WILD WEST COAST
Click on the graphic below to
link to the full size
"Suncoast Wreck Tour" - Sheridan Tug to USCGC Blackthorn
St. Petersburg Times article
May 7, 2010
(Which includes exact GPS coordinates,
ranges & bearings)
Wreck Trek - Sheridan Tug to USCGC Blackthorn & Seafood Barge
I first crossed underwater from the Sheridan Tug to the
USCGC Blackthorn in the late 80's after observing a boat
on the cutter and siting the bearing. The Seafood Barge
to the Blackthorn crossing occurred on my first dive to
the sites in 1981, due to heavy boat traffic on the
The illustration below is the
most accurate depiction of these wrecks. When the St
Pete Times artist created the beautiful graphic above he
mistakenly drew the superstructure still attached to the
hull, and also 150' to the SSW of the bow. There were a
few typos on the GPS coordinates as well, so I have
many inaccurate statements, the Blackthorn Wreck is not
upside-down or silty. The entire Pinellas II site is
very hard bottom. If the visibility is good on one
wreck, it will be the same on all of them. If it's poor
vis..., well it's just not a good day in the Gulf of
Mexico. Obviously there are many writers who have never
or rarely visited the wrecks.
F11 for full screen, or back to tool bars. Click Ctrl
and + to enlarge the page, or Ctrl and - to reduce it.)
Illustration by Chad Carney
Click here for more information,
photos & GPS coordinates of the Blackthorn & Sheridan
The site is approximately
21 nautical miles northwest of John's Pass, Madeira Beach, FL.
The wrecks are close enough to swim from one to another,
if you are
experienced in U/W navigation,
and can stretch a tank sufficiently in 80 feet of water. Navigating from the
Sheridan to the
Blackthorn is easiest because of it's
south to north alignment. The west to east alignment of the Sheridan &
Seafood Barge make navigating more difficult. The swim is 3 to 5 minutes
from the Sheridan bow to the Blackthorn. You will see large sections of the
Blackthorn in the
eastern debris field before the hull. From the Cutter Blackthorn's rudder
swim 1.5 to 2 minutes to the Seafood Barge. The superstructure of the
Blackthorn is just under a 1 minute swim away from it's own bow.
Warnings: The Pinellas 2 Wreck Trek
is a very advanced dive!
Separately the wrecks are intermediate dives,
if you do not penetrate them.
The wrecks are old,
rusting & collapsing, with fishing lines & tackle. Boat
traffic can be dangerous while diving the wreck trek. Stay as
shallow as visibility allows while crossing.
Know your breathing rate and use the appropriate capacity of gas. Visibility
and current may add much difficulty to the dive.
Drift dive technique works well, and it is recommended to carry a deployable signal marker
buoy (SMB) and reel.
Captains should be experienced. Observe all dive flag laws and respect other
boaters and divers.
partial pages - some charts & future site information)
FLORIDA SKIN DIVER
Captain & Instructor Chad
Carney Over 35 Years Teaching Diving &
Pompano Beach, FL Text or Call