Unidentified Trawler

a diver swims near a shipwreck
Diver investigating the former pilot house. Photo: NOAA/SBNMS

Ship Stats

Depth: 105-110 feet

Length: 65 feet (estimated) Breadth: 19 feet (estimated) Depth of Hold: N/A

Tonnage: N/A

Built: Date unknown, steel-hulled trawler

Port of Registry: Unknown

Owner: Unknown

Date Lost: Unknown -- likely between 1970 and 1990

Crew: Unknown

Sunk By: Unknown Survivors: Unknown

Significance: On-going mystery; possible mid-20th century fishing vessel type and technology; the site is a destination for divers. The sanctuary, in partnership with Northern Atlantic Dive Expeditions, installed a subsurface mooring on this shipwreck.

Present Day

black and white san of a shipwreck
A side-scan sonar image shows that the vessel has broken into three main pieces. Photo: NOAA/SBNMS
scan of a shipwreck
Multibeam 3D mapping provides a slightly different perspective on the wreck. Photo: NOAA/SBNMS

This unidentified fishing trawler shipwreck rests on top of Stellwagen Bank in 105-110 feet of water in the Outbound Lane of the Port of Boston's Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS). The vessel is broken into three main components: pilothouse, hull, and stern, along with a net reel surrounded by smaller hull fragments, making a determination of its length a coarse estimate of 65 feet. Measurements of the trawler's stern indicate a breadth of around 19 feet. The vessel's hull is painted light blue and white, and there are no obvious indications as to why it sank. The sanctuary is seeking help from anyone who might know its name or has information on recent trawler shipwrecks in the sanctuary.

Unidentified Trawler Coordinates:
Degrees Minutes = N 42-18.73056 W 70-17.8425

Historical Background

A diver inspects the hull of a shipwreck
A diver investigates one of the hull sections of this vessel that may have been lost between 1970 and 1990. Photo: NOAA/SBNMS

When compared to other sanctuary shipwrecks, the quantity of invertebrate growth covering the hull suggests that it sank before 1990. Steel stern trawlers came into common use in the late 1960s. These dates suggest a likely sinking date between 1970 and 1990. Local scuba diving charters are now taking divers to the shipwreck to help us identify this wreck.

A rope wrapped around part of a shipwreck
The unidentified trawler has rope wrapped around its rudder post. Photo: NOAA/SBNMS
equipment from a ship rests on the seafloor
The fishing vessel's net reel sits on the sanctuary seafloor. Photo: NOAA/SBNMS
a fish swims near a hole in a shipwreck
A cod swims out of the pilothouse's stern door. Photo: NOAA/SBNMS
a diver swims near a shipreck with a fishing net holding a fish skeleton
Ghost fishing gear draped over the wreck continues to fish for many years, as evidenced by the skeleton and the more recent catch. Photo: NOAA/SBNMS
a diver with a camera captures images of shipwreck
Unusual shapes have been created from the sinking of this steel-hulled fishing vessel. Photo: Courtesy of Heather Knowles
The interior of a shipwreck
Partial helm and throttle controls, along with radio equipment, remain in the pilothouse. Photo: Courtesy of Heather Knowles
part of a shipwreck with many windows
The unique pilothouse sits upright on the sanctuary seafloor. Photo: NOAA/SBNMS