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Fast Facts

Average Rating: 3
Average Depth: 100 ft.
Max Depth: 120 ft.

    This ship was originally named the United States Revenue Cutter Samuel Dexter and was built in Boston in 1874. She was 144 feet long, had a 23-foot beam and two masts with topsail rigs. She also had a 400-horsepower compound engine.

    Revenue cutters originated during the American Revolutionary War when Alexander Hamilton proposed ships be built to patrol the Atlantic coast to stop smuggling and to protect against pirates. Under the Department of the Navy, revenue cutters fought during the War of 1812, ended piracy on the Gulf Coast, and served in the blockades of the Mexican War from 1846-48. It was a revenue cutter, the Harriet Lane, that fired the first shot of the Civil War at Fort Sumter in 1861.

    After the Civil War, the revenue cutters were increasingly called upon to assist in life-saving rescues and ice patrols. The Samuel Dexter became famous for a daring rescue in January 1884. A passenger steamer ran aground on Martha's Vineyard and the Dexter made it through gale force winds and towering waves to rescue 29 survivors who were clinging to the rigging of the steamer's masts. In 1915, the revenue cutters' roles as rescue ships were made official when they were placed under the authority of the newly formed United States Coast Guard.

    The Samuel Dexter never served in the U.S. Coast Guard as she was sold in 1908 to the Aiken Towing Company of Pensacola, Florida, and renamed the Leroy. For nearly twenty years, the Leroy worked as a tug along the Panhandle of Florida. On November 15, 1926, the tug left Pensacola bound for Sarasota. The weather turned bad and the Leroy sprang a leak 17 miles west of Cape San Blas. Although the crew attempted to pump out the water, it was useless. By Noon of the next day, the crew of fourteen abandoned ship and watched the Leroy sink at 1:08pm. It took the men 16 hours to row to shore after which they walked eight miles to Panama City.

    The Leroy lies on the sandy bottom in 120 feet of water. Little remains of the ship except for her boiler and scattered wreckage. Portholes, the sextant, and various brass fittings have been salvaged by divers. The wreck area is home to large snapper, grouper, amberjack, and assorted colorful tropicals.

    Waypoint: LEROY Latitude Longitude
    Degrees 29.8893 -85.9520833333333

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