Alexanders wreck is the Florida Keys cheapest artificial reef

Alexanders wreck doesn’t have any markers or mooring buoys at the dive site. The depth of the water is 35'. This is not a Sanctuary Preservation Area so it’s OK to take fish and lobster as long as you have your Florida Saltwater Fishing License and a lobster stamp for the lobster catch. It’s located five miles due west of the #4 buoy near the Gulf entrance to the Northwest Channel. That’s about seven miles northwest of Key West. The wreck is broken into two pieces. The GPS Coordinates are 24'37.5061N and 81'58.923W for the North section and 24'37.366N and 081'58.917W for the South section.

The USS Amesbury was a 300' destroyer escort and saw lots of war time. She was named for Lt. Stanton Amesbury. She was purchased from the US Navy at a steal, only 2000 dollars. Chet Alexander Marine Salvage Company had her in tow, taking her to deep water where she was to become an artificial reef when she ran aground. Before efforts could be made to refloat her, a violent storm blew through. It caused the ship to break in half and sink on December 31, 1972 on the Gulf side of the Florida Keys.

This shipwreck lies on her side. The stern is 450' north of the bow. A section of the stern is at the surface of the water at low tide. Many boats have run over this section and ripped the metal with their props and rudders. Beware, this area has sharp and jagged pieces sticking out.

The north section of the wreck is the bow. Behind the broken end of the bow is the 5" gun mount that’s behind a semi circle shield. Behind that is the twin 40 millimeter Bofors-style antiaircraft gun mount on an elevated pedestal. A debris field is on the east side of the hull. It has pieces of the collapsed upper hull, bridge and superstructure. The south section has the stern. It contains another Bofors gun mount, more debris and Welin davits. The davits were used to transport and launch four landing craft vehicle personnel boats.

Alexanders wreck is totally encrusted with coral, marine life and Leavy oysters. Naval artifacts can still be found at this wreck. Under the starboard side of the bow section large fish like sheepshead, Jewfish, grouper, angelfish, mackerel, porkfish and schools of spade like to hang out.

This wreck gets most visitors when the Atlantic is too rough to venture out. The visibility is usually poor, not more than 20'. This is a favorite dive site for local Florida Keys spear fishermen.


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