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Lars Hemel
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PADI 471740
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The USCG Blackthorn became famous when she capsized right under the famous Sunshine Skyway Bridge after a collision with the Capricorn.

Name Dive Site:Blackthorn
Depth: 62-78ft (19-24m)
Inserted/Added by: lars, © Author: Lars Hemel

Rated 3.7, 3 votes
GPS:N27°52.570', W83°11.280'

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One of the best known dive sites around Tampa and St Petersburg is the United States Coast Guard cutter Blackthorn (U.S.C.G. Blackthorn). This 180 foot long ship was finished on May 21, 1943 in Duluth, Minnesota and first serviced as a sea going buoy tender maintaining navigational aids. She was used as an ice breaker in the Great Lakes. In addition she was used to salvage ships and parts of sunken ships. The ship was undergoing a major overhaul in Tampa that took four months before she was ready for use again. On her way to Texas on January 28, 1980 she reached international news when she ran into the more than six hundred feet long freighter S.S. Capricorn. She capsized just west of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Tampa Bay and sank within minutes. Pilot Harry Eugene Knight's attention must have been attracted by another brightly lit Russian ship as they hit the oil tanker frontally. More than twenty seamen lost their lives that night. Three weeks later she was raised and removed from the shipping lane. She was brought twenty miles offshore to the Pinellas #2 Artificial Reef Site where she was scuttled for the purpose of diving and fishing. A marine board investigated the collision and decided that both ships were to blame as they failed to establish proper passing procedure and neither stayed at their side of the channel.

With a beam of 37 feet and a profile of twenty feet there is enough to be explored outside the wreck. However, it is not advised to enter the ship. The vessel is broken into two heavily silted parts. Enjoy this spectacular dive sites which is one of the best according to many divers.

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Name: flsharkvictim

At Blakthorn I got to see my first sea turtle. He was massive! 3ft wide and 4 feet in length. Also, I got to see a baby goliath which was at least over 100 lbs. Nice dive, lot of bait fish. I got to see some Angle Fish. Great dive but I got daco on this one.

Take a look at all the pictures!