Official Name: USCG Duane
Location: Key Largo
Vessel: 327 Foot Coast Guard Cutter
Dive Level: Advanced & Nitrox
Roughly 7.5 miles off the coast of Key Largo sits the USCG Duane, the sister ship to the Bibb. The advanced dive sites in the gulf stream and outside of the reef line and often has a moderate current that divers must learn to safely navigate. The upright nature of this vessel allows divers to find shelter from the currents and provides a safe haven for Manta Rays, Bull Sharks, Goliath Grouper, Barracudas, Cobia and more.
How to Dive the Wreck of the Duane
This is an Advanced Dive with a maximum depth of 125 feet. We ask that our divers be at minimum a PADI Advanced Open Water Diver and we highly suggest that you have your Nitrox/Enriched Air Certification to extend the amount of time you can spend on this beautiful wreck. We often host Deep Diver Courses and Wreck Diver courses at this site. Contact our shop today to learn more about the opportunities to dive this vessel.
History of the Duane Wreck Dive
The Duane was built in 1936 in a Philadelphia shipyard for the US Coast Guard. She was named after President Jackson’s Secretary of the Treasury, William J. Duane. Her first duties upon service was to support the colonists on the Line Islands south of Hawaii and then later to patrol the Bering Sea. In 1940 she hosted a meteorologist and weather balloons to provide weather information throughout the mid atlantic. The Coast Guard took on this duty because it was unsafe for the merchant fleet in the midst of World War I. Anti-Submarine weaponry was added to the ship in 1941 and she was pulled into active Navy duty under the designation WPG-33. The Duane is credited with multiple engagements with submarines, the sinking of the German sub U-175, a maritime landing in the south of France and more during her service in the Navy.
After the war, she was returned to regular Coast Guard service patrol the mid- and north-atlantic. In 1967 she was once again asked to assume wartime duties in Vietnamese waters. On her first day of patrol, the Duane engaged with multiple enemy vessels, destroying a forward observation post and multiple bunkers, tunnels and fortifications.
After 49 years in service (August of 1985), the USCG Duane was decommissioned. At the time, she was the United States oldest active duty warship. The Duane was donated to the Keys Association of Dive Operators 3 years after her decommissioning. They sank the Duane as an artificial reef, just south of Molasses Reef and alongside her sister ship the USCG Bibb.
The Duane is one of nine wrecks in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Shipwreck Trail.