists as abandoned 60 miles west of Boca Grande, Fl, with a cargo of lumber, 10/16/1932.
79) Edith Dawson – Schooner, of Nova Scotia. Though headlines said lost off Florida coast, it was abandoned about 150 miles off Fernandina, and likely drifted north of Florida, but who knows so listing it here. From Nova Scotia for the Turks Islands for salt. Lost sails in a gale Nov. 1932 and pumps failed. Her boats were crushed by the waves but all crew were saved by the tanker Sylvan Arrow’s lifeboat just as the schooner was listing. The ships dog jumped into the ocean for the lifeboat, but was immediately eaten by sharks, and the crew were sure lucky that tanker was nearby. They set fire to the wreck before leaving. Possible Florida wreck.
80) Banderlog – The 38’ charter fishing boat exploded, burned, and sank in about 18’ of water west of Baker’s Haulover, Miami, 10/16/1941, while enroute to boatyard. Capt., his wife & mate all swam about a mile safely to shore. MH 10/16/1941.
81) Sonora – Freighter, built 1916 in Toledo, OH as a 4-masted steel hulled schooner with a single diesel, 2220 tons. Re-rigged with twin diesels and 3 masts in 1924. Last registered in Panama, she sailed from Freeport, TX bound for Boston with a cargo of sulphur, when she caught fire about 20 miles off Hobe Sound, June 22, 1945 and drifted north. John Burgess first discovered the fire in the aft area and shut the two engines down suffering burns in the process. Was said a faulty exhaust was the cause of the fire. The fire prevented anyone from getting to the radio room to send an SOS, but luckily a plane from Morrison Airfield spotted the burning ship. Crew of 31 (20 merchantmen and five armed guards), plus the ship’s dog, got in the lifeboats, and all were rescued by an Army crash boat and the Coast Guard. A wreck off Brevard County was recently identified as the Sonora by diver Michael Barnette and others.
82) Brill – A 10 ton Estonian sloop and former Swedish fishing vessel. The small sloop had sailed 5,000 miles from Sweden in 1946 with 12 Estonians seeking to immigrate to the US, and landed in Miami in Sept. of that year. She had traveled along with two other vessels with a total of 48 Estonian immigrants. At first they were to be deported, but President Truman allowed them to stay, and most if not all were now gainfully employed in the Miami area. The Brill had remained at the U.S. border patrol docks at 30th St., but was now partially submerged and deemed un-seaworthy. Some of her original crew were then granted permission to tow her out to sea to be sunk. The crew pumped her out and mentioned she had always leaked and had to be constantly bailed on their trans-Atlantic crossing. She was towed out to sea by the border patrol and supervised by the Coast Guard. When six miles offshore of Government Cut, some of her original crew including Capt. Tamm, was allowed to scuttle her. Tamm moved some of the ballast rock in the bottom hold, and with an axe, cut a hole in her hull allowing sea water to rush in. He was last to abandon her after taking the ships wheel with him. Source: MDN 3/14-15-16/1947;, MH, 3/15/1947.
83) Mary Read – The 105’ or 115’ wood hull freighter, of Nassau, from Miami for Port au Prince, collided with the 10,500 ton freighter Sue Lykes, either 10 or 30 miles SE of Miami, 4/22/1947, and sank within five minutes, but not before all eight on board were able to climb the anchor chain of the S. Lykes to safety without even getting wet. Source: Miami News, 4/23/1947; Sarasota Herald Tribune, 4/23/1947.
84) Louise J – The 60’ Honduran registered M/V, bound from Miami for Havana with a general cargo, foundered (some said blew up) off Key West, 11/9/1947. Only one survivor of five on board was picked up about 18 miles SW of Key West by a Liberty ship on 11/11/1947. There were several different accounts by the lone survivor, First Mate Denton C. Ebanks of Grand Cayman, reported in different newspapers, but after reading all the reports it appears the vessel sank Saturday night, 11/9/1947. In rough seas, the deck load broke loose including a tractor which “punched a hole in the deck, smashed the bulkhead and then plunged into the sea,” and the starboard side of the vessel went underwater. Capt. Randolph Bodden (also of Grand Cayman) said to abandon ship, and he went overboard (some reports said he was crushed by the shifting cargo). The lifeboat was supposedly also crushed and Ebanks and three crewmen (all from Cuba) made a raft from a hatch, a ladder and four life-vests. The vessel sank soon after and the remaining four clung to the raft with no food or water. When day broke Monday, 6 sharks began to follow, five smaller sharks and one 7 footer. By Tuesday morning the cook had died, and they placed his body in the ocean after a prayer, and the sharks then disappeared. Soon after, the raft began to break apart, and two crewmen swam to some floating logs which they lashed themselves to, but were never seen again. Ebanks clung to the remaining raft, & was later seen by the liberty ship and rescued unconscious. Another vessel heard cries for help in the area, but due to heavy seas never found the source. Source: The Bradenton Herald, 11/12/1947; Pensacola News Journal, 11/13/1947; MDN, 11/12-13-14/1947, Tampa Daily Times, 11/13/1947; Norfolk Reflector Herald, 11/13/1947.
