Egmont Key wreck could become next state's preserve

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The wreck of the Civil War-era steam tugboat USS Narcissus should be the state’s newest underwater archaeological preserve, Secretary of State Kurt Browning proposed Wednesday. The site, in just 15 feet of water near Egmont Key in the mouth of Tampa Bay, would be the 12th such preserve in Florida waters if given final approval by the Department of State after getting public input. The state Bureau of Archaeological Research has determined that USS Narcissus meets necessary criteria to be made a preserve, and if so designated the site would be made more accessible and better interpreted for divers, with brochures, posters, underwater maps and a website. The site is near one of the busiest shipping lanes in the nation, heading into Tampa Bay. The tugboat was lost in a storm Jan. 3, 1866, but before that was an interesting historical footnote. The vessel, which belonged to the US Navy, was present at the Battle of Mobile Bay

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