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New Jersey Scuba Diving

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New Jersey Scuba Diving

I'm looking for recent dive/fishing reports of the Radford. If you've been there in the last year or two, I'd like to hear what you found. In particular, where is the stern now? I can find no reports since 2012.

Coast Guard Artificial Reefs

Coast Guard Artificial ReefsThe United States Coast Guard has donated a number of vessels as artificial reefs over the years. They seem to be sensitive about having their vessels shown in a "bad" way, and typically paint-out all the markings before turning them over.


Boston Lightship WLV-189

Atlantic City Reef

Boston Lightship WLV-189 reef

Type:
shipwreck, lightship, USA
Name:
Named for the harbor that it served as marker for during its long active career.
Built:
1946, Bay City MI USA
Specs:
( 128 x 30 ft ) 630 tons
Sponsor:
Atlantic County, Trump Casino, Atlantic City Seafood Festival, Artificial Reef Association, Atlantic County Party & Charter Boat Association
Sunk:
Friday January 28, 1994 - Atlantic City Reef
GPS:
39°15.444' -74°14.004'
Depth:
85 ft

Although known as the Boston Lightship, this particular vessel spent most of her career off North Carolina, New Orleans, and Cape May, where she marked a shoal in the approaches to Delaware Bay known as the Five Fathom Bank. After decommissioning in Massachusetts in 1975, the lightship was under tow back to Atlantic City for conversion to a floating museum when she was struck by a tanker, tearing a large hole in her port side ( see photos below. ) the museum conversion never materialized, probably because of the collision damage, and the ship languished until taken over by the Artificial Reef Program. She was dismasted and sunk intact with a wealth of historical artifacts ( portholes ! ) many of which are very difficult to get at, since the wreck lies on its side.

Boston Lightship WLV-189 reef
Launching

Boston Lightship WLV-189 reef
On station off North Carolina

Boston Lightship WLV-189 reef
Collision damage

Boston Lightship WLV-189 reef

Boston Lightship WLV-189 reef

STATION ASSIGNMENTS: WLV 189

1947-1966: Diamond Shoal (NC)
1966-1971: New Orleans (LA)
1971-1972: Five Fathom Bank (NJ)
1972-1975: Boston (MA)

The last Five Fathom Bank Lightship was LV189 ( later called WLV189 ) which was built in 1947. She served at Five Fathom Bank from 1971-1972, when the station was discontinued. She was sent to the Boston station where she served until being decommissioned in 1974. She was being towed from the Boston station to Gardiner's Basin in Atlantic City when she was rammed by a tanker. A large hole was ripped in her port side, which was never repaired. LV189 remained docked at Gardiner's Basin for seventeen years, practically ignored, until she was donated to New Jersey's Artificial Reef Program. On February 29, 1994 she was sent to the bottom to provide habitat for fish and other lifeforms. She had previously also served stints on the Diamond Shoals, and New Orleans stations.

A large navigational buoy replaced the departing Five Fathom Bank Lightship #189 which marked a main shipping channel to Delaware Bay, 20 miles off Cape May, New Jersey.

-- from Coast Guard historical records

see also: Lightship Relief


Cape Straight WPB-95308

Cape May Reef

Cape Straight WPB-95308 reef
A "Cape"-class cutter at speed

Type:
shipwreck, cutter, US Coast Guard
Built:
1953 Curtiss Bay MD USA
Specs:
( 95 x 20 ft )
Sponsor:
USCG, New Jersey State Police
Sunk:
Thursday September 9, 1993 - Cape May Reef
GPS:
38°51.060' -74°42.125'
Depth:
65 ft

Cape Straight WPB-95308 reef

CAPE STRAIT, WPB 95308 ( Type A )

Cape Straight WPB-95308 reefThe 95-foot or Cape class was an outgrowth of a need for shallow-draft anti-submarine-warfare (ASW) craft brought on by the increasing tensions during the years immediately following World War II.

During the period of construction, three distinctive sub-classes evolved as the Coast Guard's mission emphasis shifted from ASW to search and rescue (SAR), the A Type 95-footer was outfitted primarily for ASW. The B Type differed by mounting a 40 mm vice 20 mm gun and being fitted with scramble nets, a towing bit, and a large searchlight - all important SAR tools. The C Type units were constructed without the heavy armament and for economy some of the SAR equipment was also deleted. However, the Coast Guard added these SAR items to both the As and Cs during various refits. A renovation program began in the mid-1970s but was ended, due to increasing expenses and a shortage of funds, after 16 boats had been overhauled.

The 95-footers were designed by the Coast Guard, and their hulls and superstructure were made of steel. These cutters remained unnamed until January of 1964.

