Lake Ontario Shipwreck - Black Duck - Scow Sloop

Found by:  Dan Scoville & Chris Koberstein - July 2013

Location:  Off Oswego, NY

Black Duck - Starboard Bow
Black Duck - Starboard Bow

Shipwreck Black Duck Lake Ontario. Found by Dan Scoville and Chris Koberstein summer 2014

Black Duck - Port Bow
Black Duck - Port Bow

Shipwreck Black Duck Lake Ontario. Found by Dan Scoville and Chris Koberstein summer 2014

Black Duck - Rudder.jpg
Black Duck - Rudder.jpg

Shipwreck Black Duck Lake Ontario. Found by Dan Scoville and Chris Koberstein summer 2014

Black Duck - Cargo Hold
Black Duck - Cargo Hold

Shipwreck Black Duck Lake Ontario. Found by Dan Scoville and Chris Koberstein summer 2014

Black Duck - Mast Cross Trees
Black Duck - Mast Cross Trees

Shipwreck Black Duck Lake Ontario. Found by Dan Scoville and Chris Koberstein summer 2014

Black Duck - Mid Ships Rail
Black Duck - Mid Ships Rail

Shipwreck Black Duck Lake Ontario. Found by Dan Scoville and Chris Koberstein summer 2014

Black Duck - Sonar image
Black Duck - Sonar image

Shipwreck Black Duck Lake Ontario. Found by Dan Scoville and Chris Koberstein summer 2014

Black Duck.jpg
Black Duck.jpg

Black Duck enrollment papers

image026.jpg
image026.jpg

Dan Scoville with ROV

Black Duck - Rudder Post.jpg
Black Duck - Rudder Post.jpg

Shipwreck Black Duck Lake Ontario. Found by Dan Scoville and Chris Koberstein summer 2014

Black Duck - Stern.jpg
Black Duck - Stern.jpg

Shipwreck Black Duck Lake Ontario. Found by Dan Scoville and Chris Koberstein summer 2014

Black Duck - Port Stern.jpg
Black Duck - Port Stern.jpg

Shipwreck Black Duck Lake Ontario. Found by Dan Scoville and Chris Koberstein summer 2014

Black Duck - Starboard Stern.jpg
Black Duck - Starboard Stern.jpg

Shipwreck Black Duck Lake Ontario. Found by Dan Scoville and Chris Koberstein summer 2014

Black Duck.jpg
Black Duck.jpg

Shipwreck Black Duck Lake Ontario. Found by Dan Scoville and Chris Koberstein summer 2014

Black Duck - Centerboard trunk.jpg
Black Duck - Centerboard trunk.jpg

Shipwreck Black Duck Lake Ontario. Found by Dan Scoville and Chris Koberstein summer 2014

7-4-13 - Target 04 - A.jpg
7-4-13 - Target 04 - A.jpg
Chris Koberstein wth ROV
Chris Koberstein wth ROV

Chris Koberstein wth ROV

ROV ready to dive.jpg
ROV ready to dive.jpg

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.

Contact information​
Dan Scoville - cell 1-832-423-6318
DanieljScoville@gmail.com


Chris Koberstein – home 1-450-458-3590 cell 1-514-236-0824
ckoberstein@aol.com

Black Duck Found

On August 1st 1872 a small scow sloop called the Black Duck sailed for Dexter, NY and disappeared beneath the waves of Lake Ontario. The final resting place of the long lost ship was located by Dan Scoville and Chris Koberstein during a side scan sonar search conducted summer 2013.

Final Voyage

On its final voyage the small scow sloop Black Duck headed out into Mexico Bay on Lake Ontario.  The ship's final destination that day was Dexter, NY where the crew planned to unload a cargo of coal consigned for M. B. Casler.  This was a trip that the sloop had made many times before but things did not go as planned on this voyage.

 

Midway through the journey across the lake a stiff wind blew in and the crew found themselves broad side to a building sea.   Despite the best efforts of her crew, water continued to come over the rail and collect in the ship’s hold, causing the Black Duck to settle deeper into the water with each wave.  Eventually the ship could no longer support the weight of the water and it slipped beneath the waves in Mexico Bay.   In the final moments the captain and crew made a desperate effort to launch the ships yawl in the heavy seas.  Finally with much effort and only after the captains wife had narrowly escaped drowning was the yawl launch and the entire crew made for shore.

Mystery Cargo

The August 8th 1872 edition of the Watertown Journal lists the Black Duck’s final cargo as 30 tons of coal.  This would have been a heavy load for the little sloop that only had a 21 ton displacement listed on her enrollment papers.  This extra heavy load likely contributed to the loss of the vessel.

 

The book Old Shipping Days in Oswego by Finn lists the Black Duck’s cargo as whiskey on her final voyage.  If this were true it would make and interesting story and possibly some valuable old liquor on the bottom of the lake.  Unfortunately no other sources could be found to back up this claim.  Where Finn found this information remains a mystery.  The wreck of the Black Duck is not ready to give up the secret either as her cargo hold is filled to the top with silt obscuring any view of her cargo.  

Unique Boat in Lake Ontario

Resting on the bottom of the lake the Black Duck is in excellent condition.  Her single mast still towers above the deck.  She has an interesting cabin that stretches across the ship from port to starboard making it impossible to get to the stern rail without standing on the cabin roof.  The ships tiller stretches all the way from her rudder post on the transom to the forward wall of her cabin.  This allowed the helmsman to stand on deck in front of the cabin when steering the ship.  The Black Duck has one large cargo hold that is separated by a large partition in the center.  It is possible that this partition holds the ships centerboard.  The ship rudder has a very shallow draft but has a large surface area going aft.  This construction attests to the Black Duck being built to allow the ship to move in shallow water.