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Desecheo Island Wreck is a boat accessible salt water dive site, located in El Desecheo Island, Puerto Rico. The maximum depth is 26-30ft/8-9m.

Location needs adjusting

Located in the waters just off the treacherous rocks of El Desecheo Island, the second wreck lay in approximately 30 feet of water, near an underwater cavern called Tornado Cave. The entire area surrounding the wreck is designated on some maps as a Navy "unexploded ordnance disposal area." The wreck site, while proving difficult to reach, provides a spectacular visual panorama. The vessel appeared to have been of wood hull construction but with steel engine beds for a pair of straight eight-cylinder internal combustion engines. At the end of each propeller shaft was a three-bladed screw. The configuration of the vessel and the character of wreck-related debris provides a possible indication that the vessel may have been some sort of local military patrol craft.

Following the completion of the survey, Naval Historical Center shipwreck database manager Barbara Voulgaris extracted from the computerized database all known Navy wrecks in Puerto Rican waters. From this list, one possible candidate emerged: the U.S. Coast Guard district patrol vessel EM Dow (WYP 353), formerly the Menhaden type fishing vessel Annie Dow, an emergency government wartime acquisition under charter by the Coast Guard (the prefix EM signified "emergency manning"). Dow measured 134 feet 3 inches in length, 21 feet 7 inches in beam, and 10 feet 8 inches in draft, and possessed a gross tonnage of 241 tons. Stationed out of San Juan, Dow was assigned to duty as part of the Caribbean Sea Frontier.

On 14 October 1943, near Mayaguez, approximately one mile south of the Point Higuero Lookout Station, the crew of Dow was forced to abandon their foundering vessel in a strong gale. Fortunately, the crew suffered no casualties, but Dow was driven onto the rocks by the storm. The wreck was reportedly sold to a local salvor on 20 August 1948 for its hull and fittings. Significantly, Point Higuero is located almost directly across the channel from El Desecheo Island. However, this potential identity for the El Desecheo vessel has not yet been confirmed.

Further research is necessary to confirm or eliminate a connection with Dow. Significantly, there is a discrepancy between the number of engines possessed by Dow and the number possessed by the wreck. According to the Office of the Coast Guard Historian, Dow was powered by a single engine and propeller, while the 1996 assessment of the wreck revealed a twin engine, shaft, and screw configuration. Further comparison is necessary in regard to the El Desecheo vessel’s overall dimensions, powerplant configuration, and location relative to what is historically recorded for Dow. Additional research is necessary regarding whether the vessel might have been refloated and sunk near El Desecheo. If not Dow, perhaps the wreck is that of another USCG vessel lost under similar circumstances. Still-unresearched archival records may reveal the answers.

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