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  Bosiljka Wreck Offers A Different Type Of Diving Adventure 

The Bosiljka wreck had an unusual history and suffered an even stranger and deadly fate.

Built in 1896 in Glasgow, she started out life as the Polycarp sailing for the Booth Steamship company.

In 1912 she was sold to Swedish owners who renamed her Augusta, then shortly after she was sold again and called the Bia.

In 1921 another company purchased her, christening her the Falco.

Finally in 1935, she was purchased by a Yugoslavian company and this is when she received her final name.

4 years later World War II broke out, and then in 1941 Germany invaded Yugoslavia. The Bosiljka was at sea, and when news of the invasion reached her crew - they panicked. Not wanting to return to their home port, they committed mutiny and sailed to Brazil.

Once she docked, with help from the Brazilian and American governments, the British were able to seize the vessel. In turn, they replaced her mutinous crew with British sailors, and the ship disembarked for New York.

With their country in the hands of the Germans, the Yugoslavian government was no longer in power in their homeland. Instead, they were trying to maintain some form of control by operating out of Britain. They'd already lost their country, they weren't about to loose their ship too. Once word reached them about the seizure, they swiftly laid claim to the Bosiljka.

After hearing the evidence, the courts held in favor of the defunct government. However, since the Yugoslavs were essentially homeless, the courts allowed the ship to be operated by the Allies. They used her to help transport important materials to their forces.

Since America was fighting a hard battle and was concerned about being attacked by sea, she took steps to protect her surrounding waters. Toward that end, the American military laid down mine fields in the Gulf of Mexico to destroy invading enemy vessels.

One large minefield was placed near Smith Shoal. Unfortunately these mine fields proved deadlier to friendly shipping than they did to the enemy.

Bosiljka Ship Accident
Sinking and Wreck Conditions

Due to miscalculated coordinates, this steamer is just one of the vessel's that sank from an unfortunate encounter with an American minefield.

Not only did the Bosiljka meet an unexpected fate at the hand of friendly forces, she was carrying cargo vital to the war effort. During war time, materials of any kind are always in short supply, but some are more so than others.

Not only are medical supplies usually in very limited quantity, they're also in the highest demand. This is the precious cargo the Bosiljka carried while en route from New Orleans to Key West, FL when she sank on June 19, 1942.

The remains of this 322 foot steamer lie about 25 miles NNW of Smith Shoal Light. Reserved for intermediate diving certification, this Marathon Florida diving site has quite a collection of medicine bottles both on the wreck, and in the debris field around her.

Since this artificial reef has also become home to a large number of juvenile fish, it attracts the larger game fish as well. These in turn attract a multitude of Florida sport fishermen who over the years, have left behind a collection of monofilament lines, netting, lures and anchors.

When scuba diving Florida Keys, it's important to exercise caution when wreck diving. Not only because of the fishing hazards that are present, but because artificial reefs like the Bosiljka wreck were not intentionally planned.

When the Bosiljka sank, she obviously had not been properly prepped. All sorts of entanglements are present including cables, lines and wires.

Since the water's clarity can be variable, visibility is not always good when wreck diving this site. When you factor in the hazards and the sometimes questionable visibility, extra precautions are advisable.

At-A-Glance Wreck Diving Description
and GPS Coordinates

Bosiljka - Steamer - 322'
25 Miles NNW of Smith Shoal Light
GPS Co-ordinates
24 58.203N 81 52.804W
Dive Site Description
Pharmaceutical bottles are found wreck diving the Bosiljka, and in the debris field around her. Numerous anchors from fishing boats and shrimp boats, along with fishing lines and nets
Marine Life
Bluefish, gag and goliath grouper, snapper, shark, cobia, permit, snapper, barracuda

When in Marathon Florida diving, if you go to the Bosiljka wreck you'll be heading out to the west side of the Florida Keys. The waters of the Gulf of Mexico are somewhat different than what you experience when diving the Atlantic.

There's not the abundance of coral reefs, the water is shallower for a greater distance out, and the marine life is somewhat different than what you'll typically encounter in the Atlantic Ocean.

When scuba diving Florida Keys, wreck diving on the Bosiljka wreck means having a chance to experience a different diving adventure. Plus if you plan accordingly, you can add on a dive trip out to the Edward Luckenbach. This is another ill fated intermediate diving certification wreck site sitting in slightly shallower water.

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Local Weather Zip Codes

Key Largo - 33037
Marathon - 33050
Key West - 33040