The Benwood is a WWII shipwreck in the waters off the Florida Keys

The Benwood sank off Key Largo in 1942. She was a 285' English Cargo Ship built in 1910. The GPS coordinates for this artificial reef are 25'03.160N and 080'20.020W.

It’s not unusual in the Florida Keys to have two versions of the same story, and so is the case with the sinking of this ship.

One version goes that she was torpedoed by a German Submarine in the waters off the Florida Keys. After getting hit the captain turned her toward shore to try and save her by running her aground. While on her way she collided with another ship, the Tuttle. She was carrying live shells onboard and when the two ships collided they exploded. This sent them to the bottom.

Spadefish on artificial reef in the Florida Keys

The second version is thought to be more in line with what really happened. All the ships had been warned that there were German U-boats in the waters off the Florida Keys. To keep from being seen at night, the ships would travel without lights. Neither ship knew the other one was there. They were traveling on a collision course. The two ships collided, her bow rammed the port side of the Tuttle.

The story doesn’t end there. The ship was used as a target for dropping bombs. A section of the ship lies at the marker in 2' of water, the fractured bow is in 25' of water. There's another section of ship jutting up out of the sand in 50' of water. The rest of the ship is buried in the sand.

Many different species of fish, corals, both soft and hard and plant life call this wreck their home now. It’s an easy dive during the day or at night. Just be careful there’s usually a good current here.

This site lies between French Reef and Dixie Shoals. You’ll see four mooring buoys and a marker.

This ship is just one of the many wrecks that have become an artificial reef in the Florida Keys.



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