FLORIDA KEYS Shipwrecks HMS Looe Wreck Big Pine Key
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.
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H.M.S. LOOE Big Pine Key

The 5th Rate 46 gun British Frigate H.M.S. Looe was built on the Thames by Lime house Ship Builders. She was launched on December 29, 1741, and was completed at Deftford. Her dimensions are as follows: length of gun deck 124'4", length of keel 101'4", beam 35'8", depth of hold 14'6" and 685 tons. 

The Looe was originally commissioned in January of 1742, under the command of Lord Northesk. Her command was later given to Captain Ashby Utting in 1743, while Great Britain and Spain were at war. Captain Ashby Utting was commanded by his majesty to sail to North America to guard the coast of Carolina, Georgia and Florida from an impending invasion from Spain. On February 4, 1744, the Looe captured a ship flying the French flag. Captain Utting determined that the ship was under the command of Spain when his men discovered documents during their search. He decided to tow her back to Charleston. At about 1:30 AM, on February 5, 1744, the crew of the Looe spotted a reef about 100 feet in front of them. Although great efforts were made to change course, they were unsuccessful, and the Looe smashed rudder first into the coral. Fortunately, the lives of the crew were spared. Some sources claim that the Looe was towing the disguised French Ship Snow at the time of her demise. 

The wreck of the Looe was discovered in 1950. Early treasure hunters recovered quite an assortment of artifacts from her, but to the best of our knowledge, no one has ever located the ship she was towing. When the wreck was first discovered, Mendel Peterson was called in to examine the artifacts that had been found. He determined that the wreck was an English warship and while checking his records for the area he found a notation about the Looe. According to THE TREASURE DIVER'S GUIDE by John Potter, "the name of the reef, like so many others, had been taken from the ship which it sent to the bottom." Today remnants of the Looe can be seen on the eastern edge of Looe reef. She sits in 25 feet of water.

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,

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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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