The Texas Tower is not a
shipwreck, but it is one of New Jersey’s premier
offshore diving destinations. The towers were a set of
off-shore radar stations manned by the U.S. Air Force
during the Cold War era. The name came from their
likeness to the oil drilling platforms first used in the
Gulf of Mexico.
They were used as part of
an early warning defense system off the east coast of
the United States. In 1954 the Air Force approved the
construction of 5 towers, but only 3 were ever built:
Tower 2 – Georges Shoal,
110 miles off the coast of Cape Cod
Tower 3 – Nantucket Shoal,
100 miles S.E. of Rhode
Tower 4 – Unnamed Shoal,
84 miles S.E. of New York City
Tower 4 was constructed in
the deepest water (185ft) and had problems early on.
Nicknamed “Old Shakey”, it required continuous
maintenance. In September of 1960 it suffered extensive damage
from Hurricane “Donna”.
Repairs were planned as
soon as the weather permitted, but during a fierce
winter storm on January 15, 1961, the tower collapsed
into the sea.
Twenty-Eight airmen and
civilian contractors were manning the tower at the time
of the collapse. No one survived. Within 2 years the
remaining towers were decommissioned and shortly after
A government film showing life aboard Tower No. 2.