For some sailors, the warm beacon of light radiating from Absecon Lighthouse
on the New Jersey coast near Atlantic City was a sign of safe arrival. Others weren’t so lucky–it’s estimated that around 500 ships were stranded or shipwrecked on New Jersey’s southern coast in the years before Absecon Lighthouse was opened in 1857 – and plenty more after.
There are quite a few interesting shipwreck stories in Atlantic City’s past. In 1884, the schooner “Robert Morgan” was grounded on an Atlantic City beach by a severe storm; the city decided to promote the undamaged ship as a tourist attraction, and thousands paid an admission fee to tour the beached boat.
The Almirante, a passenger freighter that sunk in 1918, is also known as “The Flour Wreck” because flour from the ship’s cargo mixed with seawater to form doughy debris that washed up onto the beaches of Atlantic City.
The Brighton ran aground just off the Atlantic City shore in 1903 and was forced to dump nearly 26,000 bunches of bananas overboard. Local opportunists ventured into the waters to collect the jettisoned bananas and re-sold them on the streets of Atlantic City for days afterward! Believe it or not, this was only one of four “Banana Boat” wrecks that occurred near Atlantic City between 1894 and 1924. Several other ships, such as the Collier and the Arundo, were sunk during World War Two by German U-Boats patrolling off the coast of Atlantic City.
Though these vessels may be at the bottom of the sea, it’s still possible to explore them. Atlantic City is one of the top scuba diving destinations around for exploring old shipwrecks. Many scuba divers like to learn about shipwreck stories and then check out the wreck sites and their decades-old artifacts while others enjoy spearfishing, lobster catching and mussel collecting.
If you want to explore an old wreck, check out The Atlantic City Fishing & Dive Center
. The company offers charter trips on its boat, “Miss AC,” to the top scuba diving destinations in the area, including more than 100 wreck sites. Day, evening and night dives are available.