ShipwreckExpo
THOUSAND ISLANDS SHIPWRECKS  Free online Guide to NY and Canadian Shipwrecks
Historical and current Thousand Island Shipwreck Information and images for scuba divers, fisherman and marine historians.
             

 

 

 

   Capt. Dan Berg's Wreck Valley Collection   

 
All text and photos, unless otherwise indicated are courtesy Louie Schreiner. Louie had this shipwreck information posted on his original dive club Northeast Aquanauts website. Now offline, he has now granted permission to re-post his information and text for all divers to enjoy. As with our other pages we invite divers to submit additional information and images.
   
 
Shipwreck Name   Shipwreck Name
A.E. Vickery Shipwreck
America  Shipwreck
Comet Shipwreck
Conestoga Shipwreck
Empress of Ireland
George A. Marsh
Harvey J. Kendall
Iroquois Shipwreck
Islander Shipwreck
  Keystorm Shipwreck
Kingshorn Shipwreck
Lillie Parsons Shipwreck
Maggie L Shipwreck
Rothesay Shipwreck
Roy A. Jodery Shipwreck
Wolfe Islander II
 
   America  Shipwreck


Sunk on June 20Th 1932, this is not a shipwreck but, is a steel drilling barge that sunk due to an explosion on her and now rests in 75ft of water in the shipping lanes of the St. Lawrence Seaway. After following the marker buoy you come to a shoal after following the shoal you can reach the barge in 55ft of water, then continue to explore the rest of her upside down remains.

America  Shipwreck thousand islandsPhoto Of Rich Micus VP Of The Northeast Aquanauts Dive Club
Hanging Onto The Americas Anchor

NOTE....
This wreck always has a strong current present on her and this wreck is not for the beginner diver due to it being in the shipping lanes and her current but, it is a nice dive for those with the experience to dive her.
 

     Comet Shipwreck


comet shipwreck Thousand Islands  The Comet has a rather sad story. It was built in Portsmouth, Ontario, in 1848, it was over 174 ft long and had its first accident when it hit a shoal in the St. Lawrence River and sank. The boat was refloated, repaired, and was once again back in service. Then, it had its second accident in November 1849, near Toronto, when a steam pipe exploded killing two persons and wounding another badly. The third accident killed eight persons when the boiler exploded at Oswego in 1851. The boat sank and was once more refloated and renamed The Mayflower. It took back its original name, the Comet, in 1854.
Finally, on May 15, 1861, it collided with the schooner The Exchange. It was hit at the helm and sank taking with it 2 of her crew.. Six divers found the wreck in October 1967, after searching for it for 5 years.
The Comet now sits in 70 to 80 ft of water upright half intact with her decking broken mid-ship and her deck planks scattered about like a junk heap. The paddle wheel is intact still and a nice place for picture takers to get a nice shot of their dive buddy.

 

 


   

      

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     Conestoga Shipwreck


Conestoga shipwreck shipwreck Thousand IslandsThe "Connie" located in the old canal lies upstream from Cardinal, Ontario. This is a favorite dive site for Canadian & US Divers this is a shore dive with ample parking for those that want to visit her. The Conestoga was 252 ft long, 36 ft wide and sank on May 22, 1922 she lies in 30 ft of water and has a strong current present on her but, by divers swimming inside her remains one can enjoy a current free dive while exploring her interior.


Louie's wife Gina (Center) with bottles found in the area of the Conestoga Shipwreck. Photo courtesy Louie Schreiner.

Bottles found by Louie Schreiner in the area around the Conestoga Shipwreck site.

     RMS Empress of Ireland Shipwreck


Empress of Ireland shipwreck shipwreck Thousand IslandsA tragedy almost equal to the Titanic's unfolded in the fog-shrouded St. Lawrence River in the spring of 1914, only a few months before the outbreak of the Great War. Ironically, had both ships involved exercised less caution, the accident would likely not have happened.
 
