Was Joes Tug, A Popular Key West Diving Site The Victim of Piracy?
No one really knows for sure who took Joes Tug from the Key West harbor, and likely we never will.
In keeping with the time honored tradition plaguing many of the Florida Keys shipwrecks, this Key West scuba site manifests it's own set of strange oddities.
This Key West wreck also goes by a number of different names, including Tim's Tug and Joe's Wreck.
First Joe's Wreck was not what her name described. She was in fact a 75 foot steel hulled shrimp boat.
Second, she sank while in Key West harbor, and was eventually refloated, cleaned and prepared for scuttling.
However, like so many other vessels prepped to be an artificial reef, she never ended up at her intended destination. But unlike those wayward vessels, she didn't simply sink before reaching her final resting place, she was stolen.
Late on the evening before her scheduled departure for Miami FL, unknown suspects towed her out of a Key West harbor. En route to their mystery destination, she sank in about 65 feet of water.
Key West Scuba Diving On Joes Tug Courtesy of YouTube and ExtraneousSolutions
Wreck Diving Conditions
This old vessel suffered considerable damage after Hurricane George swept through the area in 1998. The strong winds and waves eventually broke the old shrimp boat apart, and the remnants of the bow and stern are positioned about 30 feet apart.
The ship sits upright, so even though the wheelhouse has decayed somewhat, Key West divers can easily access it along with the aft deck and hull.
This dive map provides a good overview of her broken remains.
When you're wreck diving on Joes Tug you'll find that her sections are attractively offset by the brilliant colors of tropical fish, vibrant coral and sponges that surround her.
This abundant variation of marine life and the clear water, is one of the reasons she's a popular dive site for avid underwater photographers.
Another reason Joe's Wreck is such a popular Key West diving site, is that Elvis, the giant goliath grouper may still be present.
For years this grouper has dominated the remains of this vessel and if he's still there, you'll want to make sure you capture a picture of yourself with this famous, very large fish.
This old shrimper is also within easy distance of another popular Key West dive site, the
Cayman Salvage Master. This makes coming back and wreck diving on Tim's tug a very good second dive site.
This is also not as advanced a scuba diving site as the Cayman Salvage Master, so even though certain skills are required, it'll be a more relaxing end of the day dive for everyone.
At-A-Glance Wreck Diving Description and GPS Coordinates
Joe's Tug - aka Joe's Wreck, Tim's Tug - Shrimp boat - 75' Location
Near Key West, 6 miles S of Stock Island GPS Co-ordinates
24 27.850N 81 44.270 W Markers
Intermediate - Advanced Depth
Excellent Wreck Diving Description
Remains are upright but have been torn and somewhat dispersed due to hurricanes and weather. Bow and stern are approximately 35' apart Marine Life Sea sponges, eels, numeours tropical fish, yellowtail,
barracuda, goliath grouper,
Anyone scuba diving Key West who's looking for a bit of "pirate" mystery will want to visit this unsolved whodunit. Not only will it's history pique your curiosity, it's surrounding beauty will captivate you.
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