Josephine Marie

black and white photo of a ship at a dock
Josephine Marie tied up in Gloucester, Mass. Courtesy of John Harper.

Ship Stats

Tangled fishing nets on the sea floor
Fishing gear, new and old, cover much of the vessel's machinery. Photo: Matthew Lawrence, NOAA/SBNMS

Depth: 105 feet

Length: 80 feet feet Breadth: 20-25 feet
Depth of Hold: N/A

Tonnage: 154 gross tons

Built: 1969, steel-hulled stern trawler, Bender Welding and Machine Company, Mobile, Alabama

Port of Registry: Unknown

Owner: N/A

Date Lost: February 1, 1992

Crew: 4

Sunk By: Foundered after striking object Survivors: 4 out of 4

Data Collected on Site: Scuba diver photography and video

Significance: Mid-20th century fishing vessel type and technology; scuba diving site

Present Day

a scan of the sea floor revealing a shipwreck
Side-scan sonar image of Josephine Marie. Photo: NOAA/SBNMS

Josephine Marie rests in 105 feet of water in the sanctuary on Stellwagen Bank. It currently is upside down, or "turtled," with sand blocking once possible entries into the interior. The bow and rudder areas along with exposed piping provide habitats for marine life like sponges, anemones, and various fish. The currents are swift around the site, therefore dives need to be timed to slack water. There is also fishing gear that divers need to be aware of as possible dive hazards.

Josephine Marie (two formats provided):
Decimal Degrees = N 42.18208 W 70.22443
Degrees Minutes = N 42 10.925 W 70 13.466

Historical Background

The deck of a shipwreck covered in marine growth and sea stars
The vessel's keel and keel coolers are now home to sponges and sea stars. Photo: Matthew Lawrence, NOAA/SBNMS.

Based in Gloucester, Massachusetts, Josephine Marie actively fished in Massachusetts Bay until February 1, 1992 when disaster struck. While returning from a routine fishing trip, the crew radioed the Coast Guard that Josephine Marie was taking on water and needed immediate help. The steel-hulled, fishing trawler had apparently hit an unknown submerged object and was taking in water in its holds north of Provincetown, Massachusetts. A Coast Guard helicopter lowered two pumps to the sinking vessel, but the crew was unable to get them working in the 15 to 20-foot seas. The trawler's crew abandoned ship and were rescued by the F/V Italian Gold and taken to shore. Survey dives conducted in 1992 were unable to identify obvious damage or direct cause of sinking. There was speculation that a hatch was possibly deteriorated and a potential cause, but it was impossible to inspect due to the ship's turtled positioning.

A diver grabs a propeller of a shipwreck and poses for a photo
A diver next to a propeller of a shipwreck that is covered in muscles

Josephine Marie's propeller makes a great photo backdrop. Left/top Photo: Doug Costa, NOAA/SBNMS; Right/bottom Photo: Matthew Lawrence, NOAA/SBNMS

A diver looks between pieces of a shipwreck with fish all around
Brightly colored invertebrates cover Josephine Marie. Photo: Matthew Lawrence, NOAA/SBNMS