USS Curb is just one of the deeper artificial reef dive sites in the Florida Key
The USS Curb doesn’t have any buoys or markers to help you find the dive site. The depth of the water is 185'. It’s located approximately six miles south of Key West or six tenths of a mile south of the Cayman Salvage Master. The GPS Coordinates are 24'27.223 N and 081'46.233 W.
This 214' long artificial reef began its life as a naval salvage tug. In WWII her job was to tow and salvage other ships. She was decommissioned in 1946. In 1947 she was loaned to a private salvage company, Merritt-Chapman and Scott. She was also used to lay cable across the ocean floor.
This wreck sits upright on the sandy bottom of the ocean. It’s a difficult dive on a good day. It’s located near the Key West main shipping channel. This tends to bring sediment out from Key West Harbor on the outgoing tide. Lots of silt has settled all over the ship, both inside and on the outside on the deck and upper structure. The visibility is generally poor due to the silt. The current is almost always strong and few divers visit this wreck due to the depth of the water she’s in. Other hazards to divers are the large amounts of nets and monofilament that can snag onto your dive tank or BC.
This artificial reef
artificial reef attracts large amounts of marine life. As you dive down to the wreck it’s impossible to see it due to the huge school of silver sides balled up above it. They part like a curtain as you dive deeper. Large Jewfish, tarpon, cobia, hogfish, grouper, amberjack, snapper angelfish and tropical fish stay in and around the ship for protection and shelter.
You can penetrate the ship but you’ll need a reel and line to help you find your way out. You can explore the lower decks all the way to the rudders and shafts. On the bow of the ship you’ll see lots of winches from her cable laying days. On the stern deck are large towing bitts from her time spent towing ships during WWII.
This dive isn’t for everyone. It’s a full decompression dive. It’s for those qualified in advanced, nitrox, wreck penetration and those who have experienced challenging extended range diving.
The Florida Keys also offers the Wilkes Barre, USS Kendrick and S-16 submarine artificial reefs for those divers who enjoy deeper dives that test their diving skills.
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