Queen Of Nassau

Description

The Association of Underwater Explorers has identified a shipwreck resting in 220 feet of water off Islamorada as the steamer Queen of Nassau, formerly the gunboat C.G.S. Canada. The Queen of Nassau sunk on July 2, 1926, while en route from Miami to Tampa. At the time, she was owned by Barron Gift Collier, Sr., who was a prominent Florida businessman who was largely responsible for the development of Southwest Florida.

Built in England in 1904, the Canada became the flagship of the Canadian Fisheries Protection Service. She was 200 feet long and 25 feet wide, a miniature version of a naval cruiser. The Queen of Nassau was bought by Collier with the intention of employing her as an excursion steamer between Miami and Nassau. However, the ship lacked sufficient passenger accommodations and soon lost favor with prospective customers. It was reported that she was to be sold to a Mexican company for use between New Orleans and Tampico. Representatives were to complete the transaction upon her delivery to Tampa, where she would be placed in drydock and inspected. However, years of neglect had taken a toll on the once-proud ship. The ship barely made headway and required constant repairs upon her departure from Miami on June 30, 1926. As she cruised slowly off Islamorada, she began flooding. Unable to keep up with the rising water, the ship was eventually abandoned. The crew safely boarded a lifeboat and watched as the Queen of Nassau’s bow rose high in the air, and then slipped beneath the surface as she sunk stern-first in 220 feet of water.

Resting in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, the wreck is intact and in remarkable condition. While the site is a fairly well-known local fishing spot, the wreck has been visited infrequently by divers in the past due to the depth of the water. However, recent advances in diving technology and mixed gasses have allowed technical divers to safely explore and document the historical vessel. The Association of Underwater Explorers is currently working to fully document the site.

For more information about diving the Queen of Nassau, click here.

Position

Lat: 24 47.157 N

Long: 80 39.558 W

Depth of wreck

220 feet

Size of wreck

Length: 200 feet

Beam: 25 feet

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