The Cormorant in Lake Ontario
This tug boat was built in 1941 and in 1949 it was renamed the Russell 4 and was sold to the Newton Creek Towing Company of New York. The tug was repurchased by Merrit, Chapman & Scottt who renamed the tug Cormorant. The Cormorant was returning from work on the St. Lawerence River when just 3 miles NE of Oswego she was swamped by a large wave. The crew survived by hanging onto a tractor tire that they retrieved when crossing the lake.
In 1996 Tim Shippee, Doug Low, Peter Tombollio and Robert Kutzleb were surveying the area and found the Cormorant with sonar. They later put two divers down, Peter Tombollio & Walt Ciesla, who identified and photographed the tug boat. Depending on the time of the year, the average depth of the Cormorant site is 135 feet.
Since the discovery in 1996 there have been many experienced divers that have visited the tug Cormorant. We returned to the site of the Cormorant on June 21, 2022 to do some photogrammetry work with it. We used 3,413 photographs to produce all the 3-D images of the Cormorant.
Two mast schooner believed to be the Maggie Hunter that sunk on Oct. 10, 1876.
Tim Caza and Dennis Gerber came across this two masts schooner in Lake Ontario on August 28, 2022 while doing a sonar survey. Because of the depth of the water the only way the site could be reached was with a ROV, (Remote operated vehicle). We returned to the site on September 17, 2022 to explore the wreck site. Much to our surprise it turned out to be remarkably intact. The schooner is setting up right on the bottom of the lake. After further investigation with the ROV it was noted that it appears to have been involved in a collision with another vessel striking her port side. It was obvious to us that this is the reason why this vessel went down not due to the bad weather that night. We spent over six hours above the wreck site that day and the video we took produced 8,377 photographs to do this 3-D model. We believe that whatever vessel struck this schooner in the port side may have also sunk and could be nearby. Further sonar surveys of the area are currently being done to determine if another vessel is in the area. Based on our investigation it appears to be the wreck of the Maggie Hunter. All the debris that washed ashore during that time matches what is missing off this vessel as well as the measurements. The length and width are exactly the same as the Maggie Hunter. She is also in the location that it was taught to be lost.
The Black Duck
The Black Duck is a scow-sloop with a length of 51 feet and a beam of 13 feet with a depth of only 4 feet. She was built on Wellesley Island in the St. Lawrence River in 1859. It was loaded with coal and left Oswego, New York for Sackets Harbor on August 8, 1872 when it foundered in a northwest gale. In May of 2013 Jim Kennard and Roger Pawlowski, found the shipwreck with sonar and then returned in September of 2016 with a VideoRay Pro IV. The team was able to survey the shipwreck and make the identification as the scow-sloop Black Duck. Dan Scoville and Chris Koberstein had also visited the shipwreck with their ROV in July 2013.
Tim Caza and Dennis Gerber returned to the site on October 23, 2022 with their equipment to produce this 3D image of the Black Duck resting in deep waters of Lake Ontario.
Tug Boat found in Lake Ontario
We came across this tug in deep waters of Lake Ontario on June 14, 2022. The tug measures 50 feet in length by 12 feet at its widest point. She is remarkably intact with the exception of the front pilot house that has collasped with the shipwheel laying on the deck.
It is believed that this tug may be from the tragedy that took place on Lake Ontario the night of November 21, 1879 with the sinking of the Dredge Gordon and two tugs. Further study is being done to indentify this tug, but for now it’s just another tug discovered in Lake Ontario.
The next 4 shallow water wreck locations where documented with further studies planned.
Daggerboard Scow Schooner
This Daggerboard Scow Schooner was documented on June 25, 2022 by Tim Caza and Dennis Gerber. You can clearly see where the two masts would’ve been as well as a Daggerboard between them. You can also see where the windlass remains are at the bow of the vessel. The Daggerboard Scow Schooner rough measurements are 78 feet long by 16 foot wide. Her final resting place is on the bottom of Lake Ontario. After further investigation we have determined that this is the wreck of the Northern Lights. Thanks to Brandon Kampnich for the lead on this dagger boards schooner.
