FLORIDA KEYS Shipwrecks USCG Cutter Bibb Wreck Pennekamp Park
Historical and current Florida Keys Shipwreck Information and images for scuba divers, fisherman and marine historians.




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The Divers Guide to Shipwrecks around the State of Florida and the Florida Keys. Includes over 240 illustrations comprised of 151 color photos, 83 black and white historical images, 8 dynamic u/w sketches.
                    How to SHIPWRECK DIVING Guide By Capt Dan Berg 


U.S.C.G. BIBB Key Largo

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Bibb, hull #WPG 31, was built in the Charleston Navy Yard, Charleston, South Carolina. Her keel was laid on August 15, 1935, she was launched on January 14, 1937 and commissioned on March 10, 1937, as the George M. Bibb after the Secretary of the Treasury under President Tyler. She was 327 feet long, had a 41 foot beam and displaced 2,658 tons. The Bibb was powered by two Westinghouse double decker reduction geared turbines and would cruise at ten knots. Her maximum speed was 19.5 knots. Her armament consisted of one 5-inch gun, one 3-inch gun, six 40-mm and four 20-mm guns. In 1937, the Navy shortened her name to just her sir name Bibb. She had a complement of ten officers, three warrants and 134 crew. 

On one of the Bibb's early cruises, she patrolled the North Atlantic's first weather station. She also served as convoy patrol during World War II and was involved in the Okinawa assault. During World War II, the Bibb rescued over 300 survivors from six torpedoed vessels. The Bibb was also deployed to Vietnam. As with most Coast Guard vessels, one of the Bibb's main roles during peace time was search and rescue missions. One of her most notable missions was the rescue of almost 70 survivors during gale force winds from the airliner Bermuda Sky Queen which crashed in October, 1948. On September 30, 1985, this fine cutter was decommissioned. 

The Bibb was purchased along with her sister ship the Duane for $160,000. The money was raised by the Monroe County Tourist Development Council as well as local dive shop donations. The Bibb was stripped of her armament, and hatches and her main mast were removed. The ships were cleaned and sunk at an Army Corps of Engineers approved location one day apart near Molasses Reef. The Bibb was sunk on November 28, 1987, and the two vessels now rest only 100 yards apart. 

The Bibb now sits on her starboard side with her bow facing north in 130 feet of water. Divers will reach the upper portions of the Bibb in only 90 feet of water. With the Clear Gulf Stream washing over the site, visibility can be as good as 200 feet, but a strong current is usually present. We recommend advanced training due to depth and current on both the Bibb and the Duane.
Remember penetration into any shipwreck should only be done by those with proper training, experience and wreck diving equipment. Scuba equipment like powerful dive lights, navigation reels, dive knives as well as redundant air supply like a pony bottle or doubles are standard gear for wreck divers.

Photo: The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Bibb was 327 feet long and had a 41 foot beam. Photo
courtesy U.S. Coast Guard.
The Bibb was sunk by the Army Corps of Engineers on November 28, 1987. Photo by Geo Toth.

Basic shipwreck information and images for this section of this site was taken with permission from the book Florida Shipwrecks by Daniel Berg. You are invited to submit your shipwreck related articles, images and information. As long as the text, photographs, sketches etc are of professional quality we will showcase them. Full credit will be provided and a same page link to your web site can be arranged.
Florida Shipwrecks ebook
The Divers Guide to Shipwrecks around the State of Florida and the Florida Keys,

Buy Now only $9.95
10.2 MB instant download, printable  PDF file

By Dan and Denise Berg, 180 pages. Shipwrecks are an important complement to the natural coral reefs as a sport diving attraction in Florida. From the barley discernable ballast piles of the 1733 fleet to the almost perfectly intact modern ships sunk specifically as artificial reefs throughout the state, shipwrecks inspire an aura of mystery and fascination. Florida Shipwrecks is the most comprehensive, accurate, illustrated collection of information, photographs, sketches and stories ever written about the shipwrecks around the state of Florida. This downloadable ebook contains a wealth of enlightening information that gives the readers a nostalgic glimpse into the history and present condition of over 235 shipwrecks. Florida Shipwrecks includes over 240 illustrations comprised of 151 color photos, 83 black and white historical images, 8 dynamic u/w sketches. Divers , snorkelers, marine historians, armchair sailors or anyone with a general interest in history diving or the sea will surely find this ebook fascinating, as well as indispensable.


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