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Capt. Shirley J. Brown
The coordinates to the Capt. Shirley Brown Memorial Reef are
30*03.192N -87*34.049W

The Boat built of Cement in 1943 was known to many as the "Tenneco Boat" or "The Concrete Ship". It was owned by longtime Pensacola businessman and commercial tugboat and barge operator Capt. Shirley J Brown who acquired it in the 1980's from the Tenneco Oil Company.

What is known about it is somewhat sketchy. It was built in Saint Marks, Florida during World War II, so the shortage of steel was most likely the reason that it was built from cement and wood rather than steel. At that time many vessels including some cargo ships were being built from "ferro-cement" which imbeded steel rods and wire in the cement to give it strength.

It was built for the Tennessee Gas and Transmission Company which later became known as The Tenneco Oil Company and was docked at their Oil terminal facility on the St. Marks River, south of Tallahassee, Florida. This was the eastern terminus of the Gulf Intercoastal Waterway which runs from St. Marks, Florida to Corpus Cristi, Texas.

It's intended use is subject to conjecture. Some say that it sailed out beyond the 12 mile limit and bigwig polititians were "wined and dined" and who knows what "else" went on!

What we do know is that in the 1980's Tenneco Oil Company put it on their surplus list. Daddy had been towing gasoline & diesel fuel to Tenneco's St. Marks terminal for many years and knew them well and knew the "Tenneco" boat well. After some negotiations, Daddy bought it and towed it back to Brown's Marina in Bayou Chico in Pensacola with one of his tugboats.

There it sat and was used for business and family gatherings, including monthly "tugboat" style breakfasts which became famous area wide.

After Daddy's passing in 2005 the family attempted to either sell or donate it to a good cause but, due to it's deep draft, there were no takers. It was then decided that because Capt Brown and his company, Brown Marine Service, Inc., had been so involved in building artificial reefs in the Gulf of Mexico, almost since the inception of the Artifical Reef programs, that sinking it as a memorial fishing reef in his name was a fitting tribute.

On June 3rd of this year, 2015, it became part of the extensive network of artificial fishing reefs that lie off the coast of Alabama and Florida that help support the offshore recreational fishing industries of those States.

Best Regards - W. Ted Brown, His Son.

Watch a video of the sinking.....

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Photos of The Tenneco Boat & Capt. Brown


Pray for our Armed Forces
Pensacola History on Video

A great video produced for the "History at the next Exit" project. Highlights Pensacola's delightfully rich history!! Click on the Photo to run the video.

Serving Pensacola
& South Alabama.