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Theodore Parker (Liberty Ship) (AR-315) - Beaufort NC


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The Theodore Parker is a 441 foot long liberty ship and is resting in 60 feet of water with the highest decks at 30 feet. It is about 4 miles southwest of Beaufort Inlet and a mile and a half off of the beach. Because of the close proximity to the beach, visibility is usually 15-20 feet.

Date Sunk: 1974
Cause: Artificial Reef Program

Size (ft.): Length = 441 x 57 x 37.3 ft.
Gross Tonnage: 7191

Propulsion: Triple Expansion, oil-fired steam

Location:
The ship was built by the California Shipbuilding Corporation, managed by the famous Henry Kaiser and associates. Kaiser, who had never built a ship prior to the Liberty program, developed t he time-saving "prefab" method of shipbuilding. This allowed a liberty ship to be assembled from parts constructed off-site, using labor unskilled in shipbuilding techniques. As a result, the liberty ships were completed much more quickly than was possib le using the more traditional means. In one recording setting effort, the elapsed time from keel-laying to launch was 4 days 15 hours.
Source: L.A. Sawyer and W.H. Mitchell, The Liberty Ships, 2nd Edition, Lloyd’s of London Press, Ltd., 1985

DIVING NOTES:

Diving Depths: 25 ft. at deck ; 50+ ft. bottom

Visibility: less than 30 feet

Current: modest to none

Summer Temperature: hi 70s to lo 80s

Points of Interest: You can do a bit of penetration down in the holds. This is where any machinery, catwalks, etc. remain.

Fish/Animal Life: Varies according to the season, but I have found two sea turtles sleeping down in the holds and it does have a reputation as flounder heaven towards the end of the summer. There are times when it seems absolutely barren while at other times it is literally covered with bait fish.

Description: This is one of those dives that can either be complete bust or a delightful surprise. The wreck is essentially a very large hull with holes cut into the sides. When sunk as artificial reefs, most, if not all of the liberty ships were cut down to at least to the upper deck level, thus removing all of the superstructure and other "interesting" parts. Others were cut down to only 15 feet above the keel! The Parker is no exception. Inside the cargo hol ds is were the interesting structures remain, but not much fish life. There are a lot of easy exit and entry points, so it is relatively safe. Don’t be fooled by the fact that this is a shallow dive on an artificial reef-this is a large ship and it take s a while to swim around it. Also, in bad viz and if anchored in the middle of the deck, it can sometimes be tricky to find your anchor line. Hint: Lookup! You can usually see the shadow of your dive boat in the shallow water. The hull is surrounded by a large and seemingly endless field of old automobile tires. It is a maze out there and all piles of tires look the same after awhile. I have been lost out there several times. There are also several other structures sunk around this site including: surplus military aircraft (added 1992),. two 60 foot barges (added 1989), concrete rubble (1990 and 1992) and steel framing (1989).

Comments

J0n35 - 7 days 4 hours ago.
Rating Added: 2
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Matt736 - 8/31/2013 7:32 PM
Rating Added: 3
Pleasant one tank afternoon dive.
Adam0778 - 12/20/2012 11:21 AM
Rating Added: 3
Good Marine life. Reall cool smoke pipes extending up and covered in reef.
aquaholic32 - 10/18/2012 4:58 AM
Rating Added: 1
No good bad currents even at dead high tide and the vis was 5 to 10ft.

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