2004 Nancy Foster Remote Sensing Cruise

During a 6-day period onboard the NOAA ship Nancy Foster in June and July 2004, archaeologists and scientists used side scan sonar to investigate the sanctuary's maritime heritage resources.

NOAA ship Nancy Foster
The NOAA ship Nancy Foster was used as the
survey platform for this project.

Project personnel launch
Project personnel launch
the towfish off the Nancy Foster's stern.


The research focused on determining the extent of the debris field around the wrecks of steamship Portland and schooners Frank A. Palmer and Louise B. Crary and several new shipwreck sites were also identified during the survey.

The team used an Edgetech DF-1000 100/500 kHz dual frequency side scan sonar towfish and an Edgetech 560D sonar computer running Triton Elics International's Isis sonar acquisition software. The side scan sonar is the primary tool the sanctuary uses to located new maritime heritage sites.

The project team surveyed several square kilometers surrounding the Portland using a spaced lane survey, popularly known as "mowing the lawn." Sonar recorded a debris trail extending south from the Portland towards Cape Cod. The project also surveyed several square kilometers around the Palmer/Crary site without locating a pronounced debris trail.

Side scan sonar image of the schooners Frank A. Palmer and Louise B. Crary captured during this survey
Side scan sonar image of the schooners Frank A. Palmer and Louise B. Crary captured during this survey.

Upon answering the initial research questions, the project surveyed several areas where vessels reportedly sank. These surveys located a number of shipwrecks. SBNMS archaeologists are currently conducting further research to identify the newly discovered maritime heritage sites.

Ensing Wells steering Nancy Foster
Ensign Wells steers the Nancy Foster along the survey's tracklines.

This project was made possible through support from NOAA's Maritime Heritage Program. Additional assistance was supplied by NOAA's National Maritime Sanctuary Program, NOAA's Office of Coast Survey, the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management, and the National Undersea Research Center at the University of Connecticut.


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