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The Inshore Schooner Shipwreck  New York's Wreck Valley
Historical and current New York's Shipwreck Information and images for scuba divers and fisherman.



 The Inshore Schooner's true identity is really still quite a mystery to divers and marine historians alike. According to Captain Steve Lombardo from Staten Island the wreck was only discovered in 1994. Apparently a fishing boat snagged her dredge on the low lying scattered wreckage. Alerted to the wrecks location divers were soon recovering an assortment of china, bottles and strange as it sounds coconut shells. The first divers to descend to the wreck found china littering the bottom. Although, quite a few trips were made to the wreck in 1994, to date no one has recovered anything that would lead to the identification of the wreck. The only clue comes from the age of the bottles and the makers marks on the china she was transporting. Steve reports that the china was traced to England and was only manufactured for two years 1857 and 1858. While this certainly isolates a time frame its not enough to confirm a positive identification.


 It wasn't until March of 1995 that I first visited this wreck. The wreck sits in approximately 30 feet of water just Southwest of the Verrazano Bridge, between Hoffman and Swinbure Islands. Not knowing exactly what to expect I was pleasantly surprised to find 5 to 10 feet of visibility and only a mild tidal current to contend with. The wreck consists of wood beams on a clay bottom. The South side of the wreck sits on top of a hill which gradually slopes down into deeper water. The debris field off this side of the wreck should prove productive as artifacts could easily roll down the hill after being dredged up during each passing storm. The wreck and surrounding bottom are covered with a fine layer of silt. Divers should be extra careful to stay neutrally buoyant so as not to reduce the already limited visibility by stirring up this silt. I highly recommend using a dive reel for navigation on this site. Not only are there few distinguishable landmarks divers can use for orientation but due to the silt and current visibility can drop very quickly. The wreck appears to be about 150 feet in length and she probably had a 20 to 30 foot beam. Although, their is no sigh of an engine we also found no identifiable remains pointing to a sailing vessel. We can only speculate until a diver recovers a significant artifact that will lead to her identification. Many of the timbers are completely buried but divers will find higher relief on the wrecks East end. Although its difficult to tell for certain it appears that the vessel, probably a wooden schooner, was heading for Staten Island when she ran aground. Her bow or the West end of the wreck is now completely destroyed and unrecognizable. In her stern divers can find a pile of large rocks. These rocks appear to large for ballast so they must be part of the vessels cargo. Around these rocks divers can find the remains of wooden crates. Some contain leather shoe soles and others coconut shells. On my first dive to this wreck I was fooled by one of the coconuts. The hard round interior shells are all cut neatly in half. I was busy digging and had my arm deep into a hole when I found what felt like a round china cup. Visibility at the time was zero due to my excavation. It wasn't until I was back on the boat that I discovered I had only found only a worthless coconut shell. Steve then told me that the wreck is also known as the Coconut Creamer Wreck after its two most abundant artifacts. Captain John Lachenmayer from the charter dive boat Sea Hawk returned from his dive with two beautiful bottles. One a medicine from the late 1800's and the other a thin black glass bottle in absolutely perfect condition. Other artifacts recovered include an assortment of brass spikes, champagne bottles and small china syrup pitchers.

ED&AJInshore.jpg (74700 bytes)Inshore.jpg (56344 bytes) Divers who want to experience diving the Inshore Schooner Wreck first hand can utilize a number of charter boats like the Rebel or Jeannie II running out of Brooklyn or boats from Staten Island.  New York's prime dive season starts in May and runs through September. During this time, divers will want to wear a full wet suit, hood, boots and gloves. For the more hardy dry suited divers, the season can be extended a bit, from March straight through December, weather permitting. Equipment needed would be the same as for any cold water wreck dive. Depth gauge, bottom timer, dive computer, two knives, lights, tether line and an adequate air supply.  Once in the water divers will find that the visibility in this area is usually little more then five feet, that is until someone kicks up the mud. Bear in mind that this is only an average while actual visibility ranges from zero to over 20 feet, depending on wind, weather and tide.  

 The Inshore Schooner may not be as well known or as popular as some of Wreck Valley's  larger more historical wrecks but she is certainly one of the most intriguing, especially for those interested in learning her identity.  For further information about dive charters to the Inshore Schooner Wreck contact the Eastern Dive Boat Association.  Boats run to this wreck only a few times each season but this dive is worth the wait.  Contact the Eastern Dive Boat Association, While exploring this wreck remember that it has never been positively identified. You may be the lucky diver to uncover a bell or windlass cover which will reveal her true identity. This wreck is also known to local fisherman as the Buckey Wreck.

Capt. John Lachenmayer with bottles recovered from the Inshore Schooner wreck. Photo by Dan Berg

Fred Belise, Steve Lombardo and crew with artifacts from the inshore schooner. Photo by Dan Berg

Capt. Dan Berg and Fred Belise with a china creamer from the Inshore Schooner.

Side scan sonar image of the Inshore Schooner shipwreck. Courtesy Dan Berg Wreck Valley Collection.






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