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Florida Shipwrecks

Canaveral's and East Central Florida Sunken Vessels

Monday July 16, 2018

How are ships lost at sea? What tragedy and callady caused their demise? These questions are often asked and wrote about in books, archives and lore. Speculation on how junk came to land on the ocean floor can be determined by researchers on the INTERNET and authors of published and unpublished works. For the most part, Florida's maritime history dates back to 1492 when Columbus sailed the Ocean Blue, but most researchers agree that the early 1500's started it all.

Spanish Galleons were among the first ships to be lost off Florida's shorelines as they headed along the coast, hurricanes, pirates and enemies where the most prominent danger to the sailing vessels. Shoals, reefs and treacherous inlets combined with bad weather made for difficult times for sailing ships and until the advent of steam ships, the sailing ships were at the mercy of the wind and waves.

Ships Sank During WWII

During the early 1940's the Nazi'sGerman U-Boats wreaked havoc off Florida's coast sinking dozens of merchant ships traveling up and down the coastline. Testimonies of Florida residents watching ships burning and exploding off on the horizon was common place during 1942 and 1943. Some of the most successful U-Boat commanders patrolled the Canaveral waters and several reflects of iron hulled ships remain on the bottom from uncertain times in American history. World War had come very close to the American shores and there are even accounts of landings by German spies on Floridian soil.

In the first eight months of 1942, German submarines sank nearly 400 Allied freighters and tankers along the U.S. Atlantic coast with a loss of more than 5,000 merchant seamen and sailors twice the number of fatalities at Pearl Harbor.

Public and Artificial Reefs

During the 1960's there was public interest in fishing and the population of Brevard County was exploding from the Space Race and the moon shot Apollo missions. Observation towers and structures were built off the Cape to monitor missiles and watch their progress as the success and failure of the American space program was in full swing. Construction of launch pads, towers and missiles often were proceeded quickly by their destruction and the convenient place to discard rubbage was often in the ocean. To this day there are debris fields of construction pieces that are charted and uncharted off Cape Canaveral that leave footprints of evidence and habitats for marine life.

The Brevard Reef and several other projects off Canaveral have a combination of sunken vessels and construction debris scattered in defined areas for public use. Other "Secret" locations are well kept when good intentioned and not so well intentioned citizens dumped for one reason or another.

I'm slowly, but surely looking for information both historical and recent on Canaveral's shipwrecks. If anyone cares to contribute some research, please fill out the form on this page or call (321) 868-4953.

Ship Wrecks near Port Canaveral, Florida

Published by: Captain of Lagooner Fishing Guides©

Author Captain Richard Bradley

Captain Richard Bradley is the author and contributor for many of the articles written on the Lagooner website. Richard is a professional fishing guide, taking anglers in his native waters near the Banana and Mosquito Lagoons on Florida's central east coast almost three hundred trips seasonally. When not charter fishing, Captain Richard enjoys time with his family surfing, fishing, camping and various other outdoor activities.

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