Cayman Salvager

Keys, Florida

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Dive Cayman Salvager


The Cayman Salvager now lies one mile southwest of the Nine-Foot Stake. This 187-foot steel-hulled buoy tender was built in 1937 for Coast Guard usage and was later used as a cable layer and for freighting. The US Government seized this vessel because she was carrying Cuban refugees during the 1979 Mariel boatlift. After being seized, she was sitting at the dock awaiting her fate when she sank unexpectedly. In 1985, she was raised and prepared to be sunk again as an artificial reef in 300 feet of water. But while being towed out for re-sinking, she prematurely sunk in just 90 feet of water where she currently resides. She settled on her side but was kindly righted a few months later in 1985 by Hurricane Kate.

In preparation for her scheduled sinking, the Cayman Salvage had been cleaned and stripped to create a smoother structure to foster pelagic life. Because of the removal of restricting parts, penetration is possible but is considered dangerous. It is recommended that divers who desire to pursue such a mission do so during a return dive and not on the first exploration.

Bar jacks and schools of silversides frequent this site. Divers have reported that a 200-pound jewfish and a six-foot green moray eel call this vessel home. Note that dangerous aspects of this location are strong currents and the depth. A careful diver will find this artificial reef a great chance for exploration and a unique dive.

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