Dive Shipwrecks Along Maritime Heritage Trail

A 19th Century sailing vessel near Fowley Rocks in the Biscayne National Park. All photos courtesy of National Park Service
A 19th Century sailing vessel near Fowley Rocks in the Biscayne National Park. All photos courtesy of National Park Service

If You Go
Bring plenty of sunscreen and mosquito repellent, or even better, long sleeves and/or other clothing items for protection from the sun and biting insects. If you take the tour in the summer months, no-see-’ems and mosquitoes can get pretty bad in the parking lot and surrounding picnic areas. The briefings about the park given by the rangers are excellent – full of interesting facts about the bio-diversity. Kids are welcome and the snorkeling is well supervised.

Wrecks on the trail include:

Arratoon Apcar – Sank 1878
In the 1870s, Cape Florida Lighthouse was considered inadequate because of its distance from the reef line. When Arratoon Apcar ran aground, it did so just a few hundred yards from where workers were busy building the Fowey Rocks Lighthouse.

Erl King – Sank 1891
Erl King reflects the early period of transition from wooden sailing vessels to steel steamships.

Alicia – Sank 1905
Alicia was laden with silks and silverware when it ran aground on Long Reef. The ensuing, often violent battles among the 70 different groups of wreckers led to a permanent rewriting of U.S. salvage laws.

Lugano – Sank 1913
At the time of its grounding, Lugano had been the largest vessel ever to wreck in the Florida Keys.

Mandalay – Sank 1966
The steel-hulled schooner Mandalay was known as the “Red Carpet Ship of the Windjammer Fleet” and was outfitted with a teak and mahogany deck.