Gulf Coast Shipwrecks
A web guide for researchers, divers and armchair adventurers

By Dave Clancy

Sinking of the USS Hattaras (left) by CSS Alabama in 1863
Painting by Patrick O'Brien 


Welcome to Gulf Coast Shipwrecks. This site was created with the help of my friends and fellow divers, and contains information and pictures of wrecks in the northern Gulf of Mexico. The area includes the waters from the Florida Keys to the Mexican border. All the information reported here has been checked for accuracy to the best of our ability. But historical information on shipwrecks is often hard to verify, so be forewarned that some of it may be inaccurate. If you find major errors, please report them to our editor so we can correct them.

Shipwrecks have been occurring in the Gulf for hundreds of years. In the past, ships were frequently lost due to storms, unreliable ship construction, navigation errors, etc. In modern times, wrecks occur much less frequently due to improved ship reliability, better weather prediction, and technological developments such as radar and GPS. Two periods in history resulted in the sinking of unusually large numbers of ships in the Gulf. The first was the American Civil War (1861-1865) and the activities relating to the blockading of Southern ports. The second was the early days of World War II (1942 and 1943), when German U-boats sank many merchant ships in an attempt to disrupt the transportation of war supplies. Both of these periods resulted in the tragic loss of many human lives.

Thousands of old and worn-out ships have also been scuttled in the Gulf. Over time, these wrecks slowly disintegrate, but some parts often remain buried on the seafloor, and certain materials (pottery, glass, and certain metals) can last a very long time. In recent years, the U.S. government and the coastal states have promoted the development of artificial reefs as fish habitats. These reefs are made up of sunken ships, culverts, concrete rubble, etc. And the wrecks on these reefs often become popular dive sites. An article at describes the 2009 sinking of an old shrimp boat on a Mississippi artificial reef. It also provides some insight into Mississippi's reef program in general. 

Below is a map of the Gulf of Mexico. For many years divers have been exploring wrecks in the shallow waters near shore. Some of these wrecks are now protected by state and/or federal regulations, and are "off limits" to divers. But most are still legal to dive, and divers visit them by charter boats and private vessels. You probably came to this site to learn about specific wrecks and their histories. Our Wreck Lists page (link at left) provides access to several Wreck Lists. There is a list for each of the five Gulf Coast states, and one for offshore wrecks (mostly deepwater sites). These Wreck Lists provide links to data pages for the individual wrecks.


Gulf of Mexico 
(Click image for a larger view)

Navigating this Site

Our site contains a lot of information. To help you find your way around, we have provided the Site Navigator at the left side of the screen. The Navigator contains links to all of our main pages, and it appears on almost every page. With the help of the Site Navigator, you should be able to explore the site and find what your looking for by clicking just a few links. We hope you will enjoy our site, and if you do, please tell your friends about it. Thanks!

To go to other pages on this site, use the Site Navigator
 at left, or click here to go to our Home Page.

Questions or Comments?
Please e-mail our editor at

Be sure to check out our sister sites...

Hunting New England Shipwrecks 

Shipwrecks of Nova Scotia 


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This site was last updated on 
April 8, 2014

Copyright 2012 by Dave Clancy
All Rights Reserved