Great Lakes Seaway Trail
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Dive the Great Lakes Seaway Trai

Dive the Seaway Trail
Scuba Diver Click to learn more about the the freshwater diving environment along the Great Lakes Seaway Trail
...and you'll enjoy some of the Northeast's finest freshwater diving sites, with a full complement of wreck, shoal, drift, deep, and historical diving. For over three centuries Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Niagara and St. Lawrence Rivers have been major shipping thoroughfares. Today, the waters along the Seaway Trail are the final resting place of hundreds of ships, dating back to the late 1700's.

Among the many excellent dive sites along the Great Lakes Seaway Trail, four model scuba diving sites have been established. Each is accessible from some point along the Great Lakes Seaway Trail. A Great Lakes Seaway Trail Storyteller Sign is located on shore near each site and are also shown below.

PDF IconDownload the Great Lakes Seaway Trail Diver's Guide

The dive site system includes the New York State David W. Mills Submerged Cultural Preserve and Dive Site near Oswego, the Eagle Wing Group Dive Site near Clayton, the Islander wreck in Alexandria Bay, and the historic wreck of the St. Peter near Pultneyville. Each is accessible from some point along the Great Lakes Seaway Trail.

The Mills is a shallow historic site suitable for diving and snorkeling. The Eagle Wing Group is a natural features dive site. The Islander is a shore-access wreck, and the St. Peter is a deep-water boat-access only site. Each site is stewarded by a local organization. For more information about becoming a site steward, click here.

Dive Sites MapGo to Dive Sites:


Alexandria Bay
Wreck of the Islander

Clayton
The Eagle Wing Group

Oswego
Wreck of the David W. Mills

Pultneyville
Wreck of the St. Peter

Dunkirk
Eastern Lake Erie Shipwrecks











 

Announcing the addition of WRECK FINDER on the Shipwreckworld website

All of the known locations of shipwrecks in the New York State waters of Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, St. Lawrence River, and Lake George are now available on:  www.shipwreckworld.com. Just click on WRECK FINDER located on the Shipwreckworld home page menu.  Then click on the map to expand  the area of interest and view the known shipwrecks in that area or click on the letter and then the full name of the ship.

In the future, WRECK FINDER will be expanded to include all of the Great Lakes and other areas in the world that Shipwreckworld website users would like to share with the public.  We will also link submitted websites that may have a more detailed story of a particular shipwreck. We believe that this will be a fast way for divers (or fisherman) to view all the known wrecks in a particular area and that this may encourage even more interest in the maritime history that lies just off our shores along the Seaway Trail.


Wreck of the IslanderWreck of the Islander - Alexandria Bay
This sidewheel steamer, originally named the James H. Kelley, was built in Rochester, NY in 1871 by D. W. Springstead. She was renamed the John Thorn in 1879, and renamed again to Islander in 1887 when she became the property of the Thousand Islands Steamboat Company. The vessel measured 125 ft. x 20 ft. x 7 ft. and weighed 118 gross tons. The Islander served as a mail carrier and gave river tours. The ship burned on Sept. 16, 1909 at her dock at Alexandria Bay. The wreck of the Islander is located just offshore, east of the hospital, at the foot Market Street in downtown Alexandria Bay.

The wreck of the Islander is located at the foot of Market Street in Alexandria Bay. The Village has provided a parking area, gazebo, and ramp to the water to provide a comfortable diving experience. A local dive shop has a satellite shop across the street complete with a air compressor.

PDF IconDownload the Wreck of the Islander Diver's Guide

Dive Site Information
Location: Downtown Alexandria Bay, NY, at the foot of Market Street.
GPS: N43.26.555 W076.35.094
Access: Shore and Boat.
Depth: 30 to 60 feet.
Visibility: 20 to 100 feet. Average 45 feet.
Temperature: 40 to 73 degrees F.
Skill Level: Basic open water diver.
Bottom: Sloped rock and silt.
Hazards: Weather conditions and unexpected weather changes should be a constant consideration. Mild currents may be present. Recreational and commercial boat traffic.
Description: The wooden wreck is partially broken, resting upright parallel to the shore's slope. The bow faces upriver. The port rail is reached at 30 feet, and the starboard rail is resting at 45 feet. There is a debris field surrounding the wreck down to 60 feet. There are no penetration opportunities. The diving season is typically May through mid-October. May to early June and late summer are the best times to dive.