The culprit was fog, but a fog peculiar to the St. Lawrence at this time of year, when the warm air of late spring encounters a river chilled by icy melted water. The two main actors in the drama were the Canadian Pacific steamship Empress of Ireland, outbound from Quebec, and the Norwegian collier Storstad, steaming upriver and loaded to the waterline. Their stage was a stretch of water just east of Rimouski near the St. Lawrence's south shore, where the river opens up and navigation becomes simple and safer. The Empress, having just dropped her pilot at Father Point, was still quite close to shore. The Storstad, about to pick up her pilot for the voyage up river to Montreal, was hugging the coastline. The ships sighted each other near 2:00 a.m. on May 29, until then a calm, clear night. On the bridge of the Empress of Ireland,
Captain Henry Kendall guessed that the approaching ship was roughly eight miles away, giving him ample time to cross her bow before he set his course for more open water. When he judged he was safely beyond the collier's path, he did so. If he held his new course, the two ships should pass starboard side to starboard side, comfortably apart. Movements after he had executed this maneuver, a creeping bank of fog swallowed the Norwegian ship, then the Empress.

Although nothing like the Titanic in terms of size and elegance, the Empress of Ireland was the class of the Liverpool-Quebec City run that linked Canadian Pacific's steamships with its transcontinental railroad. Celebrities on board were few, notably the actor Laurence Irving, famous son of the legendary Henry, and his wife, the actress Mabel Hackney, returning from a successful Canadian tour. They and most of the other passengers, which included roughly 170 members of the Salvation Army heading to a big convention in London, were by this time of night sound asleep. So were most of the crew.

Worried by the fog and the proximity of the other ship, Captain Kendall gave three blasts on his whistle, indicating to the other ship that he was ordering his engines full astern. Soon the 14,191 ton liner had slowed to a crawl, but Kendall kept her bow pointing on the course he had chosen and waited for a clear sign that the other ship was safely past. The next thing he saw were two masthead lights materializing out of the murk to starboard and heading straight at him. The two ships were already too close to avoid a collision, but Kendall ordered a sharp turn to starboard in a vain attempt to swing his stern enough away from the approaching vessel that it would deliver a glancing blow. The impact when it came was deceptively gentle.

  The Storstad's bow, however, "had gone between the liner's steel ribs as smoothly as an assassin's knife," wrote James Croall in his account of the disaster. And the wound was fatal.
Water poured into the starboard side of the ship so fast that most of the people sleeping in starboard cabins didn't have a chance. There was no time for the prerogatives of class to be tested, beyond the simple reality that residents of the higher-up first-class cabins were more likely to have some chance of survival. As the Empress of Ireland listed sharply to starboard, water began rushing into portholes left open despite the rule requiring their closure once a voyage was under way. The list quickly became so extreme that only five or six boats could be successfully launched. After 10 minutes, the liner lurched and lay on her side with hundreds of passengers perched on her hull, a situation that momentarily seemed "like sitting on a beach watching the tide come in," according to one survivor.
A mere 14 minutes after the collision, she sank.
And by the time the last nearly frozen survivor had been fished from the water, the death toll was staggering. Of the 1,477 on board, 1,015 lost their lives, 840 were passengers, 175 crew members eight more than had died when the Titanic sank. What had happened?
 

According to the first mate of the Storstad, is he did not awaken Captain Anderson ( Picture On Left ) till after all the crucial decisions had been made, he and his colleagues on the bridge had distinctly seen the Empress of Ireland's red navigational light just before the fog closed in. If that were true, that red light meant her portside was showing, which signaled that the big ship had turned to pass them to portside. And this is what the men on the Storstad's bridge assumed. After a few minutes groping blindly forward, the Storstad's mate grew nervous and ordered the collier to turn to starboard, away from what he now presumed to be the other ship's course. In reality he was turning the Storstad into the Empress's side.

