Section E - Chart, Coordinates Table and Log Entries
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Tug Wreck (ST)
The story of the accidental sinking Jan. 28, 1980 has been told and retold for 30 years... but little has been written about the ship since it was made into an artificial reef. The FWC website states that the Blackthorn was placed on the bottom as an artificial reef in Dec of 1982, but I knew that was wrong because I logged my first dive on the wreck in October of 1981 and friends had made the dive the day they sunk her that summer. A little research validated my belief... July 30, 1981, "Blackthorn' Sent Back To The Bottom", St Pete Times article by John Harwood.
I hit the Blackthorn & Sheridan many times last year and have personally dove it over 40 times, since the summer 1981, always keeping track of it's condition. The 1993 "No Name Storm" really changed the wreck.
A fire hose nozzel and a porthole from the USCG Cutter Blackthorn. (Photo below courtesy of the USCG)
WRECK TREK: With the information on my illustration, advanced divers can navigate from the Sheridan Tug to the Blackthorn hull and superstructure, and also to the Seafood Barge. Listed are all the exact ranges, bearings and GPS coordinates of each end of all three wrecks.
The Sheridan Tug is listing much harder to starboard now. The Seafood Barge has opened up, making it a better dive. Even more changes have occurred to the Blackthorn since my 2007 illustration above. An updated illustration is in the works.