85) Old River – Millionaire William Mellon’s luxury yacht. Built 1928 at Miami, 124.5’ x 26’ x 6.4’, 299 tons. It caught fire in the engine room causing an explosion off Lower Matecumbe Key, where it was anchored off the north toll gate of the Overseas Highway. All on board escaped without injury. More explosions occurred later and one 3 hours after the first was felt by a motorist ten miles away. 10; MH, 11/29/1947; PBP, 11/29/47.
86) B. F. Moody – The 60’ tug was towing a 180’ barge form Havana to Miami, when during high winds and seas, the tug foundered about 30 miles south of Key West, 10/21/1948. All on board got onto the barge and were later found drifting about 32 miles S-SE of Miami and rescued by the Coast Guard.
87) Logan – Tugboat, 62’ long, Capt. R.D. Leonard, had sprung a leak in the planking and began to sink as the pumps couldn’t keep up. She sank in shallow water off the Fowey Rock Lighthouse, 11/4/1949, with only a portion of the wheelhouse still visible. The captain and one other swam to the rocks and were rescued by the Coast Guard. Unknown if salvaged. Source: MDN, 11/5/1949.
88) Conchita – Motor vessel, “burst into flames as the result of a ‘backfire” off Alligator Reef within sight of land and sank, 2/28/1950. Three on board dove into the sea and were picked up by a passing boat. The three only suffered minor burns Source: MH, 3/1/1950.
89) Aurora – The 64’ Haitian cargo vessel had left Miami for Haiti along with her sister ship Victoria Stephens, with a cargo of an automobile, old tires, cement & fuel oil. When about 20 miles off Great Isaac Light, the Aurora collided with her sister ship whose anchor punctured a hole in her hull. She began taking on water and her pumps were manned. The Stephens got a tow line to her and began to tow her back to Miami. After 12 hours and fighting the Gulf Stream, they were about three miles off Hollywood, FL, 11/24/1950, when the Aurora began to sink and the tow line was cut. All on board took to their small boat and got to the Stephens and the Aurora sank below the waves. Reports say in 100’ of water. Source: MH, 11/25/1950.
90) Tacoa – A 138’ Honduran registered freighter of Havana, Capt. Serafin, had left Miami for Havana, with around 100 tons of cargo including TV sets, canned goods, clothing, etc. It encountered heavy seas on 10/25/1951, and as reported in The Miami Herald, when about 18 miles off Sombrero Light the captain stated: “Steel plates in the engine room cracked, letting in water faster than pumps could carry it away.” “Finally, as the vessel drew more water, a huge wave flooded the engine room and the ship sank at the stern about half an hour after the leak was first discovered.” All six on board managed to get on a balsa life raft and drifted for two days without food or water until a freighter heard their screams and barely avoided running them down as dawn approached about 17 miles off Alligator Reef. The freighter lowered its life boat and rescued all six. Source: MH, 10/28/1951.
91) Cohansey – Old 179’ derelict barge that was abandoned in the Miami River for years was deemed a hazard to navigation, towed about 12 miles off Miami by the Army Corps of Engineers, then burned and sunk, 4/2/1952. MDN, 4/2/1952; MH, 4/3/52.
