A group of retirees from New York discovered an old shipwreck that sank as early as 1803, being only the second-oldest sloop found under waters.
The group that found the wreck is searching for sunken ships as a hobby. At the end of June, they discovered in Lake Ontario the remains of the Washington sloop that sank in 1803 after a storm hit the lake.
“We’re always excited. I tell people you can’t be the first on a mountain anymore. Most mountains have been climbed. But you can be the first one to discover and look at a shipwreck,” said Jim Kennard, a retired 73 years old electrical engineer who participated in the discovery.
The finding helps historians to complete their understanding of the types of vessels that were used between the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. That period is only covered by written records, and few artifacts had been found to document the sailings.
The ship was carrying groceries and goods from East India, all adding up to a worth $20,000. No survivors were reported after the sink.
The expedition that later found the ship was sponsored by the National Museum of the Great Lakes from Toledo, Ohio.
The number of ships that had wrecked in the Great Lakes reaches 8,000. Out of them, more than 600 are located under the surface of the Lake Ontario. The ships either crashed into the shore or burned out in the waters.
Experts estimate that there are some other 200 undiscovered shipwrecks in the waters of Lake Ontario.
The group of explorers does not plan to divulge the location, saying only it is somewhere in the waters off the coast of Oswego, New York. They did, however, release a video and photographs of the ship. From a legal point of view, the wreck belongs to the state of New York.
The finders explain that it would be better to leave the old shipwreck where it is now, as it would be better preserved.
The group of shipwreck hunters takes trips on the lake 15-20 times a year. One of the retirees said that he discovered around 200 wrecks in the lakes and the rivers nearby.
One of their most exciting discoveries was HMS Ontario, a warship belonging to the British that sank in 1780. This was the oldest shipwreck ever found in the Great Lakes.
The Washington ship had a crew of two people and carried several merchants on-board. It usually transported salt, flour, tools, and furs.
The expedition will continue, and the group of retirees will be back on the lake this week. However, they intend not to return to the location of the Washington shipwreck because they want to keep it a secret.
Image Source: Wikipedia