Captain Kendall, who had been thrown off his bridge when the ship lurched onto its beam ends, swore to his dying day that he had altered course cleanly and maintained it faithfully as the fog closed in. He always blamed Norwegian negligence for the disaster. "You have sunk my ship!" were practically the first words he uttered when he was pulled on board the Storstad to encounter her skipper. But perhaps his helmsman had swung her too far before she settled in on her proper course. Perhaps, as one of his crew later testified, there was a problem with the steering that caused his ship to wobble unpredictably on her course. Or perhaps the many lights of the brightly lit passenger vessel confused those on board the Storstad. No one will ever know for sure. For certain, fog had once again proved to be a treacherous enemy. Yet had the two ships simply kept their courses and held their speeds, they would have passed each other without incident.

Coming as it did so soon after the sinking of the Titanic, the loss of the Empress of Ireland underlined the difficulty of building a ship that couldn't sink, even of building a ship guaranteed to sink so slowly that rescue was inevitable. True, the Storstad was the worst imaginable ship that could collide with the liner. Her longitudinal bracing, designed to break through ice, made her a lethal weapon; the fact that she was fully loaded meant she punctured the Empress well below the waterline. (She penetrated the liner to a depth of at least 25 feet and left a gaping a hole at least 14 feet wide.) The Empress sank too fast for her safety features to be fully operational. She had enough lifeboats for all her passengers and crew but could not launch them in time. Many of her watertight doors, operated manually, could not be closed with the ship listing sharply and water rushing in.

But despite the scale of the tragedy, it never achieved anything like the Titanic's fame or enduring fascination. The Empress of Ireland was not a particularly famous or fashionable ship, and she sank so soon before the outbreak of the war that attention soon shifted to graver matters. The commission of inquiry, chaired by the same Lord Mersey who presided over the hearings into the sinking of both the Titanic and the Lusitanian, was held in Quebec City, far from the international limelight. But the lessons from the Empress of Ireland's demise would have to be relearned barely 40 years later during the sinking of the Andrea Doria, when once again fog proved more than a match for the latest in seagoing technology.
 
Exploring the Empress of Ireland
by Robert Ballard

Today the Empress of Ireland lies in about 130 feet of water, well within the reach of scuba divers. But, because the St. Lawrence is a frigid 34 degrees Fahrenheit even in summer and has tidal currents that run up to five knots and can limit visibility, this is a dive for experts.
Nevertheless, the Empress has been visited hundreds of times since it was "rediscovered" in the mid-1980s. Some divers have treated the wreck with respect and increased our knowledge of her tragedy; others have left a trail of senseless damage.

Modern divers follow a highway that was blasted into the heart of the ship in the summer of 1914, mere weeks after the disaster. Canadian Pacific hired a salvage company to retrieve the first-class mail, the purser's safe and $150,000 in silver bullion (more than $2 million today). Descending through the explosion hole down to the first-class baggage and mail room, one will encounter a dangerous tangle of wire and an interior debris field of shattered suitcases and their decaying contents.

Although the ship rests on a gravel, sediment-free river bottom, the insides of the Empress of Ireland are half-hidden by the silt steadily deposited by the St. Lawrence River over the years. Because the ship rests at so sharp an angle, the starboard side of every interior room is buried, along with all the items set loose as the ship sank. In the mail room, one diver discovered a whole box of neatly bundled and tied newspapers, the paper still white, the type still readable, dated May 27, 1914, the day before the ship left port. The next time he returned, the silt had shifted, burying the evidence.

In the ship's dining saloon, oak chairs and tables appear to float in the silt like flotsam and the remains of light fixtures dangle from the steeply angled ceiling. In the adjoining pantry, most of the first-class china that was still in its racks as late as the early 1980s is now gone, as are most other moveable objects in the accessible regions of the wreck, including the ship's bell, one of its propellers, the main bridge telegraph and the telemeter.
Sadly, some divers have even taken the bones of the more than 1,000 people who died when the Empress of Ireland went down.