Location of The Islander

Emergency Information Dive Site Steward
US Coast Guard Station Alexandria Bay:
Marine Band Radio: Channel 16
Phone: 315.482.2574

St. Lawrence County Emergency: 911
E.J. Noble Hospital: 315.482.2511
Divers Alert Network: 919.684.8111
The nearest recompression chamber is in Kingston, Ontario.

Stewards are organizations that volunteer to be the local representative for the dive site. They publicize, monitor, and buoy it; advocate for its responsible use, and interpret it for non-divers to promote public awareness of our Great Lakes underwater maritime heritage and cultural resources. The Islander currently does not have a steward.

To learn more about the Seaway Trail/New York Sea Grant Dive Site Steward Program, click here.


Eagle Wing GroupThe Eagle Wing Group - Clayton
The Eagle Wings dive site provides all divers with the opportunity to explore geological, historical and ecological diversity of the Thousand Islands region. Unique rock formations grow from gumdrop-like pinnacles and tower over the rocky folds complementing the lunar backdrop. Steep escarpments on both the southern and northern perimeter serve as travel hubs for deep water life as well as fish residing in the meadow-like shallows.

Rocky shoals and adjacent deep water habitat are the foundation for the ecological diversity found amidst the Eagle Wing Group. Shallow water predators such as the largemouth bass and northern pike may be seen foraging on bait fishes around the islands. Extensive weed beds of milfoil and other aquatic plants provide optimum cover for such wildlife. Due to the region's extreme depths, deep water fish such as smallmouth bass, walleye, northern pike and muskellunge are frequent visitors to the site. Divers can also enjoy the picturesque clustering of Yellow perch and alewife. Approachable freshwater drum, carp and suckers fall under the benthic variety and are often observed amidst the rocky gentle slopes.

Submerged 'riverscapes' provide visitors with textbook examples of the region's varied geological features. Traces of the glacial phases and fault lines marbling the vicinity are apparent throughout the Wings. For example, the large planar boulders are perhaps the remnants of a debris field left behind as a glacier receded. An abrupt escarpment on the Eagle Wing's southern perimeter is very likely a fault line illustrating the effects of intermittent seismic activity.

From the earliest settlements on Grindstone Island's shores, the Wings have found themselves silent observers of the island community. Throughout the year Grindstone residents shuttle back and forth to Clayton hauling provisions for island life. Local legends tell of boats lost to the Wings' granite teeth in summer squalls, and automobiles lost through the ice in winter. Discover for yourself what remains of these ill-fated crossings resting beneath the River's surface.

This small grouping of islands provides rare sanctuary for the New York State threatened species, the common tern. In fact, the Eagle Wing shoals, owned by the Thousand Islands Land Trust, are some of the last natural island nesting sites left in the Thousand Islands. The terns, which look like small, sleek gulls that dive into the water to feed, are extremely sensitive to human disturbance. Please help protect this rare nesting population by keeping all surface activities a minimum of 100 yards from shore. Please use the mooring buoy provided at the site, and never beach or anchor close to the shoals themselves.

PDF IconDownload the Eagle Wing Group Diver's Guide

Eagle Wing Group Dive Site Information

Suggested Dive Route: Descending at the mooring line, travel clockwise around the shoal. For the first part of the dive travel west against the current in about 30' of water. The shoal's northern edge reveals a wall which drops to 80'. Continue to circle the shoal with the current and return into the current to entry point.
Location: One and one half miles northwest of the Clayton waterfront.
GPS: N44.14.944 W076.06.266
Access: Boat only.
Depth: 12 -80 feet.
Visibility: 40 to 50 feet.
Temperature: 50 to 70 degrees Farhenheit.
Skill Level: Beginner to intermediate.
Bottom: Rocky.
Hazards: Weather conditions and unexpected weather changes should be a constant consideration. Strong currents may be present. Recreational and commercial boat traffic.
Descripition: The diving season is typically May through mid-October. May to early June and late summer are the best times to dive.

