Program Details

The Missing Galleon: Searching for the San Fernando, the Last of the 1733 Treasure Fleet

William Baxley
Video Catch-up

Course Description

On Friday the 13th, July 1733, a fleet of 20 vessels left Havana for Spain carrying plunder from the Inca empire. Two days later, the entire fleet, save for one vessel, was aground on the Florida Keys. A rescue fleet was dispatched, and several vessels were refloated, yet the treasure galleons and most of the merchant ships remained where they struck the reefs. In the 1960s, the wrecks were rediscovered and once again plundered by salvors. Only one ship, the San Fernando, remains lost to history. A small team of scientists has searched for decades, and now by using modern technology and data analysis, they may have finally discovered the San Fernando. This talk details the historical evidence, the search for clues, and the scientific approach to answering a mystery unsolved for almost 300 years.

About the Instructor

  • William Baxley, P.E. has more than 30 years of experience in ocean engineering and offshore operations, including 16 years as a U.S. Navy test engineer and diving officer. He has been involved in all aspects of ocean technology, including all class of underwater vehicles, advanced diving operations, and deployment/recovery operations of large complex systems. He is proficient in finite element cable and structure modeling and is active in several design projects for ocean energy and academic research projects. He currently serves as Chief Engineer for Florida Atlantic University’s Southeast National Marine Renewable Energy Center (SNMREC). He is responsible for the overall planning, operation, and maintenance of an offshore ocean energy test facility, and all technical support for center users.