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The Florida Straits, an area where the Gulf Stream closely hugs the south Florida coast, has been a popular shipping lane for centuries. However, the treacherous coral reefs and the sandy shallows of the Keys have claimed many vessels throughout history. Thousands of wrecks sprinkle the Keys, dating from the 1500s to the modern era ranging from the 1500's to modern day vessels. This image shows the hull outline of the Benwood, a merchant marine freighter that was lost off the coast of Key Largo during World War II. The Benwood is one of nine vessels on the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary historic Shipwreck Trail. (photo: Laura Urian - Florida Keys NMS)

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