This shallow water wreck was located just north of the Daggerboard schooner.
This wreck is in Mexico bay.
This wreck is known as the Point Peninsula wreck. The pictures below courtesy of Dennis McCarthy in1975 when he dove the wreck, because of the shallow water the wreck is in bad shape.
The William Elgin sunk on May 21, 1818
The site of the William Elgin was originally discovered by Tim Shippee and his 13 year old daughter Ariel on September 1, 1997. Tim Shippee and Dennis Gerber later attempted to gather some photographs of the site with a drop camera but were unsuccessful. It wasn’t until nine years later in the summer of 2006 when they were finally able to identify the site, thanks to Dan Scoville and Jim Kennard.
Dan Scoville was eager to test an underwater ROV on a deep site that he and the students from the Rochester Institute of Technology had just developed. This was a perfect opportunity. They were able to gather the first images of the site and with the help from Jim Kennard they were able to identify the site as the wreck of the William Elgin, a two-mast schooner.
Tim Caza and Dennis Gerber returned to the site 14 years later on September 9, 2020, to test their ROV capabilities. The ROV dive was a total success with some great images gathered with more information learned about the wreck site. The wreck is in remarkably great shape as if it was placed on the bottom upright. The only damage is that the mast has fallen over to the port side of the schooner. There were more quagga muscles noted on the wreck from the previous ROV dives.
Believe to be the T. J. Waffle Steamer
The steamer went missing in heavy weather on Sept. 22, 1919, while bound from Fairhaven, NY to Kingston, Ontario. Some wreckage came ashore at Burt Point, near Oswego. Much of it was so thoroughly splintered that speculation was that she had exploded her boiler. Another steamer reported seeing a mess of wreckage off the Main Duck Island area. Winds were strong from the northeast that blew the wreckage south to Oswego. The cabin top was found on the beach near Oswego along with pillows and lifejackets with the steamer’s name on them.
101 years later on August 22, 2020, Tim Caza and Dennis Gerber found what they believe to be the T.J. Waffle over twenty miles off Oswego. Whether she exploded her boiler or it was tossed around like a rag doll in such a violent storm it’s hard to say. It does appear to have had a violent end by the looks of the wreck site. One woman and five men lost their lives that night. Captain Charles Beaupre, William Switzer, engineer Russel David, mate William Sweet and cook Mrs. William Sweet, wife of mate. Other crew members names not known. More
Rare Dagger-board Schooner
It was on May 18, 2019 when Dennis and I picked up a target in deep waters of Lake Ontario but unfortunately we did not check it out that season. We returned to the site on August 15, 2020 to investigate the target with our ROV. Well we were not disappointed it turned out to be a rare dagger-board schooner.
Whitford Gill and his family built on Galloo Island the schooners: Three Brothers (1827), Old Taylor, and Galloo. It is estimated that these schooners were built in the 1820’s – 1830’s. Jim Kennard, Roger Pawlowski, and Roland Stevens found the Three Brothers dagger-board schooner in July of 2014. We believe this dagger-board schooner we found is one of the other long lost schooners. We just don’t know which one it is at this point in time. 3D image of wreck More
The wreck of the H.B. sunk on October 17,1912. Schooner-barge, wood, bulk freight, 3-mast.
About twenty miles out in Lake Ontario Tim Caza and Dennis Gerber found the H.B. on July 8, 2016. Four persons lost their lives, J.D. Schamp, Steven Lebux, Fred Lahance, all Canadians, and Alice Derusha, the 16 year old daughter of the captain, John Derusha, of the H.B. The ill-fated schooner barge, with two others, was being towed from Oswego to Ogdensburg loaded with coal. The towline broke during a heavy windstorm and the H.B. went adrift. In a short time the H.B. went down. Her Specs were 176x34x13. 3D image of wreck
The wreck of the Onondaga
The wreck of the Onondaga
The wreck of the Onondaga found off Stony Point on May 4, 2019 by Tim Caza and Dennis Gerber. The Onondaga was a 3-mast wood schooner 137 feet in length built in 1870 then converted to a schooner barge in 1883. She left Oswego on November 5, 1907 in heavy seas on route to Montreal. The Onondaga ran into seas that was one of the heaviest of the year and sprung a leak. All efforts were made to reach Sackets Harbor, but the barge sank off Stony Point with 632 tons of coal in her bulk.
