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The Atlantus Shipwreck  New York and New Jersey's (Wreck Valley)
Historical and current New York ands New jersey Shipwreck Information and images for scuba divers and fisherman.

DIRECTIONS:     (Cape May Point, Cape May County)
Take the Garden State Parkway south to the end. Travel west on Sunset Boulevard (Route 606) to Sunset Beach.  You will come to a parking lot at road's end.

During World War I, while  there was a shortage of steel the United States government began to search for alternative materials for ship construction. The Atlantus was one of twelve experimental concrete ships. She was built by the Liberty Shipbuilding Co. of Brunswick, Georgia, in their Wilmington, North Carolina shipyard. The Atlantus was 250 feet long, had a 43foot beam and displaced 2,500 tons. She was completed on November 21st and launched on December 4, 1918. The Atlantus made several Atlantic crossings, and even transported soldiers home from France after World I ended. Cathie Cush reported in UNDERWATER USA that, "Although the concrete hulls were more brittle than steel, the concrete ships were less susceptible to vibration from their 1,400 horsepower oil fired steam engines than their steel counterparts." After the war there was not much need for a concert hulled vessel and the Atlantus was removed from service.

In 1920, the Atlantus was stripped near Norfolk, Virginia. In 1925 her hull was purchased by the National Navigation Co. The firm was planning to start a ferry service from Cape May, New Jersey to Lewes, Delaware. Elaborate plans were made to beach the Atlantus and use her as a ferry terminal. First, a dredge would dig a channel into the beach. The Atlantus would be pushed into the channel, and then a gate would be cut into her stern. A ramp would be built for passenger entry and her superstructure removed so  her decks could accommodate motor vehicles.

Because of mother nature, these grand plans never became a reality. On June 8, 1926, a storm struck the cape. The Atlantus broke free of her mooring and came grounded off Sunset Beach, Cape May. Attempts were made to pull her back into deeper water but they were not successful.

Today, the deteriorating remains of the concrete ship lie in 20 feet of water, with a slight list to her port side. The vessel has broken in half and her superstructure has collapsed. According to Cathie Cush, an avid diver and writer, ";On calm days at slack tide, it's possible to swim out to the concrete ship";  Cathie goes on to say that, " The site can be deceptive, and both divers and snorklers should approach the wreck with care" Its location at the southern tip of New Jersey puts it near the  Mouth of Delaware Bay, making tidal currents a significant consideration. It would be nearly impossible for a diver to swim back to the beach against an outgoing tide."; Gary Gentile in his book "SHIPWRECKS OF NEW JERSEY" warns "; Approaching the wreck from the water one should also be careful of getting impaled on exposed reinforcing rods that face upward through the waves like punji stakes.";

Diver Bill Davis noted on a recent dive that many one and two pound sea bass inhabited the wreckage. Bill also spoke to a fishermen who was anchored to the opposite side of the wreck. The angler had just caught a striped bass and reported that he often catches stripers, blues, weakfish and flounder around the wreck.






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