The Regina Wreck is one of the most famous shipwrecks in Florida. Throughout centuries of pirate dominance, epic storms, and tumultuous territory fighting and protecting of the barrier islands of Florida, numerous ships fell victims to the waters.
The Regina sunk with 350,000 gallons of molasses onboard in 1940 after four decades of active trade from Ireland to the United States. The boat sunk after a cold front and storm breached its hull.
But, the Regina is hardly the only shipwreck in the history of Anna Maria Island and the surrounding area. Below are four lesser known shipwrecks that have astonished historians for years with the stories they left behind.
Doc’s Barge is a 150-foot barge broken in half and sunk to the waters. The history around this barge is murky at best. There is no clear origin for the wreck nor is there a reason for its “burial.” It is easily the most mysterious and shrouded shipwreck here. It is located about 18 miles from Long Boat Pass.
The barge is currently upside-down, and makes for some incredible spear fishing. Visitors to the barge can find some kingfish, record-snapping snapper, grouper, and amberjack. Manta rays with 8-foot wingspans are commonly sighted in the area.
The Nohab was originally intended as a luxury “pleasure boat” from the Germans. It was built in 1901, but sunk in 1926 due to a hurricane in Biscayne Bay.
A California businessman made the effort to revitalize the ship, only to have it towed to Tampa in 1928 and sunk again. Clearly, the Nohab was cursed, as it was resurrected from the sea by Tampa officials and sunk a third – and final – time.
The 142 foot x 23 foot boat was nothing but a disaster and has become a running joke for locals who are aware of it. Its flattened pieces lay scattered over a few acres, with big parts of the engine, boiler, and twin shafts resting eternally about 15 nautical miles off Egmont Key.
True to its “little known” status, the Gunsmoke is an oddity of the island shipwrecks. It was an old shrimping boat that was transformed into a drug smuggler. It was scuttled in 1977 by her crew and now sits in 80 feet of water off nearby St. Pete. It is likely the least-known of the local shipwrecks and the one with only a handful of local visitors every year at most
Fin Barge is just massive. This 300-foot barge has two large-scaled fin-shaped keels near the stern. It sits upside down about 85 feet under the water 25 miles off Long Boat Pass.
The Fin Barge is unique in that it remains (mostly) structurally intact. An open door by the bow allows curious divers a deep peak through the 300 feet of the boat’s length.
Fin Barge is little known, but a number of local divers can attest to its jaw-dropping population of Goliath Grouper which are known to be potentially aggressive.
For more information and details of the history of Anna Maria Island, visit the Anna Maria Historical Society at 402 Pine Ave, Anna Maria, FL.
Book Your Vacation
You can capture your own experience of the unique history of our island, even if you aren’t a scuba diver keen on exploring some of the fascinating shipwrecks in the area. Or try another great family-friendly watersport that is more suitable for your family vacation. There’s an endless supply of fun to be had on your Anna Maria Island vacation.
If you’re interested in kayaking, paddleboarding, bike rentals or family excursions, look no further than our very own AMI Adventure Rentals. Book a tour or rent equipment for the kids to have a fun day on the water.