FLORIDA West Coast Shipwrecks USS Strength Wreck Panama City
Historical and current Florida West Coast 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.S. STRENGTH Panama City

The U.S. Navy Admirable class minesweeper Strength, hull number AM-309, was built in 1943 by Associated Shipbuilders in Seattle, Washington. She was commissioned on September 30, 1944, was 184 feet long, had a 33 foot beam and displaced 650 tons. On December 10, 1944, the Strength arrived in Pearl Harbor and was assigned to Mine Division 36. In February of 1945, the Strength participated in mine sweeping operations off Iwo Jima. She also cleared mines in preparation for the Kerama Retto assault. On March 26, a Japanese midget submarine fired four torpedoes at the Strength. She narrowly escaped as two passed astern and two underneath. The Strength opened fire, but the little sub got away. The Strength then assisted in mine sweeping the approaches to Okinawa for the impending invasion. On April 6, a Japanese Kamikaze suicide plane chose the Strength as its target. Fortunately, the Strength's gunners hit the plane and set it afire. The enemy plane landed in the water several hundred yards astern of the Strength. She was decommissioned on July 19, 1946, was reclassified MSF-309 on February 7, 1955, and was struck from the Navy list on April 1, 1967. The Strength received three battle stars for her service in World War II.

After being de-commissioned, the Strength was given to the Navy's Salvage Diver School. Here she was sunk as a salvage project, being re-floated and re-sunk many times. In 1987 she was sunk for the last time in an explosive test by the Navy Diving and Salvage Training Center at Panama City and began her new life as an artificial reef. Today the Strength sits on her starboard side in 72 feet of water. The Strength's wreckage rises to within 41 feet of the surface and is considered one of the areas most popular dive sites.

Photo: The U.S. Navy Admirable class minesweeper Strength was sunk during an explosive test in 1987. Photos courtesy Chief Gary Ashton, Navy Experimental Dive Unit.

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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