Mercedes I

Type of Dive: Anchor Dive

Depth Range: 60-100 ft

Skill Level: Advanced Open Water or equivalent experience


Location: Fort Lauderdale

Description: Freighter class ship 194' long with a 30.6' beam in 97' The wreckage is twisted in two pieces with large gaping holes. Penetration is tricky, watch out for entanglement. The midship is collapsed except for the gasoline truck bodies. Despite the damage to the wreckage it is still a great fish haven with a colorful history.

History: The freighter Mercedes I was built in Hamburg, Germany, in 1952. She was originally named Jacob Rusch and later renamed Rosita Maria and Rita Voge, before being given her final name Mercedes I in 1976. On November 23, 1984, while the Mercedes I a powerful storm ripped the freighter from her anchor and the storm left the Mercedes I high and dry on the beach up against the sea wall of Palm Beach socialite, Mollie Wilmot, who owns the house next to the Kennedy family compound. The owners of the Mercedes abandoned her, leaving the state to try to pull her off the beach. After several unsuccessful attempts and three months of salvage workers utilizing heavy winches, they finally pulled the ship off the beach. At a cost of $223,000 from a Federal fund, the Mercedes I was finally pulled from the beach. Because the Mercedes landed on one of the most expensive stretches of beach (Palm Beach), the media frenzy made her famous.The ship was then purchased for $29,000 by the Broward County Environmental Control Board and prepared for sinking as an artificial reef. On March 30, 1985, as 20,000 spectators including millionaire Mollie Wilmot in the Goodyear Blimb watched, the ship was detonated and sank to her final resting place.

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