Nearby Dives

Half Moon Preserve

Fast Facts

Average Rating: 4.3636
Average Depth: 10 ft.
Max Depth: 10 ft.

    The Half Moon was built in Germany in 1908 as the Germania. It was one of the fastest racing yachts of its day and won the German Kaiser�s Cup. The Germania had the misfortune to be in England for a race when World War I was declared. The ship and crew were the first German ship to be captured by England.

    Eventually the ship was purchased by Captain Earnest D. Smiley who converted the yacht to a floating saloon permanently moored in Biscayne Bay throughout Prohibition. Captain Smiley�s son, of the same name, grew up on her decks, and went on to become a famous naturalist painter.

    The Half Moon broke free of its moorings during a storm and ran hard aground in 1930. Efforts to raise her were futile and the ship sank beneath the water. Eventually the Half Moon was dedicated as Florida�s seventh Underwater Archaeological Preserve.

    In 1999, Bruce White (a member of the Marine Archaeological Research & Conservation, Inc.) produced a digital video of the rich sea life at the site. He also highlighted the many deck plank fasteners still visible on her deck beams and the main sheet winches still in place both port and starboard. The video is available for viewing at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Nature Center in Crandon Park on Key Biscayne.

    The Half Moon is a terrific spot for snorkelers and beginning divers. The shallow waters are usually very calm. The hull is covered with soft corals and sponges. Damsel fish, angel fish and many juvenile reef fishes hide beneath the deck.

    The wreck is easy to locate from the Bear Cut channel. Half Moon lies about 75 yards northwest of the red marker #2. The wreck lies within the Biscayne National Park, so divers must remember that collection of artifacts is prohibited. Spear fishing and collection of tropical fish is also prohibited.

    Waypoint: HFMOON Latitude Longitude
    Degrees 25.7275666666667 -80.1344833333333

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