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Technical Diving USS Fred T Berry Key West Divers Reach Icy Depths

The USS Fred T Berry is a 2 battle star navy vessel, that joins a long list of destroyers whose illustrious careers ended as a test site for explosive ordnance.

In 1945 this vessel entered the Korean War campaign by screening carriers launching aircraft strikes into North Korea.

Later, in 1949 she was refitted to serve as an antisubmarine warfare ship.

Then in 1950 she was reclassified as an Escort Destroyer.

Her continued service throughout the years, even participating in the early stages of the Vietnam War where she provided naval gunfire support.

After crisscrossing the oceans numerous times, and visiting many ports of call, she was given her final assignment in 1970.

She was to serve as a DD Type Target Hull to determine the vulnerability of a ship. After being properly prepped, and relocated to her chosen destination, the Underwater Explosives Research Division ran an underwater explosive test. She was successfully sunk on May 14, 1972

USS Fred T Berry Wreck Diving Conditions

Today, her 390.6 foot long frame with a 41 foot narrow beam, rests 370 feet below the ocean surface.

At this depth, this Key West diving site is restricted to only divers with technical certification who possess considerable skill and knowledge. Not only must you understand the basics of diving, you need to understand gas management, as well as how to decompress properly.

Also, there's considerably more scuba diving gear required for anyone technical diving. On top of that, a technical diver needs to be physically strong and healthy because other considerations come into play. These factors include colder water temperatures and often, much stronger currents.

USS Fred T Berry at Sea

USS Fred T Berry at Sea

This ship has also had an impact on human life even after she was laid to rest. Over the years, different crew members who had the privilege of serving aboard her, reported that she "hated" submarines.

That statement adds an undertone of sad irony to the fate of those aboard the submersible "Johnson Sea Link." On June 17, 1973 while attempting to retrieve a fish trap, the unit became entangled in one of her cables.

It took 33 hours to recover the Johnson Sea Link and by then, 2 of the 4 people on board had died of carbon dioxide poisoning.

At-A-Glance Wreck Diving Description
and GPS Coordinates

USS Fred T. Berry - Fletcher Class Destroyer - 390'
Off Key West
GPS Co-ordinates
24°27'48"N 81°33'20"W
Varies depending on current
Wreck Diving Site Description
Purposely sunk by the Underwater Explosives Research Division
Marine Life
Minimal due to depth but different varieties of shark,
snapper and grouper can be spotted

The Fred T Berry lies in icy and often murky water, deep in the bowels of the ocean. She waits patiently for the very few Key West divers, skilled and brave enough to go wreck diving on her cold, metal form to discover her mysterious secrets.

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Local Weather Zip Codes

Key Largo - 33037
Marathon - 33050
Key West - 33040