92) Southern Districts – Converted LST, built 1944 at Leavenworth, KS, 3337 tons, 314.3’ X 50’ x 24.1’. Left Port Sulphur for Bucksport, ME, Dec.3, 1954, with sulphur. Reported missing a few days later when not heard from along with the loss of all 23 crewmen. Last seen 12/5/1954 at Lat. 24°N, long. 83°30’W, and not heard from since. A life ring with her name on it came ashore on a beach off Sand Key, FL, Jan.2, 1955. A search from the Carolinas to the Gulf was made, but no trace of her was found. A storm was reported in the vicinity where last seen. Her sister ship had broken in half during a similar storm and immediately sank off Cape Hatteras in 1951, with no chance to send an SOS, and only a few of her crew survived having managed to get in one lifeboat. Was believed the same fate may have happened to the Southern Districts. An inquiry did mention that her hull was recently patched instead of replacing the rusted plates.
93) Santa Gloria – Honduran wood hulled freighter, built 1944, 512 tons. From Esmeralda for Tampa, with bananas, reported as foundered 120 miles west of Key West. Report also stated that two shrimp boats sank 70 miles west of Key West during the same storm with heavy winds, 1/18/1956.
94) SS Perama – Liberian registered tanker of Monrovia, built 1936, 7,236 tons, 445’ in length, Capt. C. Sideratos. From New Orleans for Genoa, Italy, with crude soybean oil. On 3/18/1957, an explosion occurred at 1:30 am. The crew was able to put that fire out but another explosion occurred a couple of hours later in the pump room which caused a crack in the port side hull. All watertight doors were closed and the engine room and cargo area pumps were turned on but didn’t appear to help much, and then the power failed and all hope was lost. The captain radioed for help and two ships were soon by her side with the Coast Guard also on her way. One got a tow line to her hoping to get it to Tampa, but that line soon broke. Another line was secured and towed her till around 1:30 pm, but she “developed a severe list to port and started to sink, stern down. The tow-lines were broken and the ship sank.” It was believed the explosions were due to fumes that had accumulated in the pipes from her previous cargo of gasoline and oil. All 33 men on board were saved. She sank or was first reported as sinking around 175 miles SW of Tampa. Source: MH, 3/20/1957.
95) Lost Mohawk – The 40’ charter boat had just put out their lines to fish off North Miami Beach when the engine exploded, 6/2/1958. The four on board including two Coral Gables policemen, only had time to jump overboard as their dingy was stuck, but thankfully a passing boat picked them up. The burning boat was visible from land and sank soon after. Source: MH, 6/3/1958.
96) Jay Dee – A 40’ gas powered pleasure boat, blew up and sank in Biscayne Bay north of Pelican Bank, 9/15/1958. The one person on board was picked up by another boat. And released from the hospital the next day after treating 2nd degree burns. Cause of explosion was unknown and had an 80-gallon gasoline tank. Source: MH, 9/15/1958; Ft. Lauderdale News, 9/15/1958.
97) Chimaera – The 15-year-old 69’ yacht sank 10 miles east of Fowey Light, 4/8/1959. Had just been overhauled in Miami and was on its way to Nassau, when a leak in her hull began to sink her. A distress call was made and all on board were rescued by Coast Guard helicopters from their life-raft, arriving just as the yacht went down.
98) Bally-Hi – The 42’ cabin cruiser caught fire and sank about 200 yards offshore of the 6300 block of Collins Ave. Two on board rescued by lifeguards from the beach. MH, 9/5/1960.
99) G. B. Frate – The 56’ converted landing craft was bound from Palm Beach for the Bahamas, 12/4/1961, when the front landing ramp flew open allowing the sea to rush in. The crew managed to get it closed, but it still leaked and it looked like they were safe until the bilge pump failed and the engine room flooded. The five on board managed to get out a distress call, and all managed to get in their 10’ dinghy as the craft soon sank. Using a door from the wreck as a sail, they headed back west to Florida and were spotted by a Coast Guard helicopter 6 hours later about 15 miles off Florida and rescued. Source: MH, 12/4/1961.
100) Sea Lark – The 60’ yacht from New Orleans bound for Marathon, sank about 60 miles north of the Tortugas, 5/18/1966, when some hull planks were damaged in 10’ swell and she sank within 30 minutes. The three on board managed to lash two 55-gallon drums to a large plywood ice box which served them as a life raft for the next four and a half days until being rescued by a passing freighter. Source: TT, 5/24/1966.
101) Audas II – A 33’ trawler, exploded and sank five miles off Key Biscayne, 4/23/1967. Two on board were rescued.