She now lies upright on the bottom with her port side blown out. Other than that she is remarkably intact with an anchor hanging from her bow and what appears to be some sort of mast in her midsection still standing. More Video 3D image of wreck
The Rum Runner
This wreck was discovered in 2016 by Tim Downing with side scan sonar. It is a fantail launch that for some reason was hauling a load of bottles that date back to the prohibition days. So we call this wreck the Rum Runner.
New Discovery on September 16, 2017. (The Wreck of the Hiawatha, Schooner Barge that sank on September 20, 1917.)
It was 4 AM Saturday morning when an image appears on the screen during a routine sonar expedition in Lake Ontario by Tim Caza and Dennis Gerber. There was a dive done two weeks after the discovery by Tim Caza and John Shaheen. The wreck is 70% intact and her Specs were 176.5 x 30 x11 with a cargo of hard coal aboard.
Steamer believed to be the Tug William Gardner that burned on Lake Ontario in May of 1883.
Steamer found by Tim Caza and Dennis Gerber off Galloo Island. The steamer is in deep water and it appears to have burned to the water line. Found on Sept. 23, 2015.
This Schooner is believed to be the Napoleon that sunk in 1835 with stones in her hold. Found by Tim Caza and Dennis Gerber on July 28, 2015.
The wreck of the North Star, sunk on Nov 26, 1886
She was a wood schooner built in 1854 in Waterbury, Port Dover, Ontario. Her specs were 98x28x8, 149gc. She sank in Lake Ontario with a cargo of coal and was a total loss. Tim Caza found the North Star on September 4, 2014. The vessel is intact with the bowsprit broken off and lying on the bottom of the lake. The main boom is lying across the starboard backside of the vessel.
The wreck of the American sunk on October 1, 1894
The American was a wood schooner built in 1870, Asa Wilcox, Three Mile Bay, NY. The specs were 137x26x10, 269n. She was bound for Prescott, Ontario, in tow by the Tug Proctor. She sank for unreported reasons off Stony Point with a cargo of coal aboard. The wreck is mostly intact. Originally pinged with sonar by Tim Shippee and Dennis Gerber in August of 2008. New sonar images and photographs were taken on September 4, 2014.
Wreck of the S.S. Ellsworth, sunk on July 9,1877
The Ellsworth was built in 1869 on Seneca Lake as a sailing vessel. In 1870 she was fitted up as a steam vessel. She was on a ten day cruise among the islands at the head of the St. Lawrence and vicinity. The Ellsworth was at anchor off Stony Island when a fire broke out in the kitchen causing the vessel to burn to the water line. She now lies in 21 feet of water off Stony Island.
The wreck of the J.W. Langmuir sunk on October 7, 1875
The J.W. Langmuir was a wood, two-masted schooner built in 1865 as a brig in Picton,Ontario. Her specs were 88x21x9, 116t. Major repairs were done in 1868. It is possible it was converted from a brig to a schooner at that time. Bound for Oswego from Picton, she was 8 miles off the Port of Oswego when she became unmanageable due to taking on water. She was driven back to the shoal at the head of Gallo Island and grounded, then broke up. Her crew made it to shore in her yawl. Later she was stripped and relieved of her cargo by the schooner Sassacus and Tug Wheeler. Tim Caza and Dennis Gerber picked up the wreck on sonar on September 19, 2014.
The wreck of the Menominee, or the wreck of the Buckley sunk on October 17,1912. There are different newspaper accounts on which vessels actually sunk in October of 1912. This is believed to be the Menominee based on this article below. We won't know for sure until we revisit the site in the future to gather more information.