                  
     
           

 

     Iroquois Shipwreck

  One of the oldest shipwrecks dove in the Seaway this wreck served both the French & British. The Iroquois also know as the "Anson" was built in 1759 and sits near the foot of the Niagara Shoal in 80 ft of water, a mild current is present on the wreck and she is a joy to explore.
This wreck was referred to us by a local dive group official as "Two Sticks In The Mud" this person couldn't have spent much time diving her remains to have given her such a bad rap. I found her to be a  wonderful high ribbed structure with all her ribs remaining, this is what divers envision an old shipwreck to look like after many years below the waves. The history alone on such a wreck makes it a
must dive shipwreck while visiting The Thousand Islands.
Below Pictures were taken by Dennis Johnson while Joe Radomski &
Louie Schreiner filmed The Iroquois.
Iroquois shipwreck shipwreck Thousand Islands   

   

 

     Islander Shipwreck


Islander shipwreck shipwreck Thousand Islands
The Islander wreck sits on 50 feet offshore from this building in Alexandra Bay. Photo by Dan Berg

This side-wheel steamship is one of The Northeast Aquanaut Club Members favorite shore dives. This wreck site is located in Alexandria Bay, NY and ample parking can be found at the site, as well as park benches for divers to gear up on. Some of The Islanders jobs before her sinking was serving as a mail carrier and then taking people on river boat tours. On September 16, 1909 while at dock the Islander caught fire and burned sending her to the bottom. The wreck can be reached in 15 ft of water and a diver will max out at 75 ft, she sits on a slight angle and is a wonderful dive site. * A must do dive while in the area*
   

   

I'm adding this next bit of information not to dwell on the death of a diver but, for someone to learn from this so, it does not repeat itself to another. This was an unnecessary death !

In July Of 2004 a diver lost his life on this relatively easy dive site. The diver was trying to find artifacts by using a (DPV) an underwater scooter. He was blowing holes under a part of the main wreckage. (look at photo1 above) You can clearly see the sediment against the wreckage and the angle the wreck sits at. This mud and silt was then removed from the starboard side of the wreckage taking away all support from that side of the wreck thus, weakening the wall of mud and debris that contoured that bank, using the (DPV).
The diver has now placed himself in an overhead environment under the wreckage and mud bank , in the hole he has made.


(Remember This Wreck Was Burnt To The Water Line) making the wood soft and unstable, now add all these factors together/ 
                 1-The removal of the wall of sediment (The Contoured Bottoms Mud Bank)
                 2- The removal of support from the main wreckage (The Sediment)
                 3- The fact that the ship was burnt to the waterline!

All of these things caused the bank wall and wreckage to cave in (Trapping the diver in his makeshift tomb)


An excerpt from our 2004 dive trip report....

My last day of diving ended on a somber note for me as I dove the Islander and came across the makeshift Shrine (I assumed) that was left for the diver that had lost his life on this wreck a few weeks ago. I swam past the spot where he was trapped by the Wreckage and wondered how many times had this guy dove this relatively shallow dive. Then a reality check hit me; the sport that I love (that we all love) can be a very unforgiving sport. All it takes is that one lapse of judgment.........
Our hearts goes out to this divers family!!!

bottle hunting shipwreck Thousand Islands

Rick Schwartz, Ed Slater, Mel Brenner and Steve Bielenda with bottles recovered from the area around the Islander Wreck.

   Lillie Parsons Shipwreck

Lillie Parsons shipwreck Thousand Islands

Diver Louie Schreiner writes

"I had the opportunity of running a 50 ft vessel from Clayton, Ny to Brockville, Ontario on a few occasions during my years as a scuba diver. I will never forget navigating the St. Lawrence Seaway with that 50ft vessel with a single screw and on a windy day boy was that fun and using only my hand held Garmin GPS and a few navigating charts.....WOW!

 
It was some of the best times I had on The St. Lawrence, seeing those super tankers and cargo ship passing by me in the middle of the night as I navigated the seaway so, that I could hit every possible shipwreck for my scuba divers during our weeks on the waterway.
 