102) Reef Corsair – The 45’ sport-yacht hit a submerged object east of Elbow Reef and began to sink. Capt. Brown manage to call the Coast Guard and the two on board were found “clinging to a piece of debris two miles from the Elbow Reef Lighthouse,” and rescued by a Coast Guard helicopter from the Opa-locka Air Station. The yacht sank in 200’ of water. Source: MH, 5/21/1967.
103) Silver Queen – The 45’ F/V Silver Queen sank about 8-12 miles southeast of the Fowey Rock Light, 6/16/1968, when heavy seas swept over the stern and the bilge pump failed. They had just bought the vessel to bring back to Haiti and had 16 drums of gasoline and oil on board. The three on board took to their rubber raft and were spotted off the Fontainebleau Hotel later by a Coast Guard plane on routine patrol and then rescued. The Haitian Consul General tried to imply it was really the vessel Silver King, with 14 men on board and was loaded with weapons as part of a coup conspiracy to oust then ruler “Papa Doc” Duvalier, but the Coast Guard ruled out that conspiracy as false. Source: Miami News, 6/18/1968; MH, 6/18/1968.
104) Skylark II – The 65’ wood hulled pleasure craft was seen off Lake Worth Pier, 6/22/1968 on fire. A Coast Guard patrol craft was soon on the scene but the vessel was totally engulfed in flames. The owner, a NASA pilot, had already gotten in his life raft and was rescued by a passing boat. The Coast guard finally put out the fire and attempted to tow the hulk in, but as the tow line pulled, the stern took on water and started to go down, the line was cut, and it sank about 1.5-2 miles offshore in 120’ of water. Source: PBP, 6/23/1968; MH, 6/23/1968.
105) Freight Consolidator – Panamanian registered freighter out of Miami, 213’ long, 960 tons, built 1945. From Miami to Tampa for repairs, Capt. Davilla Robinson. Lloyd’s says she struck a submerged object on May 18, 1970 and began to sink at Lat. 25 10’N, Long. 80 18’W. Newspaper report said “about 3 miles east of Elbow Light, some 25 miles from Miami.” Another report says a vibration caused her propeller to come loose and punch a hole in the hull. The crew took to the lifeboat and all were saved. Source: Sarasota Herald Tribune 5/19/1970; Lloyd’s Casualty Report 1970, Panama City News Herald, 5/19/1970.
106) Western Ace – Fishing vessel, 720 tons, 156.2’ x 33.7’ x 17.3’, wood hull, built 1964 at Whitestone, NY, of San Juan, PR, owned by Del Monte of PR. Lloyd’s says burned and sank, 12/4/1970, 150 miles SW of Panama City. Merchant Vessels of the US has her wrongly listed as burned in the Pacific.
107) Ariann – A 48’ charter fishing boat struck a submerged object about 3 miles off Miami Beach, 11/1/1971. It was slowly sinking & the captain headed to shore where it sank close just offshore. Some wreckage washed up onto the beach at 10201 Collins Ave., and all eight on board waded to shore. Source: MH (photo) 11/1/71
108) Tropic Ace – Bahamian freighter, of Nassau, 116 tons, 115’ long, built 1962, from Miami for Nicolls Town, Andros, with fertilizer & trailers, foundered around 25 miles off Ft. Lauderdale, 11/22/1972. All crew picked up by the tanker Texaco Mississippi.
109) R/V Fathom II – Ex-Navy minesweeper built in 1943, 135’ long. Was recently converted into a treasure hunting vessel searching for Spanish treasure wrecks off Nicaragua. Was on way to Jacksonville for her annual overhaul, and was following the pilot boat into the St. John’s just before dawn, when it was rammed by the 579’ Greek freighter Gavion, splitting the vessel in two, about 1 or 1.5 miles off the mouth of the St. John’s River, and immediately sank in 38’ of water, 10/16/1972. Capt. Batchelder of Ft. Lauderdale & the Honduran crew of 6, were all saved after jumping overboard just before the collision.
