Dive Site: Ancient Mariner Wreck
City: Deerfield Beach, Florida
Coordinates: 26 18.117′ N 80 03.745′ W
Type of Dive: South Florida Boat / Line Down Dive
Depth: 47ft Wheelhouse, 71ft Sand
Last Updated: 11/1/2015
Diving The Ancient Mariner Wreck:
We don’t know which is more fun, diving the Ancient Mariner wreck or learning its history!
The Ancient Mariner is a 165-foot ex-Coast Guard cutter that rests off the coast of Deerfield Beach, Florida in 71 feet of water. This wreck is covered in marine growth with her bow pointing southeast. With proper training this is a great beginner’s wreck as it’s easy to penetrate with it’s large overhead openings. One of the cool things about diving the Ancient Mariner is that you can swim from the bow all the way to the stern inside the vessel.
History of the Ancient Mariner:
The Ancient Mariner is formally known as Nemesis, named for the Greek goddess of vengeance. Commissioned on October 10, 1934, Nemesis was originally built to enforce prohibition by trailing vessels that dispensed alcohol. While prohibition ended before Nemesis was commissioned, the vessel continued onto other Coast Guard missions.
During world War II Nemesis was used for hunting down Nazi submarines off the coasts of North America. The vessel was decommissioned in November 1964. In 1979 it was remodeled to look like a three deck African steamer and renamed Livingstone Landing. This became Fort Lauderdale’s first floating restaurant. Livingstone Landing closed in February 1981 due to lack of business and plans were quickly made to reopen as the Ancient Mariner.
On the morning of April 28, 1981, two weeks before the opening of the Ancient Mariner restaurant, bad luck struck. She rolled over onto her port side due to water seeped in through small rust holes in the hull. This disaster resulted in $85,000 worth of damage, but didn’t stop the restaurant from opening two months later.
The Ancient Mariner was a successful restaurant until bad luck struck AGAIN when over 100 guests contracted hepatitis-A in spring 1986. The Broward County Public Health Unit shutdown the Ancient Mariner restaurant on May 22, 1986. Officials said a food prep with hepatitis most likely the caused the worst hepatitis-A outbreak in Florida.
Florida Copia Corp., which owned the Ancient Mariner during the outbreak filed for bankruptcy after it shutdown.
The Ancient Mariner changed names countless times… from Chapman`s River Raw Bar, the Anchorage Seafood House, Dockside 501 to Cutters, but the bad reputation stuck with the vessel.
The Ancient Mariner was eventually purchased by the South Florida Divers Club for $6,000, then donated to Broward County’s artificial reef program. She was finally put out of her misery on June 9, 1991 when she was sunk as an artificial reef off of Deerfield Beach.