U.S.S. MASSACH– USETTS

Ave. Depth: ~ 20ft
Max Depth: ~ 30ft

 

The USS Massachusetts was a training vessel during WWI and was decommissioned in 1919. In 1921, she was towed to Pensacola, scuttled in shallow water and used as a target for coastal artillery batteries.

Today, the ship is an Underwater Archaeological Preserve managed by the state of Florida. The rusting hulk is considered the oldest battleship still in existence. It was dedicated as an underwater archaeological preserve on June 10, 1993, on the 100th anniversary of the ship’s launching.

Despite the battering of more than 100 artillery rounds, the hull remains remarkably intact. This beautiful dive is awash in emerald-green water, partially buried on a white sandy bottom. Situated in just 26 feet of water, the wreck is a popular diving spot. It is well lit by the sun, and swarming with marine life in a way the deep water wrecks never are. With the top of the wheelhouse still breaking the surface at low tide, and much of the superstructure as little as seven feet underwater, it is even possible to snorkel on the Massachusetts.

The metal superstructure is fully encrusted with sponges, anemones, corals, tunicates and algae. Tiny, glowing cocoa damselfish dart around, while blennies and soapfish nestle in the nooks and crannies. Sea cucumbers and urchins crawl over every surface, and butterfly fish, tang, Bermuda chub and other tropicals are abundant in specific times of the year. Schools of cigar minnows, menhaden, leatherjackets and other baitfish also frequent the area. In fact, their schools can be so thick it gets difficult to see much of the wreck at any one time. Vision is reduced to the area immediately around the diver simply by the abundance of life.

Despite her shallow depth, however, the Massachusetts can be an unpredictable and often difficult dive because of her close proximity to Pensacola Pass. This area is subject to strong currents and poor visibility. Planning dives closely around the tides is a must.

To find out which dive charter boats are going to visit this site, and others like it, visit Scuba Schedules and navigate to the the North West Florida scuba diving region.

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