110) Ice Fog – Tug, 133 tons, built 1973, 71.5’ x 25’ x 11.5’. Was towing the 80’ barge McDermott, when she ran into a gale with 10’ seas off Florida. The tug began to sink and the tow line parted about 18 miles south of Molasses Reef, 2/10/1973. The tug soon sank and the crew were rescued by a passing vessel. The barge carried around five million gallons of molasses and it drifted north until it ran aground on Molasses Reef in John Pennekamp State Park about 150-200 yards from the Molasses Reef Light. A hole was soon punctured in her port stern, and about 2,300 tons of molasses was spilled. Reports said the current was taking the molasses away from the shore, and having dove the area many times in later years, it doesn’t appear to have caused any major damage. Molasses was a common cargo going back many years, and most believe is how Molasses Reef got its name, likely from one of the many ships wrecked there in the 1800’s, which carried a cargo of molasses. I believe the barge was later salvaged. Of all the places off Florida a barge full of molasses could wreck, what better place than Molasses Reef!
111) Golden Lion – The 85’ yacht had just left the Port of Miami with 29 cast members of the operetta “The Student Prince” which was playing at the Parker Playhouse, and who had chartered the yacht for the day, when it hit a submerged log and instantly began taking on water and began to list. All on board immediately ran to the opposite side of the vessel and a distress call was sent. Fortunately, the port’s pilot boat was nearby and immediately started taking off all 32 on board. The yacht sank soon after and broke up in the process not that far offshore. Laughingly, Capt. Krarup of the pilot boat said “I couldn’t let them drown because I have tickets to the show.” Later report said the captain of the yacht was not licensed to run a charter boat and the vessel was not properly certified. Source: Ft. Lauderdale News, 3/22/1976; MH, 3/22-25/1976.
112) Betty D – The 44’ catamaran from Key West for Ft. Lauderdale started taking on water in rough seas and began to sink about 21 miles SE of Key Largo, 10/2/1976. The crew of the 87’ Hookers Holiday saw their distress signal and managed to save all four on board. Two were in the water and two on the bow which was the only part of the vessel still above water. Well know Florida treasure hunter & author Marty Meylach was part owner of the H. Holiday which rescued them. MH, 10/3/1976.
113) Ukola – Panamanian freighter, 3784 tons, built 1955, from Macoris for Galveston, with sugar. Broke in two at #4 hold in heavy weather, 1/19/1977, at Lat. 25°12’N, Long. 85°25’W. The captain and 2 crewmen were the only survivors found of the 23 on board. An inquiry determined a faulty hatch in the cargo area and an untrained crew were to blame.
114) Linda – Panamanian freighter, 2341 tons, built 1955, from Port Everglades for Venez, with paper, sprung a leak and was beached to prevent her sinking one mile west of Molasses Reef, May. 1977. She was re-floated and towed into the Miami River, where she listed and then grounded. She was re-floated again, towed out to sea about 16 miles offshore, and scuttled, 12/21/1977.
115) Dana Sue – The 75’ tug was returning home from the Bahamas to Ft. Lauderdale when her hull “split a seam plate,” and was taking on water. A Coast Guard helicopter even transported a large pump to the tug but more water was coming in that going out. She ended up sinking about four miles off Baker’s Haulover Canal in 481’ of water, and all the crew were rescued by the Coast Guard, Capt. Hollingsworth being the last to abandon ship. Source: MH, 2/21/1978.
116) Sun Runner – The home-built 40’ houseboat Sun Runner, caught fire in Biscayne Bay and sank, Sept. 8, 1978, after the two on board failed to extinguish the flames. They jumped overboard and were rescued by a police boat. Source: MH, 9/9/1978.
117) Allison – A 58’ cabin cruiser. Caught fire and sank about 20 miles off Miami while towing a 22’boat from Bimini for Miami, 4/3/1979. Four people were feared lost and four made it onto the 22’ boat and drifted to within a couple miles of Lake Worth where they were rescued. Panama City News Herald, 4/4/79; MH 4/4/79.
118) Koral – Panamanian freighter, fifth name she sailed under, built 1963, 259.5’ x 39.4’ x 16.7’. From Dominican Republic for New Orleans, with sugar, struck some mooring dolphins and sank in the Gulf of Mexico about 200 miles west of the Dry Tortugas, 11/5/1979. Possible Florida wreck.
119) Roy Von – Bahamian cargo vessel, built 1927, 143 tons, 127’, from Miami for Andros, with a general cargo. Caught fire about 25 miles off Ft. Lauderdale, 3/23/1980. Drifted north and was about 20 miles off Ft. Pierce, 3/25/1980, when it was decided to scuttle her that day. The crew of 8 had jumped overboard and were all saved by the Coast Guard.
