"The 325-foot single screw steamer Copenhagen was built in 1898 just two years before she ran aground on the rock ledge out from Pompano. She was caring a cargo of coal to Havana at the time of mishap. This is one of Florida's favorite historical shipwreck dives. On May 20 1900, the vessel had departed Philadelphia, laden with almost 5,000 tons of coal and a crew of 26, bound for Havana, Cuba. As the vessel passed the lighthouse, Captain William Jones estimated the ship's position as about one and three- quarter miles offshore and ordered a change in course to SSE to keep the ship at least a mile and a half offshore as it past by West Palm Beach. At around 4:20 am, Captain Jones retired, leaving the chief officer in charge. He left instructions the keep the vessel one and half mile offshore. There was no indication of what was about to happen to the steamship. The steamer SS Copenhagen was built in Sunderland, England, and launched in February 1898. The steel hulled ship was 324 feet long, 47 feet wide and more than 25 feet deep. Like many of the ship built in the late 1800s, the vessel was built with an inner and outer hull. At around 9:00 am on May 26, the vessel suddenly crashed hard into the Pompano Drop-off, an eastern facing ledge that rises to 15 feet of the surface from a sandy bottom in 31 feet. The ship's engines were immediately ordered stopped.
Captain Jones ordered full reverse. The engines kicked into reverse but the ship didn't move. In the attempt to free the vessel, a large anchor was deployed to no avail. Two days later, a salvage ship showed up to help unload the cargo and to try to pull the Copenhagen from its predicament. Extra people from shore were employed to speed up the recovery of the coal. The loss of the ship was valued at $250,000 and the remaining cargo was valued at $12,500. Jones was found to be at fault for the incident. Examiners found that he did not employ proper navigation; and that he did not used his sounding lead. A sounding lead is a device that ships used to determine the depth of the water. Because of his willingness to cooperate during the investigation and his excellent work record, his master certificate wasn't revoked. The wreck of the Copenhagen was visible above the water for more than 40 years. The site was used for target practice by navy fighters stationed nearby. In June 1994, the site was named as Florida's fifth underwater archaeological preserve. A plaque commemorating this distinction is next to a large limestone boulder just to the south of the wreck. Even though the site is ideal for the novice diver, many experienced divers have had a wonderful time exploring the Copenhagen. "
SS Copenhagen Plaque by Didi Nuvel