Site Markings Dive Site Steward
Mooring The mooring buoy provides divers with a safe entry and exit point, while protecting the shoal below. Please use the mooring only for diving and exercise diver etiquette.

Save the RiverSave The River!
409 Riverside Drive
Clayton, NY 13624
315-686-2010
striver@savetheriver.org
www.savetheriver.org

Save The River! is a non-profit, member-based environmental organization whose mission is to preserve and protect the ecological integrity of the Thousand Islands Region of the St. Lawrence River through advocacy, education and research. As the Eagle Wings site steward, Save The River! maintains the buoys, promotes and interprets the site for the diving and non-diving public. Save The River! received assistance for this project from the Professional Association of Diving Instructors' (PADI) Project Aware and from the 1000 Islands Trust.

To learn more about the Seaway Trail/New York Sea Grant Dive Site Steward Program, click here.

Emergency Information

US Coast Guard Station Alexandria Bay:
Marine Band Radio: Channel 16
Phone: 315.482.2574

Jefferson County Emergency: 911
E. J. Noble Hospital: 315.482.2511
Divers Alert Network: 919.684.8111
The nearest recompression chamber is in Kingston, Ontario.


Wreck of the David W. MillsWreck of the David W. Mills - Oswego
The David W. Mills was a typical Great Lakes cargo vessel of the late 19th century. Measuring 202 feet by 34 feet by 13 feet, this wooden "steambarge" could carry over one million board feet of lumber. Built by Thomas Quayle and Sons Shipyard, the vessel was originally named Sparta and was launched at Cleveland, Ohio on April 11, 1874. The vessel was renamed in 1910 after the manager of the Port Huron Navigation Company, the firm that owned the ship. Captain Frank J. Peterson bought the Mills in 1919.

The Mills ran aground on Ford Shoals on August 11, 1919 in dense smog created by forest fires in Canada. Attempts to free the boat failed and it broke apart during a violent October storm.

From 1991 to 1994, the wreck site was mapped by the Oswego Maritime Foundation (OMF). On May 3, 2000, the Mills was designated as New York State's first Submerged Cultural Preserve and Dive Site in Lake Ontario. A mooring buoy is provided from late May through mid-October for easy access by divers, snorkelers, and boaters. Please direct comments, reports of damage, or buoy problems to OMF at 315.342.5753.

PDF IconDownload the Wreck of the David W. Mills Diver's Guide

Click here to learn more about steam power and the Great Lakes shipping industry.

Dive Site Information
Location:
Four and one-half miles west of the Oswego Harbor Lighthouse, one-half mile offshore, halfway between shore and the Ford Shoals buoy (G"7").
GPS: N43.26.555 W076.35.094
Access: Boat Only.
Depth: 12-25 feet.
Visibility: 20 to 100 feet. Average 45 feet.
Temperature: 40 to 73 degrees F.
Skill Level: Basic open water diver.
Bottom: Flat and rocky.
Hazards: Lake Ontario weather is unpredictable and can change very rapidly from good to severe. Weather conditions and unexpected weather changes should be a constant consideration. Strong currents may be present if seas are running 3 feet or higher.
Description: The vessel has broken into large sections, allowing visitors to examine ship construction techniques. Prominent features include the intact keel with its 11-foot propeller, and anchors, winch, engine, boiler, rudder, various pieces of machinery, and large sections of hull.
The diving season is typically May through mid-October. May to early June and late summer are the best times to dive.

David W. Mills Location

Site Markings Dive Site Steward
MooringThe mooring buoy provides divers with a safe entry and exit point, while protecting the wreck and shoal below from anchor damage. Please use the mooring only for diving and exercise diver etiquette.

Oswego Maritime FoundationOswego Maritime Foundation
41 Lake Street
Oswego, NY 13126
315-342-5753
omf@oswegomaritime.org
www.oswegomaritime.org

The Oswego Maritime Foundation is a 501 c-3 non-profit corporation dedicated to public service through maritime related education, recreation and research. As the David W. Mills wreck site steward, OMF maintains the buoys, promotes and interprets the site for the diving and non-diving public.