120) Artemis – American cargo vessel, built 1903, 300 tons, from Mobile for Norfolk. Foundered in the Gulf during heavy weather at lat. 26°40’N, Lat. 84°40’W, 5/9/1980. Eight crewmen saved. Info is from Lloyd’s, but I found nothing matching in U.S. vessel registrations.
121) Gerald G – A 56’ tug towing a barge to Puerto Rico, capsized and sank in rough seas about 20 miles SE of Miami (another says 22 miles off Key Biscayne), 5/4/1982. The 4 crewmen got off safely and climbed aboard the barge they were towing. Three were airlifted by the Coast Guard and taken to Miami. Capt. Dankin stayed on the barge. Source: MH, 5/5/1982
122) Gulf Deacon – Panamanian registered tug, 116 tons. Possibly the tug built 1966, 63.7’ long. Lloyd’s casualty returns only says foundered off Florida 5/6/1982. Originally confused this with the Gerald G tug.
123) Aleutian Bounty – Fishing boat (shrimper), built 1983, 150 tons, 97’ long. Sent an SOS 11/23/1984, about 150 miles SW of Ft. Myers (Lloyd’s says at 25°25’N, 80°30’W). A life-raft was found days later, and a wide search was made including the Keys and towards Cuba, but no survivors were found. Possible Florida wreck.
124) Contender – Fishing vessel, 101 tons, built 1974. Foundered at Lat. 27°N; Lat. 83°53’W, 11/20/1985.
125) Stormy Seas – Fishing vessel, 101 tons, built 1973, foundered in good weather at Lat. 29°12’N; Long. 84°54’W, 11/18/1988. The Stormy Seas III of the same tonnage also foundered in good weather in the Gulf the same year.
126) Endeavor – The 37’ sloop mysteriously exploded and sank in 10’ of water, 200 yards east of Caesar’s Creek off the NE end of Old Rhodes Key, in the early morning of 1/25/1989. Two men on board, one who was the owner, escaped through the front hatch and took their dinghy to a residence 4.5 miles away at the Ocean Reef Club and telephoned for help. Police and divers found two women’s bodies at the site, one who was trapped in the burned hull and the other nearby in the water. Source: MH, 1/26/1989.
127) Likco 1 – Fishing vessel, 108 tons, wood hull, built 1980 at St. Augustine, 71.9’ x 21’ x 9’, sprung a leak and capsized about 15 miles off Melbourne, FL, 12/7/1989, and subsequently scuttled.
128) Artibonite – Honduran or Haitian freighter, 289 tons, wood hull, built 1946 at San Francisco. From Miami for Haiti, when she foundered 12 miles SE of Fowey Rocks, 3/31/1990, after her bow split open. Crew got in life-raft and rescued.
129) Miki Tug – The 126’ Miki class wood-hulled tugboat (name not reported) had left Key West, 6/18/1993, when a leak caused her to eventually sink about 20 miles SE of Key West in 600’ of water. One of 61 Miki tugs built during WWII for the US Army Transportation Corps. Crew took to their life raft and were rescued by the Coast Guard. Source: MH, 6/21/1993.
130) Alene K – Fishing vessel, 127 tons, built 1976, 68’ x 22’. Lloyd’s says she caught fire and sank off Ft. Myers Beach, 8/17/1993.
131) Jeano Express – Steel hull freighter, of Belize City, 449 tons, built 1952, 187’ x 29.8’ x 12’, sailed under numerous names. From Jamaica for Miami, no cargo, foundered in heavy weather about 24 miles SE of Key Largo (Lloyd’s says at Lat. 24°42’N; Long. 80°42’W), 11/14/1994. Crew and a puppy on board all saved by the Coast Guard, which then sunk the partially submerged vessel.
132) Marjorie B. McAllister – Tug, 189 tons, built 1974, 115’ long, foundered during Hurricane Erin, 8/3/1995, while towing a barge, at lat. 30°54’N; Long. 80°08’W. Crew took to life-raft and later rescued.