From 1953 to 1983, the Cape Strait was stationed at Fort Tilden, NY, and was used for law enforcement and SAR. In 1963, she was temporarily deployed to Florida as a follow-up measure to the Cuban missile crisis. In November 1964, she assisted in the rescue of survivors from the Norwegian M/V Stolt Dagali. On 2 May 1967, she escorted the disabled F/V Marjorie Dorothy to Brooklyn, NY. On 11 August 1970, she towed the disabled F/V Great Eastern 20 miles east of Seaside Park, NY, to Fire Island.

In March 1980, she shadowed the suspected drug runner Jose Gregorio and passed on surveillance to the cutter Vigorous 50 miles south of Montauk Point. In early summer 1980, she was deployed to Florida waters during the Cuban exodus. On 17 August 1980, she assisted in fighting fire on board F/V Tiny Tim off Rockaway, NY.

Builder: Coast Guard Yard, Curtis Bay, MD
Commissioned: 10 September 1953
Decommissioned: 21 January 1983
Disposition: Training hulk, Cape May, NJ; eventually sunk as an artificial reef off New Jersey.
Length: 95' oa; 90' wl
Navigation Draft: 6'4"
Beam: 20' max.
Displacement (tons): 102 fl (A)
Main Engines: 4 Cummins VT-600 diesels; 2 Detroit 16V149 diesels (renovated)
BHP: 2,200; 2,470 (renovated)
Performance, Max. Speed: 20 kts.; 24 kts. (renovated)
Performance, Cruising: 12 kts., 1,418-mi radius (1961)
Fuel Capacity: 3,114 gallons
Complement: 15 (1961)
Electronics:
Radar: SPS-64 (1987)
Sonar: retractable type
Armament: 2 mousetraps, 2 depth charge racks, 2 20mm (twin), 2 .50-cal. machine guns (as completed). 2 12.7mm mg, 2 40mm Mk 64 grenade launchers (1987)

-- from Coast Guard historical records

Cape Straight WPB-95308 reef

The upper works of the Cape Straight were completely destroyed during sinking. A 46 ft buoy tender, the "Johnny Buoy", was tethered to the larger vessel and sunk at the same time.


Cape Straight WPB-95308 reef side-scan
Side-scan sonar image


Heritage Hull

Cape May Reef

Heritage Hull reef

Type:
shipwreck, cutter, US Coast Guard
Specs:
( 120 x 22 ft )
Sponsor:
The Natoli family
Dedication:
Dr Tom
Sunk:
Thursday September 20, 2001 - Cape May Reef
GPS:
38°51.810' -74°40.590'

This was a prototype hull that was rejected by the Coast Guard.


Point Swift WPB-82312

Cape May Reef

Point Swift WPB-82312 reef
A "Point"-class cutter under way

Type:
shipwreck, cutter, US Coast Guard
Specs:
( 83 x 17 ft )
Sponsor:
Cape May County Party & Charter Boat Association
Sunk:
Thursday March 30, 2000 - Cape May Reef
GPS:
38°51.620' -74°40.600'

Point Swift WPB-82312 reef

Point Swift WPB-82312 reef

Point Swift WPB-82312 reef

POINT SWIFT, WPB 82312

Point Swift WPB-82312 reefThe 82-foot patrol boats have mild steel hulls and aluminum superstructures. Longitudinally framed construction was used to save weight.

These boats were completed with a variety of power plants. 82301 through 82313, 82315 through 82317, and 82319 through 82331 were powered by two Cummins 600-hp diesels. Boats 82318 and 82332 through 82379 received two Cummins 800-hp diesels. The 82314 was fitted with two 1,000-hp gas turbines and controllable-pitch propellers. The purpose of this installation was to permit the service to evaluate the propulsion equipment. All units were eventually fitted with the 800-hp diesels. Units remaining in 1990 were re-equipped with Caterpillar diesels.

WPB 82301 through 82344 were commissioned without names; at that time the Coast Guard did not name patrol craft shorter than 100 feet. In January 1964 they were assigned names.

The Point Swift was stationed at St. Petersburg, FL, from 22 March 1961 to 1968. She was used for law enforcement and search and rescue operations. On 22 June 1965, she provided firefighting material to the burning Irish M/V Irish Poplar in Tampa Bay. On 11 September 1965, she assisted in the tow of the disabled F/V Carousel west of Tampa, FL. On 19 November 1967, she escorted the distressed F/V Mistress to Clearwater Pass. On 7 January 1968, she escorted the distressed Liberian M/V Pochteca to Tampa Bay. On 21 September 1968, she rescued three from the pleasure craft Blue Star 30 miles south of Anclote Key, FL. On 12 November 1968, she rescued tow and salvaged equipment from M/V Mystery II 40 miles west of St. Petersburg, FL.

