Netflix's 'Outer Banks': All the real shipwrecks in the 'Graveyard of the Atlantic' that the show is based on

Netflix's 'Outer Banks': All the real shipwrecks in the 'Graveyard of the Atlantic' that the show is based on
(Fraser Nivens/Florida Keys News Bureau via Getty Images)

In Netflix's upcoming series 'Outer Banks', a group of kids known as the Pogues set out to locate the shipwreck of the fictional Royal Merchant in order to find a treasure worth $400 million. The show is also filled with intrigue, mystery, romance and other elements required of a teen drama.

'Outer Banks' may not be the first show surrounding shipwrecks and treasures targeting young adults. There was an Australian show called 'Ocean Star' from the 2000s that featured a group of kids looking for a rare star-shaped pearl.

However, 'Outer Banks' is unique in that adults are very much likely to enjoy the 10-episode long show along with younger audiences. The show is set in the eponymously named Outer Banks, a 200-mile-long (320 km) stretch of barrier islands and spits off the coast of North Carolina and Virginia.

A major tourist destination, the treacherous seas of the Outer Banks have even given the surrounding seas the nickname "Graveyard of the Atlantic" because of a large number of shipwrecks. More than 5,000 ships have sunk in the area since record-keeping began nearly 500 years ago.


The history of the Outer Banks is, in fact, the stuff of legends. One of the most famous shipwrecks in the area was that of the USS Monitor, which was part of a naval battle in 1862 during the American Civil War. The Monitor sank on December 31, 1862, off Cape Hatteras. 

Another interesting story is that of the lost town of Wash Woods, in Virginia. According to legend, the town was founded by survivors of a shipwreck who waded ashore centuries ago and decided to stay. It has been abandoned since the 1930s, except for the Life Saving Station which remained operational until the mid-1950s.


The first recorded shipwreck off the coast of North Carolina was in 1526 when a wreck was reported off the mouth of the Cape Fear River. In the early years before European colonialism commenced, a large number of explorers who came to the area had to travel through the Graveyard of the Atlantic to get to the mainland.

Even the legendary pirate Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard lost his flagship, Queen Anne's Revenge near present-day Beaufort Inlet in June of 1718. The wreck was discovered in 1996 following which many expeditions were conducted. 


In August 1750, at least three Spanish merchantmen ran aground in off North Carolina during a hurricane. El Salvador sank near Cape Lookout, Nuestra Señora de Soledad went ashore on near present-day Core Banks and Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe went ashore near present-day Ocracoke Island.

Today, tourists can even visit some of the sites of the shipwrecks in Outer Banks by swimming, SUPing, kayaking or scuba diving. Shipwrecks that are accessible include those of the Huron which sank in 1877, the Oriental which sank in 1862, and the Pocahontas which sank in 1852 among others.


Season 1 of 'Outer Banks' will be released on Netflix on April 15 at 12 am PT.

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