Lake Ontario Shipwreck - Unidentified Schooner
Found by: Dan Scoville & Chris Koberstein - July 2013
Location: Off Oswego, NY
The Discovery Team
Dan Scoville is an experienced cave and technical diver. In 2005, Dan led the development of an underwater remote operated vehicle (ROV) with a team of college seniors from the Rochester Institute of Technology. He is currently a project manager and electrical engineer for Oceaneering International in Houston, TX
Chris Koberstein is an experienced cave, technical and rebreather diver. Chris uses sophisticated rebreather diving equipment to explore depths to over 300 feet. Chris works as an aviation maintenance technician with Air Canada.
Dan Scoville - cell 1-832-423-6318
Chris Koberstein – home 1-450-458-3590 cell 1-514-236-0824
Unidentified Schooner - Oswego NY
During the summer of 2013 Dan Scoville and Chris Koberstein were searching the waters of Lake Ontario off Oswego NY. Late in the afternoon on the final day of the of the search a new target rolled down the sonar screen. Looking at the image it was apparent that the target was a ship about 100ft long and that it had masts still standing. After a short debate the decision was made to put the ROV in the water to dive the wreck that evening. About an hour later the boat was anchored over the wreck and the ROV was ready to dive.
Diving The Wreck
After a long decent the ROV landed on the bottom and slowly approached the wreck site. The first part of the wreck to come into view was the ship's bow sprit projecting into the darkness with broken cables hanging from it. As the ROV moved around the bow sprit it quickly became evident that the ROVs tether was tangled in the masts, limiting the ROVs movements on the bottom. Dan drove the ROV up to the top of the masts while Chris pulled in the slack until the ROV was free to move about the wreck again. The 2 standing masts are in very good condition. Lots of pulley blocks still hang in place from the masts making for some great pictures.
Flying aft the schooner's cabin came into view. The cabin is still standing but a bit worse for ware. The forward and aft walls of the cabin have fallen over with time or were blown out by the air pressure as the ship slipped beneath the waves. Behind the cabin on the aft deck are the ship's wheel and steering gear still standing in place. Another interesting sight is the ships yawl which is resting on the bottom just behind the ship. No doubt it fell from the davits when the ropes used to secure it rotted away.
On the midship deck the two cargo holds lie open with cables and debris scattered all around. A layer of mud lies on top of the any cargo obscuring the view from the ROVs cameras.
Clues for Identification
Based on this wrecks size, location, and state of perservation Dan thought this would be an easy shipwreck to identify however this has not been the case. Searching through data bases and old news papers have not lead to any firm conclusions about this ships idenity. Listed below are the facts about this ship that may help lead to its idenity.
Length - Approx 95ft
Beam - Approx 22ft
Number of Masts - 2 (both standing)
Cargo - Unknown
Yawl - On bottom behind wreck
Steering - Wheel and steering gear
Rigging - Steel cables instead of standard ropes
Baring any new information it is likely that another dive on this wreck will be nessessary to try to find more information with the hope that it will lead to this ships identiry. An important piece of informtion that is moossing