She was stationed at Clearwater Beach, FL, from 1969 to 1991. On 4 February 1970, she stood by anchored barges that had been released by a tug due to steering problems. On 31 May 1987, she towed the disabled cutter Point Steel 80 miles west of St. Petersburg to that port.

Builder: Coast Guard Yard, Curtis Bay, MD
Commissioned: 22 March 1961
Decommissioned: 30 March 1995
Disposition: Stored at Coast Guard Yard, Curtis Bay, MD (as of 28 June 1997)
Length: 82'10" oa, 78' bp
Navigation Draft: 5'11" max (1960)
Beam: 17'7" max
Displacement: 69 fl; 60 light (1960)
Main Engines: 2 Cummins diesel (see class history)
BHP: 1, 200

Performance, Maximum Sustained: 14.5 kts, 577-mi radius (1,200 hp, 1960)
Performance, Economic: 10.7 kts, 1, 271-mi radius (1,200 hp, 1960)
Maximum Speed: 16.8 kts (1960)
Fuel Capacity: 1,840 gal
Complement: 8 men (1960), 2 officers, 8 men (1965)
Electronics:
Radar: SPN-11, CR-103 (1960), or SPS-64
Armament: 1 x 20mm (1960), 5 x .50 cal mg, 1 x 81 mm mortar (Vietnam service)

-- from Coast Guard historical records

Point Swift WPB-82312 reef
USCGC Point Swift, Coast Guard Yard, Baltimore, MD.


Red Oak WLM-689

Cape May Reef

Red Oak WLM-689 reef
Sister ship Red Birch ( WLM-687, above )

Type:
shipwreck, buoy tender / ice breaker, US Coast Guard
Built:
1971, US Coast Guard Yard, Baltimore MD
Specs:
( 157 x 33 ft )
Depth:
65 ft
Sponsor:
USCG, Dick Weber & South Jersey Fishing Center
Sunk:
Monday September 13, 1999 - Cape May Reef
GPS:
38°53.125' -74°40.816'

Red Oak WLM-689 reef
Class-ship Red Wood ( WLM-685, above ) was commissioned August 4, 1964

Red Oak WLM-689 reef
New 157-Ft. Coastal Buoy Tender

Shown here is an artist's conception of the U.S. Coast Guard's newly designed 157-ft. coastal buoy tender which is being built to fill a need for a tender of a size between the seagoing 180-fot. class and smaller inland tenders. Features of the new coastal tender include a reinforced hull for light icebreaking work, twin controllable pitch propellers, a bow thruster unit to increase maneuverability, steering and engine control stations on each bridge wing in addition to the pilothouse stations, and lever control stations instead of the usual wheel. Her design calls for a 10-ton boom hydraulically powered and controlled from either of two enclosed stations built into the superstructure just below bridge deck level. Also, comfortable air conditioned quarters will accommodates a crew of 32 officers and men. The first of the 157-ft. tenders is being constructed at the U.S. Coast Guard Yard, Curtis Bay, Md. and is expected to be completed in September 1964.


The Red Oak was the fifth of five 157-foot coastal buoy tenders built by the Coast Guard Yard that entered service between 1964 and 1971. They were the first new class of seagoing buoy tenders of the post-World War II era that were designed and constructed by the Coast Guard. This class of tender was designed to service aids to navigation up to 10-tons and, with a draft of only seven feet, to operate in shallow waters often encountered on the sides of dredged harbor channels. They were designed with low bows that allowed maximum visibility around approaching buoys and had a bow thruster unit recessed into their hulls and twin controllable-pitch propellers to increase maneuverability. Their hulls were reinforced for light icebreaking.

The conventional ship's wheel was absent, being replaced by a simple tiller. The hydraulic steering system provided a change from full left to full right rudder in six seconds. One press release stated that the crew " ... would enjoy a new concept in comfort provided by their modernistic living quarters. All living spaces are air conditioned, paneled in maintenance-free plastic laminates and finished in bright colors." All weight handling gear was operated by hydraulic motors utilizing an advanced pneumatic control system. Each tender was assigned to tend aids to navigation in coastal waters while being "always ready" to carry out other traditional Coast Guard duties such as fighting fires and conducting law enforcement, environmental protection and search and rescue operations when required.