133) Kathleen D – Honduran steel freighter, 843 tons, 234.5’ x 32’ x 12.5’, built 1965, Capt. Leonid Sokolov, foundered 150 miles west of Tampa, 1/7/1996, at approximate Lat. 27°40’N; Long. 85°51’W. From Mobile for Jamaica, with phosphate, encountered heavy seas when a large wave swamped the stern and she began to sink. Only one crewman of nine onboard survived. The Tampa Bay Times told his story. The main life-raft with all survival supplies broke loose and two crew drowned trying to get it. Only two small 8’ life rafts were left and one was deflated and under water. The lone survivor and another man managed to get in the one small raft sliding down the rope that attached it to the sinking ship. They uncoupled the line but were unable to get to the other survivors now in the water. The raft was soon overturned by one of the large waves and only the one was able to get back in it. He drifted for five days surviving on what he found floating in the ocean until miraculously spotted by the phosphate carrier Marine Duval, 150 miles off St. Pete.
134) Miss Gee Whiz – The 37’ sport fisherman struck the west end of Looe Key Reef, 6/26/1996, and her wood hull soon broke into pieces and sank. Her fuel tank was salvaged to prevent a spill. Source: MH, 6/27/1996.
135) Gonave Express – Freighter, of Belize, about 80’ long, 272 tons, built 1972, foundered about 55 miles SE of Miami after losing her engine shaft in a storm and taking on water, 12/16/1997. Was empty and bound for Miami. A Coast Guard helicopter rescued all ten crew in heavy winds and seas.
136) Wellcraft Scarab – A 29’ Wellcraft Scarab attempted to land in Florida at night with 23 people on board, when it capsized in 6’ seas off Elliot Key, 12/17/1998. Only nine on board survived, having been picked up by a passing Greek freighter while clinging to the overturned hull. Eight female bodies were recovered near the overturned scarab, and another body was found a few days later some miles off Ft. Pierce. The two smugglers on board both survived and were to be put on trial for murder. They were well known to authorities and had left Tavernier a few days prior to pick up the refugees in Cuba. The vessel was last seen off Elliot Key overturned and unknown if salvaged. Source: MH, 12/19-20/1998.
137) Miss Fernandina – Shrimp boat, 129 tons, built 1980, left Port Canaveral, 4/15/1999. Capt. Jones reported that same day that his propeller got tangled in a fishing net about 65 miles off Flagler Beach. Vessel was reported missing and Coast Guard searched for three days. A friend and son of the captain hired a private plane four days later and spotted two bodies and debris in the ocean but had to return for fuel. No bodies were ever recovered.
138) Miss Maryln Louise – The 74’ commercial shrimp boat began taking on water in the early morning about 9 miles off West Palm Beach, 3/11/2001, and sank later. A mayday call was made, the emergency beacon was turned on, and the four on board got in their life raft and sent up a flare. They were soon rescued by a passing freighter and transferred to a Coast Guard cutter. Source: MH, 3/12/2001.
139) Silhouette – A 160’ Honduran freighter from Miami for Haiti, was carrying rice, beans, cooking oil, etc. and became disabled due to engine failure, and drifted for about a day until it anchored off Hollywood. Was taking on water and crew were rescued by the Coast Guard. It then capsized. Reports say it was then towed offshore about five mile and sunk. One report says sunk in 300’ of water. Brownsville Herald, 6/17/03; MH, 6/17/03.
140) Imagination – The 63’ sailboat left Miami for the Bahamas, 5/31/2007, when the vessel sprung a leak and began to sink. A distress call was made, and all six including a baby were quickly rescued by the sport fisherman Joe Cool (the sad story of murder and piracy aboard this vessel happened only a few months later-see More Shipwrecks of Florida), and the Coast Guard. The boat soon sank about 10 miles off Government Cut. Source: MH, 6/1/2007.
OF FURTHER INTEREST -
A) Mary (fictional?) – A pamphlet called “A Narrative of the Shipwreck and Unparalleled Sufferings of Mrs. Sarah Allen.” Boston-Printed for Benjamin Marston, 1816, supposedly is a copy of a letter from Ms. Allen to her sister describing her survival from the wreck of the ship Mary on Florida’s Panhandle coast in May of 1816. It is quite the story, detailing extreme hardships and sufferings along with help from some Seminoles on her march with others to St. Marks, Fl. I doubt the story is true, as I’ve found no reports of any wreck matching this description in that area or of a ship Mary being wrecked there (the name Mary was also one of, if not the most, commonly used names for ocean going vessels at that time). Nevertheless, the story is intriguing & the following links are provided, one for some perspective with copy of the story, and the other of the actual original pamphlet. Links:
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