One wreck that sticks out in my head is the shipwreck called The Lillie Parsons. The Lillie Parsons was built in Tonawanda, NY in 1868 as a fore & aft rigged centerboard schooner, she was sailing towards Brockville, Canada with a load of coal when she ran into a sudden squall that shifted her cargo, pushing the ship against Sparrow Island on Aug. 5th 1877.
 
After taking a pounding while pinned against the island, she listed taking on water and rolled sink the ship to the bottom where she now lays upside down with her mast pointing toward the channel and her cargo of coal scattered in and around the vessel. 
 
To find your way down to this wreck site a diver just needs to anchor in the cove of Sparrow Island and swim in the cove to the island finding the anchor of the shipwreck. Now here's the catch, once you find that anchor and start pulling yourself down the chain to the wreck site which is in 70 ft of water at the bottom. You will find the current to be very strong. If you let go of this anchor chain you will find yourself going for a ride so, once you get to the bottom stay low to the river bottom and use the wreck to block the current when possible.
 
When we arrived on this site, only half of the divers I had on our vessel made it to the bottom the rest aborted the dive because they FEARED THAT CHAIN and the current. I had to laugh at the end of the day with all my divers because the first diver to get on the wreck was my wife standing a whole 4`11 and when she came up after spending an hour on the bottom she looked at the faces of fear on some of our friends and the jokes began for the rest of the day !
 
An added note:
While on the wreck, I was told that divers for years would attempt to WALK THE KEEL by facing into the strong current and try to walk the length of the keel from stern to bow then, hitting the bottom, going back to the stern to explore her interior. This is for the most part an easy penetration dive but, ALWAYS REMEMBER that proper training is always needed to go inside any shipwreck !
 
As for WALKING THE KEEL my wife Gina and I were the only divers in our group to complete this challenge and we will remember it for the rest of our lives.
 
This is a fun wreck to explore, you just have to pay close attention to the current and not venture to far off the wrecksite towards the channel. Remember, very large vessels pass by at times so close you feel like you can reach out and touch them as they go by while your anchored over this site."

Photo: A Diver Exploring The Portside Of The Wreck site!
Photo Courtesy Of Ontario Scuba

 

 
For you GPS # collectors the numbers are N44.33.378  / W75.43.151

 

     Roy A. Jodery Shipwreck


Roy A. Jodery shipwreck Thousand Islands 
The Roy A. Jodrey was built in 1965 for the Canadian Algoma Central Railway. The boat was loaded with 20,000 tons of steel that was supposed to be delivered to the city of Detroit. On November 20, 1974, the ship hit a shallow in the Alexandria Bay that left such a tear in its keel that the boat rolled over on itself and sank in less than four hours.
The captain tried to shipwreck the boat south of the Island of Wellesley, but in vain. All 29 crewmembers survived.
In 1998, The United States Coast Guard supervised the salvage of eight oil barrels from the Jodrey. Suspected to be the key to several little mysteries in the Alexandria Bay in July 1998, the coast guard hired an underwater contractor to investigate the apparition of small rainbows above the wreck. On August 7, divers found eight barrels of oil on the stern at around 165 feet deep.
The Jodrey was a full size lake freighter (over 700 ft. long) it was also a self unloading freighter.
When you first come on to the wreck you are in awe of her sheer size.

Divers first descending onto the wreck come to a wall that she sits below, it then drops off almost vertically from 5 ft. to around 230+ ft. Upon reaching the wreck one of the first things to come into view is the bow railing and the wheel house and ships mast. The mast is at about 150 ft. , as you descend to the main deck it is aprox. 200 ft. There is plenty to see in the bow section it is also noted that the wreck sits on a 40 to 45 degree list to starboard. If you are so inclined you may travel along the port railing to a max depth of 211 ft. where about mid ship there is a fracture in the hull, as you continue along you will eventually reach the stern. Along this railing you are like a sail in the wind flying in a 3 to 4 knot current. In the bow section there is visible damage to the hull both from its collision with Pullman shoal and the damage caused by its sliding down the vertical wall.

