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USGC Mohawk becomes new artificial reef in Florida

The former US Coast Guard cutter sink in only minutes once her explosives detonated sending her on her final voyage to the sea floor off the Coast of Fort Myers, Florida
Situated 90ft under the surface, approximately 28 nautical miles from Sanibel Island, the vessel is the first official memorial reef dedicated to all US veterans. The 165ft Mohawk is the last remaining ship from the Battle of the Atlantic.
The USS Mohawk served In the US Navy during World War II. She is the latest in a series of former naval vessels sunk off the coast of Florida to become artificial reefs.

In recent years she was docked as a Memorial Museum in Key West, to be enjoyed by visitors. It is fair to say that USS Mohawk had a bit of an adventure before she was towed to her last resting place.

Prior to her days as museum she spent more than 15 years rusting in scrap yard in Staten Island. Frans Boetes, who became president of the USS Mohawk CGC Memorial Museum, found her. She needed some repairs before she could be towed down to Florida, and was worked on further once she was tied at the old Navy Pier in Key West.

USS Mohawk was then chosen to become an artificial reef to be placed off the Southwest coast of Florida.

The Reefmakers
This is where the Reefmakers come in, headed by Joe Weatherby. Two months ago they towed her to Fort Myers and for two months, they have been working day and night to prepare USS Mohawk for her last mission. Cleaning a wreck to become an artificial reef is not an easy task. You have to remove hazardous chemicals and substances, wires needs to be cut and removed to make it safe for divers, and holes in the hull must be cut out to make it easy and safe to dive her.

Joe Weatherby and his team had a proud day Monday July 2nd. The tension was high as the detonations went of at 1 pm. The charges were carefully placed and timed so that she would sink and settle upright on the bottom. One small mistake can change that. It went of without a hitch though.

“Listen,” Joe Weatherby says, "She's still got her propellers, she's have her guns and even the life rafts are back on board. You have never, ever, ever seen an artificial reef looking like this, it is magnificent.”

She will be the first artificial reef in Southwest Florida. As she stands proudly on the bottom outside Sanibel, she will be honoring veterans.

The Mohawk will serve the remainder of her life as marine habitat, serving the environment and the community in southwest Florida.

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