Flying the Flag of the Duane

Diving the Wreck of the Duane in Key Largo, Florida

The Duane was a US Coast Guard Cutter sunk on November 27, 1987. She rests upright in 125 feet of water, according to the Interwebs, (although I stuck my dive computer on the bottom and only read 121) ย with the mast peaking at 60 feet; the deck can be observed at 100 feet.ย This vessel was named afterย the third Secretary of the US Treasury William John Duane. The Duaneโ€™s sister cutter, the Bibb, was sunk one day later.

Dive Belle on the Wreck of the Duane
Photo credit @diveswell IG

When I wrote about this trip in an earlier post, we had originally planned to do the Tons of Steel with Captain Slate. We would have hit up a few other wrecks in the area, but due to logistics we had to reconfigure the trip. We drove five hours to Key Largo from St. Pete, straight to the dock and did a night dive complete with glow sticks and a tiny buddha statue.

Buddha Statue on Davis Reef in Key Largo, FL
Buddha Statue on Davis Reef


The following morning we rose with the sun and set onward to dive the Duane. I would have a nice, edited video to show you. Truly, I would. Except I was using my new SeaLife dive camera and managed to delete everything off of the camera before I could upload any of the files. We were able to recover the photos, but the video is gone. Forever. $%#&.

So, we just have to go back! ๐Ÿ™‚

I dove with an aluminum 63 cuf on air. On the next wreck dive I’ll use an 80 with 32% Nitrox. I felt like I hardly saw the wreck. Granted, we all used a little more air than we had expected to, I think. The water was super choppy, my buddy was sick, and I couldn’t equalize my ear. All in all, though, I seriously can’t wait to dive it again. I’m excited to dive the Lady Luck in Pompano Beach later this month. There are some great videos on YouTube. I’ll have my own, soon, if I can keep all my files together!

There were TONS of fish on the wreck. Some barracuda kept their eyes on us while we explored the stern and portside. There was a spot with plenty of room to enter without really risking bumping into something – there were lots of smaller spots that I was tempted to poke my head into, but thought better of it. Plenty of excellent photo opportunities. The tanker didn’t originally sit upright, but it was moved into its current position during a hurricane.

A friend was kind enough to allow me to use his photos to share. The following gallery is a combination of his photos and the ones we were able to retrieve from my camera.



Have you ever dove the Duane? or another wreck? Comment below and tell me all about it. Also, if you subscribe on YouTube you’ll be the first to know when I post my first video using my SeaLife camera!

19 thoughts on “Diving the Wreck of the Duane in Key Largo, Florida

  1. I dove the Duane! 80 cuft aluminum tank filled with air. I started the dive with 2700psi and ended with 900psi. My buddy ran low on air see we came up after 35 minutes. I reached 123ft as my max depth. We swam around 3/4 of the base of the wreck near the sand. 2 large green moray eels, 1 nurse shark, 2 sting rays, and tons of crops and fish were hiding under the hull. The American Flag was beautiful waving with the current. Great dive! I would love to go back and explore more!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I started with almost 3000 and came up with 285. When we began our ascent I had about 900 lbs. I didn’t see any of that! We never made it to the front! All the more reason to go back…


  2. I’ve never gone diving before but how cool is this?! I definitely wanna give it a try now. Last month I took the first step and went snorkeling with sting rays so maybe now im ready for the next level lol. Very cool pictures, great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve had the same thing happen to me with my photos – it’s the worst! – but you’re lucky that you could still share these ones ๐Ÿ™‚ Looking forward to your video. I live in Barbados and we have a number of cool wrecks and reefs here – have you ever been? You should come visit!


    1. I’ll dive this wreck again sometime this summer and get some video. There wasn’t a whole lot of life on it except for the typical barracuda. I am VERY fortunate that we were able to retrieve these! I’ve never been to Barbados but I would absolutely love to go. I haven’t dived outside of the US yet!!


    1. The ocean used to scare the pants off me! Then I got involved in a fish collection project in college and it got me curious. I’m glad that I did it.. the ocean isn’t nearly as scary as New Orleans at night lol


  4. Photos look great! Sorry to hear about your own pics, that’s not fun. I have never dove but you make it look easy! ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’– spottheredhead


  5. I have tried diving just once in Bali and I didn’t enjoy it as much as snorkeling. But that was a long time ago. I would like to try it out again. The Duane looks great.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve never been diving, but I’ve snorkeled over a ship wreck in Key Largo… maybe this one? How creepy was night diving? That sounds incredible but the ocean already kind of frightens me, so I can’t imagine going under at night.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have to admit it was creepy the first time I did it. I was nervous, it was cold, and there was a SWEEPING current that made it difficult for me to keep near my buddies. Since then though, I’ve done several night dives under more favorable conditions and although I do get spooked once in a while .. night dives are still one of my favorites ๐Ÿ™‚ There are a couple of popular wrecks in Key Largo, the Duane, the Eagle, the Spiegel, the Bibb.. I’ve only done the Duane but I hear a lot of good things about the Spiegel!


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