Florida’s SHPO launched the Florida Panhandle Shipwreck Trail in June of 2012. Following the 2010 BP oil spill, the Panhandle Shipwreck Trail was developed by the Florida Department of State’s Underwater Archaeology team, in partnership with Panhandle waterfront communities, in an effort to stimulate tourism and educate residents and visitors about Florida’s history. This series of 12 unique and historic shipwrecks are located in the Florida Panhandle, offshore of Pensacola, Destin, Panama City and Port St. Joe. All of the wrecks are protected by law and many were sunk as artificial reefs.
The Florida Panhandle Shipwreck Trail promotes underwater cultural heritage tourism and stewardship. It focuses on responsible diving and local stewardship to ensure that these resources are sustainable so that citizens and visitors can continue to enjoy them for years to come. The 12 shipwrecks were chosen by a consensus of local dive operators, based on popular demand, historical context and ecological diversity.
The website, www.floridapanhandledivetrail.com, provides divers with all the information needed to plan a trip. Divers purchase an official Florida Panhandle Shipwreck Trail Passport for $5 at over 20 participating dive shops and dive charter operators along the coast. The website gives details about the sites, including photos and exciting video, with links to current weather conditions and much more. For a list of participating partners, visit the website or find us on Facebook, and remember to, “…take only pictures and leave only bubbles!”