FLORIDA KEYS Shipwrecks HMS Winchester 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.
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H.M.S. WINCHESTER Pennekamp Park

The 944 ton, 4th Rate 60 gun British man-of-war Winchester was built in 1693 at Bursledon by William Wyatt. Her length of keel was 121 feet, and she had a 38 foot beam. The Winchester was originally commissioned in 1693 under the command of Captain Edward Bibb. While en route from Jamaica to England, a plaque on board quickly spread throughout her crew, rendering them useless. Her Captain, who was sick, was put ashore in Jamaica. The Winchester's command was turned over to Captain John Soule. After leaving Port Royal, the crew continued to drop like flies from the scurvy. One report lists only eight able bodied seamen still standing when she was sailed onto a reef on September 24, 1695. A few of her crew including Captain Soule were transferred to another vessel. Captain Soule died later, and unfortunately almost all 400 of her crew were lost. 

This wreck was discovered in December of 1938 by some local fishermen who sighted some cannon on the bottom. They reported their find to Charles Brookfield, a local historian, who hired divers and brought up silver coins, musket balls, cannonballs, anchors, a prayer book and the cannons. Through the markings on her cannons, which were copied and sent to England, it was confirmed that this was the H.M.S. Winchester. The Winchester was again salvaged in the 1950's by treasure hunters, who recovered a vast amount of artifacts including pewter ware and a gold watch. 

One interesting story comes from the book FAMOUS SHIPWRECKS OF THE FLORIDA KEYS by Bob Weller. Bob reports that one of the Winchester's cannons was recovered by Art McKee. This cannon was shipped to England, melted down and used in the construction of the new H.M.S. Winchester. Martin Meylach writes in his book, DIVING TO A FLASH OF GOLD, that "Many valuables must still remain, hidden in coral and camouflaged by nature". She now rests southeast of Carysfort Light within the boundaries of Pennekamp Park in only 28 feet of water.

Photo: Dick Harrison recovered this hollow grenade, with wooden fuse, from the H.M.S. Winchester wreck. Photo courtesy Dick Harrison.

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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