Wreck Dives: The Cayman Salvager

Cayman Salvager Key West

The Cayman Salvager is considered one of the most dramatic shipwrecks in the Florida Keys.

The wreck of the 187-foot steel-hulled buoy tender is located one mile southwest of the Nine Foot Stake.

The Cayman Salvager Wiki

She was constructed in Wilmington, DE in 1937 to be a cable layer, but she was converted into a minelayer for the U.S. Army.

Cayman Salvager Key West

Cayman Salvager Key West

She served a number of other roles before sinking; in her various lifetimes, she was a Coast Guard Buoy Tender, a Navy VIP ship, a freighter, a drug runner, and a research ship.

During the Muriel Boat Lift of 1980, she ferried 5000 Cubans to Key West. When she was seized in the Key West Harbor, she sank at the dock.

Five years later the vessel was refloated; while she was being towed to see, the line snapped. The Cayman Salvager sank into the depths, landing on her port side.

Originally she lay at the east end of the Ships Channel, but when Hurricane Kate rolled through, she was propped upright and moved to her current position.

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