A collection of blogs and musings from the people that work at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum - Florida's Finest Lightstation.

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Take a Virtual Dive on Florida's "Museums in the Sea"

FLPreserves.jpg

I thought that folks would be interested in the new webpage produced by the State of Florida, Museums in the Sea. This is a really neat interactive website which allows visitors to explore the history, archaeology, and marine life associated with Florida's eleven different Underwater Archaeology Preserves. These are all shipwrecks off Florida's coastlines which are historically significant and also suitable dive sites for locals and visitors to dive. With the new website, now non-divers can explore them as well!

If you visit the site you will notice there is a significant gap in the coastline of northeast Florida where there are no Preserves. This is mainly due to the poor visibility in our region which we as LAMP divers deal with on a regular basis. One of LAMP's long-term goals, however, has been to identify a shipwreck in our own region which would be appropriate to nominate as a new Preserve. While visibility is the biggest factor for consideration, a Preserve in our region could be marketed towards advanced divers who are experienced in limited visibility waters, and such a wreck could still be a unique experience for qualified divers. We have considered the wreck of the dredge Florida as possible nomination.

I'll leave you all with the latest press release from the State of Florida's Bureau of Archaeological Research announcing the Museums in the Sea webpage:

Florida Department of State
Kurt S. Browning
Secretary of State

For Immediate Release
April 15, 2009

"MUSEUMS IN THE SEA" PROVIDES VIRTUAL DIVE ONTO FLORIDA'S

UNDERWATER ARCHAEOLOGICAL PRESERVES

Tallahassee, FL - Secretary of State Kurt S. Browning today announced the completion of the "Museums in the Sea" project, presenting extensive online resources and information about Florida's 11 Underwater Archaeological Preserves. Visitors to the online site at www.museumsinthesea.com can choose a shipwreck, take a guided underwater tour of the site, watch a narrated history of the vessel, and observe the marine life that lives in the wreckage.

"Museums in the Sea" provides detailed Web tours of Florida's 11 Underwater Archaeological Preserves," said Secretary Browning. "This is another way in which we can share Florida's unique maritime heritage with the world. Now everyone who has access to the Internet can virtually visit Florida's living museums in the sea."

Florida's Underwater Archaeological Preserves combine heritage, ecological and recreational tourism opportunities at 11 shipwreck locations around the state. The program began in 1987 in response to sites that were nominated by local waterfront communities. Since then, the Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research has established the 11 shipwreck parks throughout the state that have become popular attractions for snorkelers and divers.

Each section of the "Museums in the Sea" Web site has photographs and text to accompany the videos, and visitors may download and print the Underwater Preserve brochures and underwater guides. "Museums in the Sea" provides educators with new research material for students, who can use their computers to learn about Florida's maritime history and marine biology, and see environmental changes that can occur to shipwrecks over time.

The interactive Web site was created by the Bureau of Archaeological Research Underwater Archaeology Team and the Florida Center for Interactive Media, with funding assistance from the Department of Environmental Protection, Coastal Management Program and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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Visit "Museums in the Sea" www.museumsinthesea.com

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