Nearby Dives

W.E. Hutton

Fast Facts

Average Rating: 4
Average Depth: 60 ft.
Max Depth: 70 ft.

    March of 1942 was a dangerous month for ships along the NC coast. German U-boats sank the greatest number of U.S. ships that month. The W. E. Hutton was a tanker transporting fuel oil from Texas to Pennsylvania. The ship stayed close to shore on March 18, and as night fell, all lights were extinguished and the ship was in total black-out.

    Unfortunately, U-124 found the Hutton. The same u-boat had just successfully fired upon and sunk the tanker Papoose. About 10pm, a seaman on the Hutton saw the torpedo a second before it struck the ship causing an explosion at the bow. A distress call was radioed and the Captain ordered the Hutton turned toward shore. Within minutes the Hutton was hit by another torpedo on the port side. Fire broke out midship and began to rapidly spread. Crewmen jumped overboard to avoid the flames. Lifeboats were launched and as the men floated away from the ship, Captain Carl Flaathen reported seeing the stern sticking out of the water, engulfed in flames. Less than an hour later, the fire disappeared as the ship sank. Twenty-three crewmen survived; thirteen were lost in the attack.

    The next year, the tanker, Suloide ran aground on the wreckage of the Hutton and sank a short distance away. The Coast Guard was then dispatched to salvage and demolish the remaining wreckage to make the area safe for navigation. Over six months, thirty tons of dynamite were detonated. A wire drag then determined the remains were below 40 feet of mean low water.

    Because of the heavy demolition, all that remains of the Hutton is a tangle of metal debris covering an acre of the bottom. The bottom is muddy and visibility averages 20-30 feet. Some parts that are recognizable are two anchors in the bow, the crankshaft, and boilers. Some cool artifacts have been found in the galley area that are about 75 feet from the boilers. The Hutton is a good place to spot grouper and other smaller fish. Because this wreck is closer to shore and in shallower water, it's a good introduction to wreck diving in NC.

    Waypoint: HUTTON Latitude Longitude
    Degrees 34.49895 -76.8977166666667

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