The Mighty Oriskany
to Pensacola will gain a unique diving and fishing location this
May when the retired aircraft carrier Oriskany will be reefed
at an existing artificial reef site in the Gulf of Mexico. At
888 feet in length, the Mighty Oriskany will be the
largest vessel purposely sunk as a reef and has the potential
to become the largest artificial reef in the world. This exceptional
site will give divers the chance to swim with Goliath grouper,
ocean sunfish and eagle rays. In addition, anglers will have
the opportunity to catch popular game fish such as Warsaw grouper,
snapper and amberjack.
reefing commenced with controlled charges in 212 feet of water,
22.5 miles southeast of Pensacola in late May 2006. A memorial
service was held prior to the event at the National Museum of
Naval Aviation, to recognize the vessel that served as a combat
aircraft carrier in the Korean and Vietnam wars. The service
honored the crew and ship that have provided exemplary service
to our Navy and country.
USS Oriskany CV-34 was built in the Brooklyn Naval Shipyard in
1945. The Oriskany was then commissioned to Guantanamo Bay on
Sept. 25, 1950 during the Korean conflict. In April 2004, the
U.S. Navy chose Escambia County as the resting place for USS
Oriskany. The Oriskanys former crew members include Sen.
John McCain, who was taken prisoner in North Vietnam after leaving
the ship in 1967.
Ship wreck diving is a unique recreation that is gaining in popularity
and attention. Northwest Florida offers exciting diving opportunities
with many historical wreck sites and artificial reefs. Serving
as a premier diving site, north Florida holds a variety of marine
life, as well as dozens of natural reefs. With a large area of
open water and relatively little commercial fishing, this area
is a great location for big game fish, as well as manta rays
and the Florida spiny lobster. The slightly cooler water provides
greater visibility and a less crowded diving haven.
beginning divers, scuba diving lessons are offered from scuba
instructors at the various Pensacola dive shops or scuba schools.
Divers who have open water scuba certification can dive without
an instructor present. Arrangements can also be made through
dive shops and charters to swim with a certified instructor.
Some of Pensacolas dive instruction locations include Watersport
Specialties, MBT Divers, which offers SCUBA training and certification,
and Reel Eazy charters, which offers diving and deep sea fishing
addition to the USS Oriskany, Pensacola is home to numerous historic
ships, including the 500-foot World War I battleship, USS Massachusetts,
the Russian freighter San Pablo, a Navy barge and a part of the
carrier USS Lexington. Divers can also find Vietnam-era tanks
and various other naval ships to explore.
Already called the best place to explore historic wrecks, Northwest
Floridas newest addition, the USS Oriskany, will bring
a premier diving and fishing attraction that shouldnt be
missed. Visitors can come see the largest vessel to be purposely
sunk turn into the largest artificial reef and wreck diving site.
This new attraction will provide a memorable experience for veteran
and new divers alike. www.visitpensacola.com
For information on travel to Florida or to order a copy of VISIT FLORIDA's
free Vacation Guide visit VISIT FLORIDA's consumer web site,
www.VISITFLORIDA.com, or call VISIT FLORIDA's toll-free consumer
number at 1-888-7-FLAUSA (352872)