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Escambia County is proud to be a part of the Florida Panhandle Shipwreck Trail, which consists of 12 unique shipwrecks along Florida’s Panhandle, situated offshore of Pensacola, Destin, Panama City and Port St. Joe.

Designed to stimulate tourism in a region of the state that was impacted by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the Shipwreck Trail is highlighted by an interactive web site with underwater videos of each shipwreck, the locations of local dive shops, and the current marine weather forecast.

To guide visitors along the trail, an official passport can be obtained from participating dive shops and dive charter operators. The passport contains pages for each of the shipwrecks along the trail with a log to fill in at each stop and validated with an official sticker.

The project is a product of the Underwater Archaeology Team of the Bureau of Archaeological Research, Division of Historical Resources, Florida Department of State in partnership with Panhandle waterfront communities.

The Shipwreck Trail is funded in part, through a grant agreement from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Florida Coastal Management Program, by a grant provided by the Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Many of the shipwrecks were sunk as artificial reefs and have become popular fishing and diving destinations. With varying depths of water, the shipwrecks are home to a large array of marine life.

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Diver on the Oriskany Looking at the Camera

Pensacola

  • USS Oriskany
    • This aircraft carrier is the largest artificial reef in the world and has become one of the most popular diving destinations in the world. After serving in the Pacific, the “Mighty O’” was sunk in 2006 and is host to a vast variety of sea life.
  • YDT-14
    • A veteran U.S. Navy dive tender sunk in 2000, the ship’s upper structure is at 60 feet of depth and her water line is 100 feet making an exciting place to visit.
  • San Pablo
    • A freighter that hauled fruit from Central America, this ship was sunk by a U-boat during World War II and later blown up in a secret military operation off Pensacola.
  • Pete Tide II
    • This offshore oilfield supply vessel became an artificial reef in 1993 and offers three decks of superstructure to explore that teems with schools of fish.
  • Three Coal Barges
    • These barges, sunk in 1974, are in shallow water and offer a great location for divers to practice their skills and learn about different kinds of marine life.

Destin

  • Miss Louise
    • This push tugboat, sank in 1997, lies upright in shallow water as a perfect destination for novice and intermediate divers.

Panama City

  • Black Bart
    • One of the most popular local dive destinations, this oilfield supply vessel , sunk in 1977, remains intact from the top down between 40 and 85 feet of water.
  • FAMI Tugs
    • Sunk as artificial reefs, these two tugboats once rested bow to bow, joined by a tether. However, a storm later put one boat on top of the other, making the site a unique diving experience.
  • USS Accokeek
    • This fleet tugboat served in both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans and became a training vessel for Navy salvage divers before she was sunk for the last time in 100 feet of water in 2000.
  • USS Strength
    • A World War II minesweeper, which survived a midget submarine attack and a kamikaze raid, offers divers a fascinating tour of a large artificial reef that includes a resident goliath grouper.
  • USS Chippewa
    • A veteran Navy tugboat, which once broke speed records and served as a diver training platform, now lies upright in 100 feet of water.

Port St. Joe

  • Vamar
    • Lying in only 25 feet of water, this ship was made famous as a support ship for Admiral Richard Byrd’s 1928 Antartic expedition, then as a tramp steamer sank under mysterious circumstances in 1942.
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