Diver Willam Page needs info on sunken U-Boat about 30 miles off of Sarasota, Florida

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From: William Page [mailto:afn32018@afn.org]
Sent: Thursday, November 11, 2004 7:12 AM
To: saintjim
Subject: When you were offline (via Bravenet HumanClick)

I just found your site today and am enjoying it. I have always had an interest in U-Boats, and this past May I even got to dive the U-352 off of North Carolina. I plan more U-Boat dives in the future.

I grew up in the Tampa Bay area and there is a former Navy diver friend who says he saw what he thought was a U-Boat about 30 miles off of Sarasota some years ago. He only had a compass and was unable to find it again. Also, The St. Petersburg Times newspaper ran a story about this same sub in the 1960's from another diver who said he found it. Does anybody have any information on this possible U-Boat?

Most of the "experts" I talk to say that there can not be one there. However, I'm not so sure. I have a compass heading from a point on shore and a depth (80 feet). I am up for looking for it some time and am trying to get additional information. Any would be appreciated. Thanks...
The above message was sent when you were offline, via your HumanClicked site.

Web-Master's Reply

From: J. R. Santos <saintjim>
To: William Page <afn32018@afn.org
Cc: Harry Cooper <sharkhunters@earthlink.net
Date: 11/11/04 10:56:01
PM Subject: RE: When you were offline (via Bravenet HumanClick)

Hello, William:

I will forward your request to Sharkhunters, Interantional. Perhaps Harry Cooper there or some members can help you. I will post your query on my German Uboats page and perhaps some visitor there can help you.

Take what you will info on U-352 from http://uboat.net/boats/u352.htm 

Jim Santos

Sharkhunters, International Reply

From: Harry Cooper [mailto:sharkhunters@earthlink.net]
Sent: Friday, November 12, 2004 2:01 AM
To: afn32018@afn.org
Subject: FW: RE: When you were offline (via Bravenet HumanClick)

SHARKHUNTERS - Official Worldwide Publication of U-Boat History www.sharkhunters.com 

Harry Cooper sharkhunters@earthlink.net Why Wait? Move to EarthLink.

Hi William, Jim Santos sent your message on to us for the definitive reply.

First, it is a nice dive on U-352, isn't it? The Skipper, Helmut Rathke was a Member of Sharkhunters as were several of the crew. The crew HATED - actually HATED - their Skipper and when they had a crew reunion in NC some years back, they not only did not invite Rathke - they sent him a note that he better not show up at the meeting. It's a long story, and we covered it thoroughly in our magazine some years ago.

Suggest you click on www.sharkhunters.com  for the accurate history on the U-Boat war. We have been doing this for 22 years already and most of the surviving Skippers and officers as well as many crewmen have been Members until their passing. Those still living are still Members and it is from them that we receive much of our historical facts. We are the ONLY group in the world that is approved AND helped by the U-Boat veterans.

Now to your main question, but first let me tell you that informed and serious researchers refer to that site you mention as uboat-dot-NOT because of their disregard for accuracy. At best, you may expect perhaps 80% accuracy. We at Sharkhunters do not think that this is acceptable for history and neither do the U-Boat veterans.

You are not going to like the answer, but it is the absolute fact - there are no German U-Boats sunk in any Florida waters at all. None. Zero. Not any. I know this is not what you want to hear but it is fact. I have lived in Florida for 17 years and have heard about this U-Boat sunk off Sarasota - and the one off Tampa - and the one off Ft. Lauderdale - and the one off, well you plug in whichever Florida town you can think of, and according to someone locally, there is a German U-Boat sunk just offshore there. They know it is there because they spoke to someone who told them it was there. Fact is William, there are none sunk in Florida waters.

Too many people make the common error of believing the "locals" but when you check the German records, and the Germans were precise records keepers, check the records and you will learn that every U-Boat that was on patrol off Florida returned to their base so if they all came home - how many can be sunk here? None. I know you aren't going to believe this because it is more glamorous to believe that there really is something still to be found and really William, there still are U-Boats to be found, but not off any Florida coast.

The stories get more and more exotic as you go along - I've been told that the Navy draped a steel net over the wreck of the boat to have a reef grow quickly and cover the boat and that if you anchor above it, the Coast Guard will chase you away. When I ask why - I'm told it is to keep divers from taking all the gold off the boat. U-Boats did not cruise the world's oceans with any gold on board, but it makes a nice story. When I ask why the US Government doesn't just take the gold off the boat themselves - they have no reply.

I find that these people who "KNOW" where these U-Boats are located are almost fanatical in their belief that there really IS a U-boat out there and their friend has really dived it. I always make the same offer - I keep 3200 psi in my tanks at all times and I tell them that I'll go to the bank, pull out $1,500 set aside for this, and if they can put me on the deck of a German U-boat sunk in Florida waters, I'll put this money in their hands when we return to the boat..........and I don't even need to know the numbers for the location. That money is still sitting in the bank, collecting interest. It always turns out that their friend who "actually dived the boat" really heard it from a drunk in a bar who heard it from his Aunt Matilda's pool cleaner who heard it from.....

I know that you aren't convinced - normally people aren't because we all love a mystery but I suggest that you do not invest a lot of money in this search because you will NOT find a German U-Boat sunk in Florida waters.

Okay - I'll modify that a little. U-2513, the boat of my dear friend Erich Topp, was sunk some 200 miles off the Dry Tortugas as a rocket test by an American destroyer.........in November of 1957, some twelve years after the war was over AND a long way from the Florida coast. Sorry that we cannot confirm your theory but William, we've heard them all before. Please check out our website and feel free to contact us if you wish.

As for the uboat-dor-NOT, they report at least two "mystery" U-Boat sunk off our New England coast that aren't there. The website was the victim of a hoax perpetrated on them by two guys we know of who could find a sunken U-Boat in the Great Salt Lake, if someone will put up large amounts of money. Like we said - if 80% accuracy is okay with you, then they are the site. We must remember that they are a free site and you get what you pay for AND it is more or less a clearing house for ideas, thoughts, opinions and ideas from afficianadoes, NOT experts or U-Boat veterans, with nobody checking the accuracy.

Best wishes William, and we hope to hear back from you.

Cordially, Harry Cooper Sharkhunters