Underwater Wakulla

Diving on the USS Accokeek


Hello Wakulla,
Last article I gave you a little history on one of the many wrecks that are around Panama City Beach, so I want to carry on with this article with some more history on another one of my favorite wrecks to dive on.
The USS Accokeek, from here on in this article I will refer to it as the big A. I’m getting this information from the article in the Florida Panhandle Dive Trail. The big A is 143 feet long and 33 feet wide across the beam. It sits in 100 feet of water approximately 12-14 miles off of PCB.
The wheelhouse top is approximately 57 feet down, the bow is 77 feet, the secondary deck is 81 feet, and the stern deck is 85 feet deep. This can be dived with an open water certification but you are limited to the wheel house portion. It certainly meets the criteria for advanced certification and beyond.
I have made many dives on this wreck over the years and I am amazed as to how many different species of fish make this their home.
Let’s talk about a little background of the Big A.
• The Big A was sunk as an artificial reef on July 9, 2000.
• The USS Accokeek traveled the globe as a fleet tug.
• It was built in 1944. The big A began her career in Orange, Texas, and then was deployed to work around the world for 26 years.
• She towed damaged ships from the invasion of Okinawa, traveled the Panama Canal, and assisted navy vessels ranging from cruisers to submarines along the east coast, Lake Michigan, and as far away as the Labrador and the south Atlantic.
• In 1987 it was turned over to the Navy Dive School in Panama City for salvage and ordinance training.
Her exciting life was not yet over. After being repeatedly sunk and refloated, the veteran tug was packed with explosive charges and sunk where she now rests in 100 feet of water for the last time.
When the water has a visibility of 60-80 feet it is a very awesome site to dive and explore.
Thanks to the Florida Panhandle Dive Trail she will remain in the history books and the hearts of many divers from now on.
I know personally I have taken hundreds of advanced student divers on this beautiful wreck and not one of them has had a complaint and they come back on their own to dive this exciting wreck many times over the years, and some have brought their older kids to go diving on her.
Like I said earlier in this article, you should have at least your advanced as a bare minimum to even go on this wreck.
Thank you for letting me share this with you. Until next week keep making bubbles.

Russell Miller is the service tech and scuba instructor at Wakulla Diving Center in Medart. NAUI Instructor #59999