To learn more about the Seaway Trail/New York Sea Grant Dive Site Steward Program, click here.

HazardA hazard buoy sometimes marks the location of the ship's boiler, which can be within 2 feet of the surface seasonally.

Emergency Information

US Coast Guard Station Oswego:
Marine Band Radio: Channel 16
Phone: 315.343.1551

Oswego County Emergency: 911
Oswego Hospital: 315.349.5511
Divers Alert Network: 919.684.8111
The nearest recompression chamber is at the SUNY Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse. Referrals should be made through the Oswego Hospital.


Wreck of the St. PeterWreck of the St. Peter - Pultneyville
One of Lake Ontario's most impressive shipwrecks, the St. Peter is located east of Putneyville, NY. This 135-foot, three-masted schooner rests upright and intact in 117 feet of water.

In the early daylight hours of October 27, 1898, the St. Peter succumbed to a violent, early winter blizzard. Bound for Toledo, OH, she had left Oswego, NY the previous morning carrying a full load of coal. On the evening of the 26th, the schooner was approaching the safety of the Welland Canal when the storm struck her with 70 mile per hour winds. Unable to reach the canal, the captain ordered the St. Peter to turn back east and run before the wind. The captain, his wife, and the St. Peter's crew desperately fought for their lives during 12 long hours of darkness, 20-foot high seas, gale-force winds, and freezing sleet. Their battle was in vain. Only the captain survived the ordeal, rescued by a boat from the local Lifesaving Service.

The St. Peter was rediscovered in 1971. An archaeological expedition retrieved many artifacts, most of which can be seen at the Wayne County Historical Society in Lyons, NY. The nearby Sodus Bay Lighthouse Marine Museum has wonderful interpretive displays about the region's maritime history. Also, a splendid booklet about the St. Peter, "It Was A Dark and Stormy Night," by Richard J. Kilday, III, is available through the Rochester Museum and Science Center. The booklet tells the story of the calamity in vivid detail, using newspaper and first-person accounts. The archaeology team's work is also summarized.

PDF IconDownload the Wreck of the St. Peter Diver's Guide Wreck of the St. Peter

Dive Site Information
Location: East of Pultneyville, NY GPS: N 43.18.702 W 77.07.839
Access: Boat Only.
Depth: 117 feet.
Visibility: 20 to 100 feet. Average 45 feet.
Temperature: 40 to 73 degrees F.
Skill Level: Advanced open water diver.
Bottom: Flat and silty.
Hazards: Lake Ontario weather is unpredictable and can change very rapidly from good to severe. Weather conditions and unexpected weather changes should be a constant consideration. Strong currents may be present if seas are running 3 feet or higher.
Description: The vessel is largely intact. The diving season is typically May through mid-October. May to early June and late summer are the best times to dive.

Emergency Information

US Coast Guard Station: Sodus
Marine Band Radio: Channel 16
Phone: (315) 483-9816
Divers Alert Network: 919.684.8111

Dive Site Steward

Pultneyville Historical Society

PO Box 92
Pultneyville, NY 14538
www.pultneyvillehistoricalsociety.org
Auburn Skin Divers
in partnership with the
Auburn Skin Divers
www.auburnskindivers.org


Eastern Lake Erie Shipwrecks
Although not an official site of the Dive the Great Lakes Seaway Trail series, there are many shipwrecks to discover in the Eastern Lake Erie Basin. View the Storyteller Panel in Dunkirk, NY to learn more about these wrecks.

Eastern Lake Erie Basin Shipwrecks
Scuba DiverTake only pictures...Leave only bubbles...
Abandoned submerged items resting within the jurisdiction of New York State are the property of New York State. New York State Education Law Article 5, Section 233, states ".no person shall appropriate, excavate, injure or destroy any objects of archaeological and paleontological interest, situated on or under lands owned by the state of New York, without written permission of the Commissioner of Education. Violation of this provision shall constitute a misdemeanor."

New York Sea GrantCoordination of the Great Lakes Seaway Trail model scuba diving sites provided by New York Sea Grant.