Lake Ontario Shipwreck ‘The Black Duck’ Found By NY Explorers


A Lake Ontario shipwreck has been found after 144 years. This week, two American explorers – Jim Kennard and Roger Pawlowski – announced that they have finally discovered The Black Duck.

In August 1872, The Black Duck, which was carrying heavy cargo, sank during a gale. It is believed that very high winds led to the vessel having a leak, which caused its demise. The captain, his wife, and crew all survived by jumping into a smaller boat and roaming for over eight hours to make it to the shore.

The flat-bottomed scow sloop, which was traveling from Oswego to Sackett’s Harbor on Lake Ontario’s eastern end, had been sitting at the bottom of the lake since then.

About three years ago, Kennard and Pawlowski said they spotted the scow rotting off the coast of Oswego, New York. The wreck was spotted sitting about 350 feet under the lake via a side-scan sonar.

The experts said they knew right away that it was The Black Duck because public records confirmed that it is the only scow-sloop vessel that ever sank in the lake. Kennard said:

“The Black Duck wreck is believed to be the only fully intact scow-sloop to exist in the Great Lakes.”

Carrie Sowden, archaeological director of the National Museum of the Great Lakes in Toledo, Ohio, which sponsors the New York team’s explorations, added:

“It’s definitely a rarity.”

There is a simple reason why not many scow-sloops sailed the Great Lakes – they were not built for that. They are not made to withhold high winds and rains neither. However, on a faithful day, The Black Duck faced strong winds during the 40-mile trip and was destroyed. Kennard shared:

“Scows, because of their shape, are workhorses. They’re not there to move fast through the water. They’re there to carry a lot of cargo.”

He added:

“They weren’t built to withstand that kind of pounding.”

Earlier this year, Pawlowski and Kennard with the help of Roland “Chip” Stevens, found the second oldest ship that ever sank in Lake Ontario. They found what remains of Washington, which perished during a storm in 1803.


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