Red Oak's keel was laid on 26 October 1970 and the first welding arc was struck by Mrs. Elislea A. Brown. She was launched on 19 June 1971 and was christened on that date by Mrs. John E. Hunt. The Red Oak was commissioned on 17 December 1971 and was assigned to Gloucester City, New Jersey and was placed under the operational control of the Third [later the Fifth] Coast Guard District. She was assigned to tend aids to navigation on the Delaware River, from the Ship John Shoal light to Trenton, New Jersey, which contained a total of 175 lighted aids. She also refueled the lighthouse at Brandywine Shoal. She was supported by the Aids to Navigation Team [ANT] RED OAK, which consisted of seven enlisted men and two civilians who were based ashore. This subunit of Red Oak had a 45-foot buoy boat, a trailerable 21-foot AtoN boat [TANB] and a 14-foot aluminum hull attached to it.

She was awarded the Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation for her "excellent and professional performance during the period 31 January to 28 February 1975 in containing and reducing the damage inflicted on the estuarine environment by the spillage of 150,000 gallons of crude oil" caused by the collision of two petroleum cargo vessels. She received her second Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation "for her valiant and diligent efforts in replacing the many Aids to Navigation moved off station during the ice season of 4 January to 31 March 1977. Her tireless efforts enabled ports along the Delaware to remain open for commerce."

She was awarded a Coast Guard Unit Commendation for her "meritorious service as on scene commander, directing the rescue and firefighting efforts of 10 civilian and Coast Guard vessels following the explosion of a barge carrying 10,000 barrels of JP4 jet fuel on 20 March 1978." She earned her third Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation in 1981 for "her support of Coast Guard Aids to Navigation during the period from 3 December 1979 to 1 June 1981. Red Oak and ANT RED OAK affected significant improvements in the Aids to Navigation system and kept the river open to commercial traffic during the severe ice season of 1980-81."

She remained home-ported at Gloucester City until the Coast Guard closed Base Gloucester City in 1988. She then moved to a new facility in Philadelphia, where she remained based out of for the remainder of her Coast Guard career. She was decommissioned on 28 March 1996 due to mandated reductions in the FY-96 budget and the ongoing buoy tender replacement project. She was scuttled in 1999.

-- from Coast Guard historical records

Red Oak WLM-689 reef
Red Oak

Red Oak WLM-689 reef
Side-scan sonar image

The Red Oak lies upright in 65 ft of water. She was sunk with a number of nice artifacts still intact, including several portholes.


"Ocean Wreck Divers I" / "VHFC"

Ocean Wreck Divers I reef

Type:
shipwreck, MLB-44 patrol boats ( 2 ), US Coast Guard
Built:
1960s, MD USA
Specs:
( 44 x 12 ft ) 20 tons
Sponsor:
Ocean Wreck Divers
VHFC - Village Harbor Fishing Club, GDF
Depth:
OWD - 60 ft
VHFC - 80 ft
Sunk:
OWD - Tuesday July 11, 1995 - Garden State South Reef
VHFC - Tuesday May 16, 1995 - Garden State South Reef
GPS - OWD:
39°33.426' -74°05.973'
GPS - VHFC:
39°33.496' -74°05.991'

Ocean Wreck Divers I reef
A representative 44 ft self-righting patrol boat

Ocean Wreck Divers I reef
"Ocean Wreck Divers I"

Ocean Wreck Divers I reef
MLB getting air

The 44' motor lifeboat or MLB was for many years the Coast Guard's standard heavy weather & surf rescue response platform. Designed and built by the service itself, the MLB-44 was introduced in 1962. They replaced the 36' MLB, which dated to a hull design of the 1880s. The "44" has a welded steel hull, powered by twin diesels, capable of 15 knots, with a range of 190 nautical miles. They also have a towing capacity of 125 tons. It has a normal crew of four, with enclosed heated accommodations.

MLBs are built to withstand the most severe conditions, and are capable of effecting a rescue at sea even under the most difficult circumstances. Their range of stability is in excess of 175 degrees, and they are rated for surf conditions up 20 feet, seas up to 30 feet, and winds up to 50 knots. They are self-bailing, self-righting, and almost unsinkable: if overturned, the vessel will return to an upright position in 30 seconds or less.

The US Coast Guard once operated 110 of these vessels, with many more built for foreign services. Since 1997, the 44' MLBs have been replaced in service by the new and significantly faster ( 25 knots ) and even more capable 47' MLB. The service plans to eventually acquire 200 of these aluminum marvels. Meanwhile, the old 44s can look forward to new careers in third world fleets, or, in the case of these two, peaceful rest as artificial reefs.

Ocean Wreck Divers I reef


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I make no claim as to the accuracy, validity, or appropriateness of any information found in this website. I will not be responsible for the consequences of any action that is based upon information found here. Scuba diving is an adventure sport, and as always, you alone are responsible for your own safety and well being.

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