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HMS Looe At Beautiful Looe Key Is A Top Florida Keys Diving Site

The remains of the HMS Looe rests at Looe Key, one of the premier diving and snorkeling Florida Keys sites.

Looe Key reef named after this 44 gun, British man-of-war is consistently ranked as 1 of the top 10 dive sites in the world - and for good reason.

This protected SPA area is absolutely lush with magnificent Florida marine life.

You'll discover a vast amount of coral, tropical fish and game fish at Looe Key snorkeling or diving.

However, you won't find many remnants of the ship, or of the Billander Betty she was towing.

The reason is, after grounding in 1744, Captain Ashby Uttings ordered the crew to set fire to the vessel.

His primary goal was to keep his warship from falling into the hands of the Spaniards and avoid being scavenged. Once ablaze, it wasn't long before it exploded, leaving little behind.

Even though the crew of the warship and the towed Billander Betty were safe, they still had a major problem.

They needed to avoid being captured by their enemy, but the 3 small boats their ships carried, couldn't hold the size of the crew. Fortunately they were able to commandeer a nearby Spanish sloop, and they departed to different ports.

Drawing of the HMS Looe

Drawing of the HMS Looe

Today, anyone scuba diving Key West can come here to view incredible marine life along with a few sparse shipwreck remnants.

The remains consist primarily of ballast stones, pieces of copper plating, a concrete block, and a coral encrusted anchor. It's questionable as to whether all or any of these remains actually belong to these two vessels. Some of the remnants seem more appropriately consistent to what would be found on a 19 century merchant vessel.

At-A-Glance Wreck Diving Description
and GPS Coordinates

HMS Looe
Looe Key Reef, 10 miles SW of Bahia Honda Channel
GPS Co-ordinates
24 32.700N 081 24.500W
Mooring buoys
Novice but some stronger currents
Dive Site Description
Mostly disintegrated. Remnants include an anchor, ballast stone and copper plating.
Marine Life
Abundance of marine life makes this a very popular dive and snorkel site. Barracuda, jack, shark, angelfish, blue tang, different species of coral, parrotfish, grunts, goliath grouper

In the long tradition of shipwrecks, the actual events leading to their demise are often clouded by conflicting reports and facts.

This also holds true for their identities, as multiple wrecks can be found in proximity to each other. This mystery and intrigue, as well as the amazing marine life entwined within their framework are the passions fueling scuba divers who explore Florida Keys shipwrecks.

Wreck diving at this site is no exception. However, if no remains are found, you'll still enjoy one of the most beautiful dive sites on earth.

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Local Weather Zip Codes

Key Largo - 33037
Marathon - 33050
Key West - 33040