It is somewhat difficult to believe that surface storms can radically impact the submerged shipwrecks we so much enjoy diving.
Many of South Florida’s wreck diving sites were drastically altered as a result of a series of major storms. Namely Hurricane Irma (2017). In fact, when hurricane Irma occurred many then recently updated dive maps were rendered obsolete. This as they were in their final stages of pre-release production.
Hurricane Irma was a Category 4 storm with winds of up to 130 miles per hour. Needless to say, she had a definite effect on more than just a few of South Florida’s wrecks, even the deep ones..
“Okinawa — the newest site, and therefore one of the more structurally solid — had been facing south at 70 feet,” Popple says. “Irma moved the wreck more than 200 feet across the sand and turned it to face southwest.”
The creators of Reef Smart Guides found that many such changes had occurred to the wrecks off of Broward County Florida. The silver lining in this is that it offers them the opportunity to use their detailed 3D modeling of submerged wrecks to document the before an dafter effects of a major storm on submerged wrecks.