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Thunderbolt Wreck

 | By Seamus on 6/9/2012 8:22:02 PM | Views (1618)

The U.S. Army awarded a contract to Marietta Manufacturing Company at Point Pleasant, West Virginia, to construct the Thunderbolt, along with 15 additional sister ships, during World War II. The Randolph, which was later renamed the Thunderbolt, was launched on June 2, 1942. These ships' purpose was to establish and manage defensive coastal minefields for the Army's Coast Artillery Corps. However, in 1949, the Navy assumed responsibility for this function and the Randolph was also transferred to their control.

Despite being under the Navy's possession, the Thunderbolt never received a commission and remained in the Naval Reserve Fleet, initially stationed in South Carolina and later in Florida. In 1961, Caribbean Enterprises of Miami acquired the vessel, which was later bought by Florida Power and Light for the purpose of researching electrical energy in lightning strikes. This research initiative resulted in the vessel's renaming as the Thunderbolt. Eventually, Florida Power and Light donated the vessel to the Florida Keys Artificial Reef Association.

As a component of the Florida Keys Artificial Reef Association initiative, the Thunderbolt vessel was deliberately submerged on March 6, 1986. Presently, the ship remains fully preserved and in an upright position on a sandy seabed, located four miles south of Marathon and Key Colony Beach, submerged in 120 feet of water.

Measuring 189 feet in length, the Thunderbolt's hull features a forecastle that functioned as the cable handling area and boasts a cruiser stern. Prior to its sinking, the vessel was stripped of all equipment except for a few major pieces. Notable remaining elements include a horizontal cable handling reel, positioned at 80 feet and situated in the center of the forecastle deck's after-end, as well as remnants of the ship's superstructure, such as the observation deck located at 75 feet.

The rear portion of the superstructure has been removed, revealing the interior of the engineering space within the hull. Additionally, the stern section of the hull is complemented by the presence of the rudder and propellers, located at 120 feet.

South of Coffins Patch, 1 mile SSW of Marker 20; 5 miles SE offshore of Marathon

Catch Information

Species:
African Pompano
African Pompano

Black Grouper
Black Grouper

Great Barracuda
Great Barracuda

King Mackerel
King Mackerel

Mutton Snapper
Mutton Snapper

Sailfish
Sailfish

Tarpon
Tarpon

Yellow Jack
Yellow Jack

Yellowtail Snapper
Yellowtail Snapper

Depth:120 feet (36.58 meters or 20.00 fathoms)

Structure Information

Thunderbolt Wreck is a fishing spot. A shipwreck or wreckage from a sunken vessel is located at this spot.

This fishing spot was added to the database on 6/9/2012 8:22:02 PM by Seamus and last updated on 4/20/2023 10:00:02 PM.


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