This dive is not for the beginner the current on this wreck, plus the depths and cold bottom temps make this a technical dive only!

     Harvey J. Kendall  Shipwreck


Harvey J. Kendall shipwreck Thousand IslandsThis ship was launched on April 10,1892 in Marine City, Michigan she was over 141ft long, 31ft wide this wooden steam barge was converted to a self unloading freighter in 1917 at Ogdensburg, NY.
The wreck sits in under 20 ft of water and is a nice relaxing dive, you will spend much of it exploring her low lying remains seeing railroad tracks, a large boiler and various machinery. Also while exploring her you will swim in very tall kelp like plants and at every turn you will encounter various aquatic life that thrives on her.

 

     Keystorm Shipwreck


Keystorm shipwreck Thousand Islands
   The Keystorm is one of my favorite wrecks in the seaway, my friend & dive buddy Joe Radomski had told me of her for years and I just never got around to diving her till 2003. I have to say after diving her I was hooked on the shipwreck. This steel freighter lies west of Brockville and was built in 1908 in Wellsend, England she was 256 ft long, 43ft wide and was carrying 2230 tons of coal. On October 12,1912 and the ship only being 4 years old, she crossed over Outer Scow Island Shoal, after striking the shoal sank within minutes bringing her to its watery grave.
The wonderful thing about diving this wreck she offers divers of all experience levels a chance at diving her. Divers can reach her bow in 25ft of water and then following her down to the stern in 115ft of water.

 

 

 


   

        
From top left, Bridge Of The KeyStorm, Pic 2 Looking from her bow down to the bridge, Pic 3 the Missing Anchor & Anchor Chain ( I Swear We Don`t Have It ) LOL, Pic 4 Mr. Carlos Negron swimming to the pilots house, Pic 5 is ME with my hood mounted light and Yellow Dog hanging below me, Finally The VP Posing for the camera.
Above photos taken by
Rich Micus.

     Kingshorn Shipwreck


The Kingshorn was a 130' barge that was carrying wheat in the 1890s she was a steel hulled with wood planking and is situated just a couple hundred yards from the dock in Rockport, this wreck was refound in 1995 and is the source of much debate, some no longer believe it is really the Kinghorn and thoughts weigh that her true identity is the "Edith Surwell". Well, at least it was until someone suggested the Surwell (or Cirtwell) was a fishing tug that has yet to be found, and that this particular wreck is the Sophia (which actually lies not far away). Who's to say until a positive piece of her identifies this shipwreck!

Sitting upright in 88' this is an aging steel hull with no superstructure. It has several openings on the upper deck (one reportedly from an anchor dropped a little too close to the target) so there is a good deal of light penetration into the hold which can be explored easily provided you have good fining technique (if you don't you will be in the middle of a silt storm and other divers may finally have a use for the dive knives they have been carrying around for years). The upper deck is collapsing at a steady rate, and any penetration should be done with great caution if at all.
Close to the down-line is a "Canadian" toilet, still in relatively good shape (this item which was clearly not original, has since been removed). Plates and cups are scattered around the upper deck and inside the hold on the stove, many having reportedly been "returned" (read: planted) here (so if you take one thinking you have a genuine artifact, you are most likely sadly mistaken but other divers will take the opportunity to laugh at you, and then turn you over to the local constabularies since removing items from Ontario wrecks is illegal).
   