Syracuse Herald New York 1912-10-17, Submitted by Stu Beitler. This morning the steamer Nicaragua sighted the Menominee and the tug Proctor with the barge Buckley and towed the tug and Buckley to Cape Vincent. Then she returned to get the Menominee, but before reaching her picked up Captain DERUSHA and his son ELMER, who had been floating on a hatchway since the line parted. As they started for the Menominee that boat went down, but her crew was saved.
The vessel is split wide open on the bottom, dumping all her cargo of coal.
Light beacon found in Lake Ontario 56 feet below by Tim Caza and Dennis Gerber on July 8, 2016. The light stands upright on the bottom 20 feet tall and 36 feet from the top of the light to the surface of the water. This was a very interesting discovery.
Smoke stack to a steamer
This smoke stack was discovered in August of 2015 in deep waters off Lake Ontario. 2000 feet from the smoke stack we found a small rowboat on the bottom of the lake. We also have a target that is 70 feet long that sets 2400 feet away from the smoke stack. We believe it is the steamer that the smoke stack and rowboat came from. We have not had a chance to get back to that target at this time to verify if it is indeed the steamer. Based on the smoke stack it appears that there was a fire that broke out on board.
During a routine sonar expedition we picked up a small target in deep waters of Lake Ontario. It was on July 7, 2020 when we returned with our ROV to investigate the discovery. It turned out to be a smokestack to a steamer. Based on its location we believe it came from the tug William Gardner that caught fire and sunk in the lake.
Two Smokestacks to the Steamer Wisconsin discovered in Lake Ontario.
On the 19th day of May 1867 the steamer Wisconsin left Cape Vincent on route to Chicago with passengers and freight. About a mile or so off Tibbetts Point Lighthouse fire was discovered in the boiler room. All efforts of the crew to gain control of the fire were unsuccessful. The captain decided to beach the steamer on Grenadier Island but before reaching the island the steamer had become almost fully involved in flames. The steamer Wisconsin was a total loss. 22 bodies were recovered the following day and brought to Cape Vincent on the steamer Pierrepont.
One hundred fifty years later, Tim Caza and Dennis Gerber found the two smokestacks of the Wisconsin two and a half miles off Tibbetts Point Lighthouse in 85 feet of water. The smokestacks had fallen overboard as the fire burned around the support cables.
The remains of the Ariadne sunk in 1886.
It was July of 2020 when a number of timbers were discovered washed ashore north of Southwick Beach. With that discovery the locals said they have seen what they believe to be machinery in shallow waters in that area. Mark Barber went up to investigate and did some dives on the site. He found that it was the windlass belonging to the lost schooner Ariadne. Tim and Dennis joined Mark on August 15, 2020 to Map the area with sonar and take some underwater video of the discovery.
After mapping the area we found that the only visible remains of the Ariadne was the windlass, the bilge pump, a few timbers, and ballast stones. Even though the remains are only in 4 to 5 feet of water the winless was in remarkably good shape do to the sand wash and wave action.More
The recovery of a 26 foot fishing boat that sank in Lake Ontario in 147 feet of water.
Chris Martin was hired to retrieve this boat that sank in Lake Ontario in the season of 2019. Tim and Dennis assisted Chris in locating the boat and doing an underwater ROV survey of the site. After this survey was completed Chris was able to put a plan together to safely retrieve the vessel. There were a few weather delays but other than that the operation was a total success.
Sea Ray Sedan Bridge
Fire burned through the hull on a Sea Ray the vessel sank in 48 feet of water in Sackets Harbor.
Found December 8, 2015 in Lake Ontario by Tim Caza and Dennis Gerber in 68 feet of water.
Twenty foot fishing boat
Found on September 21, 2016 by Tim Caza and Dennis Gerber in 65 feet of water. The boat is an inboard and has two fishing poles stil in the craft. A tackle box lies about 70 feet behind the vessel.
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