The wreck of the S.S. Copenhagen is one of the most interesting dive sites in South Florida. Located just off the beach in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, this century-old ship attracts divers from around the world. Beach divers can reach the wreck with a brief surface swim to the reef and a descent to 30 feet, where the wreck rests amid coral, colorful sponges, and a dazzling array of sea life. Spiny lobsters, moray eels, sargeant majors, porkfish, hogfish, snapper, tarpon, snook, sea turtles, and tuna cruise in an unending parade of shapes and color. The first divers each day may see a shy goliath grouper sliding its five-foot bulk into its hide beneath the deck. This is a wreck every beach diver wants in the logbook!
The S.S. Copenhagen departed from Philadelphia on May 20, 1900, bound for Havana with 5,000 tons of coal in its cargo hold. During the night of May 26, the captain sought to avoid the northern influence of the Gulf Stream in his southward journey, so he ventured closer to shore. Unfamiliar with the reefs along the coast, the skipper was within 3/4 of a mile from the beach when the ship struck the reef, holing the hull and lodging itself fast upon the coral and limestone ledge.