In the 19th Century shipwreckers along the treacherous Florida reef were numerous. Fishermen and spongers (the sponge trade) turned to wrecking as a means of livelihood, almost every seaworthy vessel in Key West quickly responded to the exciting cry “Wreck Ashore” to earn whatever share they could in the great wealth that the golden age of wrecking brought to the island city.
Seen here is a replica of the Sloop Mary wrecking / work boat owned by Charles & Asa Tift successful wrecking brothers. To find out more about the wrecking industry and its history, the Sloop Mary is located only 50′ away from the Shipwreck History Museum to its right here in Mallory Square. To see Key West’s Sloop Mary is FREE and is centrally located in the heart of ‘Old Town’ Key West.