Michael C. Barnette

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Michael C. Barnette is an accomplished diver, author, photographer and founder of the Association of Underwater Explorers.[1]

Background and personal life[edit]

Barnette was born on September 1971 in Fredericksburg, VA.[2] In 1989, he graduated from Stafford Senior High School. Then, he attended the University of South Carolina, graduating in 1995 with a degree in Marine Biology. Barnette is married and currently resides in Saint Petersburg, FL.


Barnette works for the NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service as a marine biologist.[3][4] His current duties include protecting sea turtles by making sure fishing fleets worldwide are utilizing turtle excluder devices.[5] Barnette was made a fellow of The Explorers Club in March 2009.

Association of Underwater Explorers[edit]

Barnette has been actively diving and researching shipwrecks since 1990, resulting in the identification of over 30 wreck sites.[1] In 1996, Barnette founded the Association of Underwater Explorers (AUE), an organization dedicated to expanding understanding of submerged cultural resources.[6][7]

Expeditions and projects[edit]

In 2005 Barnette participated in the recovery of a B-25c Mitchell bomber from Lake Murray (South Carolina), working with divers from AUE, the Rubicon Foundation, and Woodville Karst Plain Project[8][9] under Explorers Club flag number 103.[10] This bomber had been ditched in the lake on April 4, 1943, and remained 45 meters (148 ft) below the surface for 60 years. The recovery effort was headed by Dr. Robert Seigler and supervised by Gary Larkins of the Air Pirates.[8][11] The project was documented by the History Channel and televised on their show Mega Movers.[8] The plane is now being preserved by the Southern Museum of Flight in Birmingham, Alabama.[9]

A year later, in 2006, Barnette was part of the History Channel's expedition to the HMHS Britannic led by explorers John Chatterton and Richie Kohler.[12] Titanic's Achilles Heel was the first documentary to be released from this expedition, on June 17, 2007.[13] The documentary Titanic's Tragic Sister also featured details from this expedition, and first aired on October 14, 2007.[14]

Barnette's recovery of Oculina varicosa from the Gulf of Mexico in 2006 allowed researchers to confirm its existence as a species of concern in abundance in the Gulf.[15] In 2009, Barnette returned to collect coral samples for testing that identified the species as genetically identical to Oculina varicosa found off the eastern coast of Florida.[16][17]

When the Eagle's Nest cave system needed new guidelines in 2007, Barnette and AUE took on the task of replacing the old line as well as removing unnecessary lines.[18]

In January 2020, Barnette, along with fellow explorers, discovered what they believed to be a 95-year-old ship, the SS Cotopaxi, which had disappeared near the Bermuda Triangle in 1925.[19] The boat had departed from Charleston, South Carolina, carrying 32 passengers and never made it to its final destination, Havana, Cuba. Barnette sought help from historians and researchers to ensure that it was the SS Cotopaxi. In doing so, he learned that the ship had sent a distress signal two days into its voyage from a location that aligns with where the wreckage was found. The discovery was featured on a February episode of Shipwreck Secrets, a Science Channel series. In 2020, he identified the wreck of the Sandra, which was reported lost in the Bermuda Triangle in April 1950; the discovery was featured in the History Channel documentary "History's Greatest Mysteries: Expedition Bermuda Triangle." Barnette has been featured in multiple television documentaries on shipwrecks associated with the Bermuda Triangle that have aired on The Discovery Channel, National Geographic, History Channel, and The Learning Channel.[20][21]

Shipwreck identification[edit]

Barnette has been active in the identification of numerous shipwrecks that include:



