Wreck Dives: Benwood Wreck

Benwood Wreck Key Largo

One of the most popular shallow wreck dive sites in the Florida Keys, the Benwood Wreck off Key Largo is known by scuba divers for it’s upright bow facing seaward and it’s abundant marine life.

The Benwood is accessible to all levels of scuba divers due to it’s shallow location, sitting in between 25 and 50 feet of water just on the reef line off Key Largo.

Benwood Wreck Key Largo Wiki

On April 10, 1942, the crew of the salvage tug Willet examined the wreck and determined that the keel of the Benwood was broken, and she was a total loss.

However, her superstructure and cargo of phosphate rock appear to have been salvaged. Her stern section, once considered a hazard to navigation, seems to have been mostly obliterated by explosions of an unknown type.

Benwood Wreck Key Largo

Benwood Wreck Key Largo

This salvaging on the ship over the years prompted John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park to form a protection program in 1959 to prevent further damage to the historical wreckage.

Today, the Benwood is a protected resource under the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, which was formed in 1975.

Since then, the Benwood site has played host to countless recreational dives, as it is an extremely popular night dive site. Since her sinking, the Benwood has become an artificial reef, providing the only high-profile reef in the immediate vicinity.

She lies in 55 feet of sea water with hull plates found in the sand around the perimeter. Read more …

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