Centuries-old ship washes ashore in St. Johns County

Image 1 of 12

Researchers from USF traveled to St. Johns County, Florida to study a centuries-old ship that washed ashore Wednesday.

The partial remains of what appears to be the ship’s wooden hull were found along South Ponte Vedra Beach by 8-year-old Patrick Turner and his mom, Julie.

They spotted the wreckage Thursday morning and say they knew immediately the object was a historical artifact, ActionNewsJAX reports.

"It's just amazing that it's intact after this many years," Julie Turner said. "It's unbelievable. being able to see something like this is probably a once in a lifetime thing."

Roman numerals are visible on the wood and pegs that held the bottom of the boat together.

Treasure Shop Owner Mark Anthony said the carvings on the timbers and the wood pegs indicate the boat was being used in the 18th Century.

"This is hard to find under the bottom of the ocean, much less something that floats ashore on our backyard. This is very, very rare. It's like the holy grail of shipwrecks," Anthony said.

Tonya Creamer, of St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum, said researchers have their work cut out for them.

"Taking lots of notes, doing drawings, mapping it out. There are so many details that go into trying to assess the date, where it came from," Creamer said.

Workers from the county's Beach Services Division said they were working to move the hull to higher ground to protect it from high tide.

The St. Johns County Sheriff's Office encouraged residents to send photos of the ship wreckage, in a post on Facebook Saturday. 

"HEADING OUT TO SEE THE SHIPWRECK TODAY?? And when you are out there, snap a few photos and send them our way! You can message us here or email them to jljohnson@sjso.org. Later today, we will share all of them on our page!"