  • Barnette, Michael C. (2003). Shipwrecks of the Sunshine State: Florida's Submerged History. Association of Underwater Explorers. ISBN 0-9743036-0-7. Archived from the original on February 19, 2009. Retrieved June 5, 2009.
  • Barnette, Michael C. (2008). Florida's Shipwrecks. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7385-5413-6.[1]
  • Barnette, Michael C. (2010). Encyclopedia of Florida Shipwrecks: Volume I, Atlantic Coast. Association of Underwater Explorers. ISBN 978-0-9743036-1-1.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Newman, Sandi (September 2008). "BOOK REVIEW Images of America: Florida's Shipwrecks By Michael Barnette". Scuba News. 25 (9): 10. Archived from the original on April 27, 2009. Retrieved June 4, 2009.
  2. ^ Hobbs, Gene (2014). "DAN Member Profile: Michael Barnette". Alert Diver. Divers Alert Network. Retrieved May 20, 2014.
  3. ^ National Marine Fisheries Service (January 12, 2006). "Status report on the continental United States distinct population segment of the goliath grouper (Epinephelus itajara)" (PDF): 49. Retrieved June 5, 2009. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  4. ^ Barnette, Michael C. (November 24, 2005). "Authorized use of restricted tow times for shrimp trawlers in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and certain parts of Texas" (PDF). Southeast Fishery Bulletin. FB05-064. Retrieved June 5, 2009.
  5. ^ "National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; 50 CFR Part 223; Endangered and Threatened Wildlife; Sea Turtle Conservation Requirements" (PDF). Federal Register. 72 (52): 12749. March 19, 2007. Retrieved June 5, 2009.
  6. ^ "AUE: about us". Association of Underwater Explorers. Retrieved June 4, 2009.
  7. ^ a b Cocking, Susan (August 8, 2002). "For shipwreck-hunting crew, a diving passion runs deep". Miami Herald. Retrieved June 4, 2009.
  8. ^ a b c Vartorella, Bill. "B-25 WWII plane retrieved from depths of Lake Murray". The Columbia Star. Archived from the original on May 18, 2008. Retrieved June 5, 2009.
  9. ^ a b "Rubicon Foundation: B-25c Project". Rubicon Foundation, Inc. Archived from the original on January 28, 2016. Retrieved June 5, 2009.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  10. ^ "Into the Field: Approved Flag Expeditions". Explorers Club. Archived from the original on October 11, 2008. Retrieved June 5, 2009.
  11. ^ Air Pirates (May 4, 2006). "Lake Murray B-25C Recovery". Archived from the original on March 16, 2006. Retrieved June 5, 2009.
  12. ^ Kohler, Carrie. "The 2006 History Channel H.M.S Britannic Expedition". Silent Diving Systems LLC. Retrieved June 5, 2009.
  13. ^ "Titanic's Achilles Heel (2007) (TV)". The Internet Movie Database. Retrieved June 5, 2009.
  14. ^ "Titanic's Tragic Sister (2007) (TV)". The Internet Movie Database. Retrieved June 5, 2009.
  15. ^ a b Barnette, Michael C. (2006). "Observations of the deep-water coral Oculina varicosa in the Gulf of Mexico" (PDF). NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-SEFSC-535: 12. Retrieved June 4, 2009.
  16. ^ Armstrong, Brian (September 5, 2009). "Oculina Coral Collection". Retrieved May 12, 2011.
  17. ^ staff. "Gulf of Mexico Oculina varicosa Project". Rubicon Foundation. Archived from the original on March 26, 2012. Retrieved September 21, 2011.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  18. ^ Barny00 (Michael C. Barnette). "Eagle's Nest status". Cave Diver's Forum. Retrieved June 5, 2009.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  19. ^ a b "Wreck found believed to be 95-year-old ship that vanished near Bermuda Triangle". www.kake.com. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
  20. ^ "Return To The Bermuda Triangle". The Learning Channel. October 24, 2010. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |url= (help)
  21. ^ Armstrong, Brian. "the Bermuda Triangle". Retrieved May 12, 2011.
  22. ^ Morgan, Curtis (July 10, 2005). "Underwater trail highlights shipwrecks off Miami". Miami Herald. Archived from the original on May 18, 2009. Retrieved June 4, 2009.
  23. ^ Cocking, Susan (August 25, 2002). "Shipwrecked Esmeralda found off Key Biscayne". Miami Herald. Archived from the original on May 18, 2009. Retrieved June 4, 2009.
  24. ^ Tomalin, Terry (June 18, 2004). "Mystery solved". St. Petersburg Times. Archived from the original on May 18, 2009. Retrieved June 4, 2009.
  25. ^ Barnette, Michael C. "Identity Crisis - Finding a Name for the Middlegrounds Wreck". Advanced Diver Magazine (17). Archived from the original on May 18, 2009. Retrieved June 4, 2009.
  26. ^ a b "AUE (Association of Underwater Explorers) IDENTIFY the MUNGER T BALL and the JOSEPH M CUDHAY in the Gulf of Mexico". Electric Blue Fishing. Archived from the original on February 2, 2009. Retrieved June 4, 2009.
  27. ^ Hicks, Brian (October 20, 2007). "Anchor Wreck: A century after the Leif Eriksson was lost to the sea, divers think they have solved a shipwreck mystery". The Post and Courier. Retrieved June 4, 2009.
  28. ^ Tomalin, Terry (September 5, 2008). "The mystery of the South Jack Wreck". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved June 4, 2009.
  29. ^ a b c Barnette, Michael C. (2006). "Scrambled History: A Tale of Four Misidentified Tankers" (PDF). Wreck Diving Magazine. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 28, 2007. Retrieved June 4, 2009.
  30. ^ Barnette, Michael C. (2005). "But For a Single Wave: The tragic loss and recent identification of the steamship Peconic". Wreck Diving Magazine. Archived from the original on May 18, 2009. Retrieved June 4, 2009.
  31. ^ Barnette, Michael C. "Trip report May 9–10, 2009: Point Chicot". Association of Underwater Explorers. Archived from the original on July 19, 2011. Retrieved June 4, 2009.
  32. ^ Barnette, Michael C. "THE QUEEN OF NASSAU: HOW ONE OF CANADA'S FIRST WARSHIPS ENDED UP OFF THE FLORIDA KEYS". Archived from the original on May 18, 2009. Retrieved June 4, 2009.
  33. ^ Casserley, T (2003). "A Ram Bow in the Keys: Latest findings from the Investigation of the Steamer Queen of Nassau". In: SF Norton (Ed). 2003. Diving for Science...2003. Proceedings of the 22nd Annual Scientific Diving Symposium. Greenville, North Carolina: American Academy of Underwater Sciences. Archived from the original on April 15, 2013. Retrieved June 4, 2009.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  34. ^ Tomalin, Terry (March 5, 2007). "Underwater discovery unravels mystery: A Coast Guard plane was lost in 1967 answering a distress call". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved June 4, 2009.
  35. ^ Sondra-Kay, Kneen (2007). "Albatross Discovered" (PDF). Coast Guard Magazine (4). Retrieved June 4, 2009.
  36. ^ "AUE identifies the VALLEY CITY (Formerly the USS VALLEY CITY)". Association of Underwater Explorers. September 9, 2009. Retrieved September 14, 2009.
  37. ^ Tomalin, Terry (January 11, 2005). "History is hiding beneath gulf sands". St. Petersburg Times. Archived from the original on May 18, 2009. Retrieved June 4, 2009.

External links[edit]