The Aquanaut Wreck is a small artificial reef off Key West at the end of the Florida keys
The Aquanaut Wreck doesn’t have any marker or mooring buoys to help you find the dive site. It’s sitting on the ocean floor in seventy five feet of water. It’s located about one half mile south of Western Sambo Reef. The GPS Coordinates are 24'28.750N and 081'42.980W.
This ship was a 55" long wooden tug boat. It was owned by Chet Alexander who owned Chet Alexander Marine Salvage Company in Key West. This was one of his working tugs. Chet arrived one morning to the dock and found this tug boat sitting on the bottom of the ocean. He refloated her. He did a thorough inspection of the ship’s condition after the refloat and decided that she was just not salvageable. It would take too much time and money to bring her back into working condition.
Chet Alexander believed in artificial reefs. He’s responsible for sinking more ships as artificial reefs in the Florida Keys than anyone else. He knew that when a ship is sunk it provides a home to lots of marine plants and animals. It’s great for divers and fishermen. He’s the same guy that sunk the USS Amesbury which is called Alexanders Wreck on the Gulf side of Key West. He decided to strip the tug of anything valuable and empty all the fuel, oil and hydraulic fluids and clean her as best he could. He was going to put her on the bottom of the ocean.
In 1967 not too long after the first sinking of this tug, she was towed out to the edge of the Gulfstream and sunk. She landed on a flat sandy bottom. She was in the upright position. A diver could enter the wheel house and forward crew quarters. Going further than that was very dangerous as lots of wires and cables were hanging and could easily trap a diver. It didn’t take long for the marine life to find her and use her for shelter and home. Over the years this wreck has worn away. Hurricanes have scattered her remains. Part of the hull is buried in the sand. She still provides shelter for many fish. crabs, shrimp, lobster, schools of grunts, yellowtail snapper and stingrays are all a common sight at this shipwreck.
The Aquanaut Wreck provides a great backdrop for those underwater photographers that want to capture interesting shots of Florida Keys shipwrecks.
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