   
Don't miss the ship's wheel lying on its side on top of the stern, then you can find the windlass, bilge pump, stove and rudder assembly which make for a decent amount to see. The wheel is now devoid of all its wood, but a sizeable portion of the steering gear is still attached and reaches nearly to the bottom of the hull. A small stove what was once on the deck, then in the hold, now appears to be missing entirely.
    Kingshorn shipwreck Thousand Islands Helm

       

 

     Maggie L Shipwreck

                                                                 
( Off Clayton, New Yorks Waterfront )
Maggie L shipwreck Thousand IslandsThe schooner The Maggie L was built in 1889 in Picton, Ontario by a well known ship builder in the area called Redmond. On June 1927 The Maggie L was struck by the steel freighter (possibly The Keyvive) during that collision The Maggie had her bow sheered right off her and she sunk quickly to a depth of 75ft.
This wreck is not one of the best the area has to offer but, has now created a legal battle for French Creek Marina & Northeast Aquanauts after members of
The New York State Divers Association took a report posted by Captain Heinz Wahl & Myself on this very website and turned it into a three ring circus...............Black & White Photos Taken By Dennis Johnson August 2004
   


We first assumed that the anchor we saved from the bottom of the seaway might have been The Maggie's lost anchor. After retracting this statement realizing that the anchor could never have belonged to her. These local divers called the State of New York on us and stated we robbed an anchor from a historical wreck site in The St. Lawrence Seaway.
Nothing further from the truth could have been stated. 
Divers might even find The New York State Divers Associations slogan funnier now that most of

Thanks To Rich Micus  Underwater Photographer
   

   
   


                                                                            
Above Picture Is Of Gina Doing Her Deco Stop On "The Maggie L"
 Great Lakes Shipwreck News & Rumor Fall 2003
By Brendon Baillod
In early 2003 the wreck of the 1889 three masted schooner Maggie L off Clayton, NY was damaged by a group of divers who removed the ship's anchor. The State of New York, who ostensibly has stewardship of the wreck, has yet to take any action.
Great Lakes Shipwreck News & Rumor Spring 2004
By Brendon Baillod
A correction to the last News & Rumor column is in order. It was inaccurately reported that divers had stolen an anchor from the schooner Maggie L. off Clayton, NY. The anchor in question did not come from the Maggie L. Her anchor was allegedly removed in 1973.
Northeast Aquanauts Thanks..... Brendon Baillod For His Updated Column
 

     George A. Marsh Shipwreck


George A. Marsh shipwreck Thousand IslandsBy the end of the 1800's the shipyards had eliminated building sailing ships, due to the faster age of steam. The sailing era was coming to a close. Those schooners still able to ply the Great Lakes were used for the stressful, dirty loads of coal, lumber, and minerals. The cargos placed massive stress upon the ships, and their crews. The vessels became floating deathtraps. The George A. Marsh was one of these vessels.

Built in Muskegon, Michigan, in 1882. She was originally a U.S. registered vessel (registration # 85727 U.S.), later to be sold to Mr. J. Flint of Belleville, on April 17, 1914. He changed her port of registry from "Michigan City" to "Toronto" with the new #133750. The Marsh being a 135 ft schooner and was now converted for the coal trade. Below is the newspaper clipping of that tragic day.

"Early Wednesday morning, August 8, 1917, the George A. Marsh was caught in a bad storm while crossing Lake Ontario. She had taken on a cargo of coal from Oswego which was purchased for the Rockwood Hospital in Kingston. At around midnight the ship's tired old timbers began to give way and the George A. Marsh began to sink. Altogether there were fourteen people on board. Captain John W. Smith had his wife and five children. The mate, Neil McLennan, had his wife, baby, and young nephew. There were three others in the crew. After five hours of desperate struggle, the "George A. Marsh" was lost. Two of the deckhands were the only survivors."
Rick Jackson 1989

The Marsh now lies in 75 to 85 ft of water 2 miles from Pigeon Island. The wreck sits upright with the mooring block on the starboard side. Items of interest are numerous. Please use caution when diving this fragile, yet intact, wreck. Proper buoyancy is a must to reduce deterioration of this site.
   

   

A drawing of how The George A. Marsh looks today.

 

     Rothesay Shipwreck



Rothesay shipwreck Thousand Islands
The Rothesay was over 193 ft long 29' twin side wheeler was launched in February 1867.  She sank in February of 1867 after a collision with the Tug Myra, two of the tugs crew where lost in the collision. In 1901 a group from the Royal Military College in Kingston used this wreck for explosives practice which flattened her mid section, though stern and bow remain relatively intact. The bow section is more intact, but the stern is in much better condition as the decking is all still present.

