Biscayne National Park's Maritime Heritage Trail offers an exciting opportunity to explore the remains of some of the park's many shipwrecks. Six wrecks, spanning nearly a century and a wide variety of sizes and vessel types, have been mapped, brochures have been produced and mooring buoys have been installed. The newest addition to the trail is the Fowey Rocks Lighthouse. Snorkeling is great around the base of the light, but the structure itself is not open to the public.
Access to the sites on the trail is by boat only. Erl King, Alicia and Lugano are best suited to SCUBA divers, while the other sites can easily be enjoyed while snorkeling. Mandalay in particular offers an unparalleled opportunity for snorkelers to experience a shipwreck in a beautiful natural setting.
Ranger-guided snorkel trips to selected sites on the Trail were a huge hit in the summer of 2011, and we hope they will someday be offered again in the future.
Click on the links below to learn about each of the sites on the Maritime Heritage Trail.
In the 1870s, Cape Florida Lighthouse was considered inadequate because of its distance from the reef line. When Arratoon Apcar ran aground, it did so just a few hundred yards from where workers were busy building the Fowey Rocks Lighthouse.
The newest addition to the Maritime Heritage Trail is also a departure from the shipwreck theme. Built in 1878, the Fowey Rocks Lighthouse has witnessed decades of storms and wrecks, and is known as the "Eye of Miami."
Alicia was laden with silks, silverware, and other fine household items when it ran aground on Long Reef. The ensuing, often violent battles among the 70 different groups of wreckers led to a permanent rewriting of U.S. salvage laws.