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The Rusland Shipwreck  New York and New Jersey's (Wreck Valley)
Historical and current New York and New Jersey Shipwreck Information and images for scuba divers and fisherman.
 
RUSLAND

DIRECTIONS:        (Long Branch, Monmouth County)
Take the Garden State Parkway to Exit 105 East. Take Rt 36 to the end and turn right on Ocean Ave. Drive south for 2.5 miles, you will see a red church on the right. The Alfonso Retreat house is opposite the church. Note that parking may be a little tricky. I have parked in the dirt lot behind the retreat house on several occasions and have never had a problem. Please remember that this is not public property and divers should use manners, courtesy and good common sense when diving in the area.

CONDITIONS:
The Red Star Line steam ship Rusland was built in 1872, by Dundee ship builders in Scotland and originally named the Kenilworth. She was 345 feet long, had a 37 foot beam and displaced 2,538 tons. At 11:20 PM on March 17, 1877, under the command of Captain Jesse De Horsey, the Red Star steamer ran aground. A moderate gale was blowing from the northeast at the time, and a heavy sea prevailed. According to a statement from Captain De Horsey the Rusland had sailed into a dense fog, "the weather was thick with an occasional snow squall." "At 9o'clock 20 fathoms were found and sea cakes were brought up. As these cakes have never to my knowledge been found west of Fire Island, I concluded that the vessel was off the Long Island coast". "Twenty - five minutes later the lookout cried Light on the port bow ! I thought that a mistake had been made by the sailor, as there should have been a light on our starboard bow." "I telegraphed for the vessel to be put about. Before this could be done, however, she struck".  According to the NEW YORK TIMES, "The vessel headed straight on the beach, and keeled to the starboard side. She filled with water immediately afterward, and, from the volume which rushed in, it is supposed she must have struck a rock, making a hole in her hull".

She was carrying 200 passengers and a cargo of plate glass and iron wire from Antwerp to New York. Rockets were discharged, which attracted the attention of Lifesaving Stations No. 4 and 6. After  many  fruitless efforts, the lifesavers finally succeeded in getting a line over her bow. The apparatus for propelling a lifesaving car was quickly attached and the slow work of hauling passengers ashore started. By 10:00 AM, the next morning all the passengers and crew had been transported to the beach in the "lifesaving car." Only two people could be conveyed in the car at a time.

At first salvage crews anticipated no problem pulling the liner off the beach. It was later discovered that the ship was stuck fast onto the sunken wreck of the Adonis which had come ashore twenty years earlier. On April 8th, the Rusland finally gave in to the constant pounding of the shore breakers and broke in two. This wreck along with the Adonis, are together known as the Dual Wrecks. They now sits in 25 feet of water just offshore and north of the tip of the jetty.

The Rusland's bow is facing north. At the south end of the wreck divers will find her steel propeller almost on top of the Adonis wreck. If you follow the propeller shaft north, you will be lead to her boiler. The boiler is the highest relief on the wreck and is easily recognizable. There is another boiler about 50 feet north of the first that sits in the sand away from the main wreckage.

 

Rusland Shipwreck. Courtesy Dan Berg New Jersey Beach Diver Collection.

Rusland Shipwreck. Courtesy Dan Berg New Jersey Beach Diver Collection.

Dan Berg on the Rusland Wreck. Photo by Rick Schwarz.

Frank Liters artifacts fdrom the Rusland Shipwreck. Courtesy Dan Berg New Jersey Beach Diver Collection.

Sketch of the Rusland Wreck by Dan Lieb and Dan Berg

Frank Liters artifacts fdrom the Rusland Shipwreck. Courtesy Dan Berg New Jersey Beach Diver Collection.

 
   

 

 

 

 
 

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