Sights to see include the impressive paddlewheels, rudder, boilers, and stack. One of Eastern Ontario's most famous wreck sites, The Rothesay lies at the west edge of Prescott, Ontario, south side of Highway #2. There should be a steel drum garbage can painted as a dive flag (this is hard to miss). A park/picnic area and staircase to the river's edge leads you to a shore entry to follow the rope system to the site.  From the embankment you will see a buoy approximately 300 ft out, marking the actual wreck and a jug closer in that is the beginning of the line. 

The rope from shore meets Rothesay about the midsection near the paddlewheels where you can still view the rocker arm and paddles outlined. The bottom here is firm with weed growth between Rothesay and the shore, however the site has little current and remains an enjoyable visit. The bottom is at 30 feet and the deck at about 20 feet. Fishermen often troll through this area and snag on weeds and the wreck. Watch out for fishing line and remember to bring you dive knife.
   

   

 

     A.E. Vickery Shipwreck


Built in 1861 and launched on July 1861 at Three Mile Bay, NY as the J.B.Penfield she was later renamed The A.E.Vickery and is another favorite dive site in the area. This three masted schooner was over 136ft long, 26 ft wide she sits upright and intact right next to Rock Island Reef Light. Divers must note a very strong current on the surface and getting to the wreck requires divers to pull themselves down the mooring line staying low to the bottom of the shoal then, follow the shoal, dropping off it to the water grave of the Vickerys remains. The first time I dove her I was filming, this was no easy task while towing over $6500.00 of camera equipment and lighting. But, it was well worth the trip and we visit her every year now and she is one of My Favorites.
We could not find a actual photo so, we did find this underwater drawing to help you out plus photos of what she looks like on the bottom today....Enjoy!
A.E. Vickery shipwreck Thousand Islands Bow   

         
   

   
This Below Pictures Of The A.E. Vickery Were Taken By Dennis Johnson In August Of 2004
   

   

 

     Wolfe Islander II Shipwreck



Wolfe Islander shipwreck Thousand IslandsThis 164 ft. long ferry was built in Collingwood, Ontario in 1946 and named "Ottawa Maybrook." It was originally intended to be sent to China as a gift, but minds were changed due to the political climate as China's communist leadership gained power. She was then converted to a car ferry and renamed The Wolfe Islander II, servicing the Wolfe Island to Kingston route for many years. Resting in 80 ft. of water, she was intentionally sunk September 21, 1985 as an artificial reef and diving site, and is normally buoyed for visitor divers.
   

   

 
 
 
 

Shipwreck Diving ebook
The complete diver's guide to mastering the skills of shipwreck diving.

Buy Now   only $9.95
6 MB instant download, printable  PDF file


Shipwreck Diving is a complete how to ebook about the sport of wreck diving. This downloadable PDF e-book is packed with information and heavily illustrated with over 80 sensational color photographs. Daniel Berg, a noted wreck diver, instructor and author of ten shipwrecks related books, describes all the basics of wreck diving. Topics include everything from equipment modifications, communication, and wreck penetration to artifact preservation. Dan also tells how to navigate on a wreck and be able to return to the anchor line after the dive. Why some divers find more artifacts and explains how to catch lobsters. Shipwreck Diving also covers such diverse topics as shipwreck research, photography, spear fishing and how to use an underwater metal detector. This exciting book tells all the tricks of the trade that until now have only been learned through years of experience. Shipwreck divers of all caliber will find Shipwreck Diving informative, rewarding and entertaining

Check out Capt. Dan's other shipwreck and Diving eBooks

 

 

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All photographs, sketches, images and text

Copyright Capt. Dan Berg / Aqua Explorers Inc

2745 Cheshire Dr
Baldwin NY 11510
E-Mail Wreckvalle@aol.com

 
 
 
 
 
   


 
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