December 19, 2002

Complete census of Hudson River shipwrecks

From the NY Times:

Scientists mapping the bottom of the Hudson River with sonar say they have found nearly every single ship that ever foundered in the river over the last 400 years or more. Not just some of them, or most of them, but — astonishingly — all of them, except for a few that may have been disturbed by dredging.

The ghostly images provide a record of collisions and carelessness and storm-tossed fate — most of it previously unrecorded and utterly unknown — from the days of sail and steam through the diesel tugs and tankers on the river today. Altogether, more than 200 possible wrecks, spread out over 140 miles from the southern tip of Manhattan to Troy, have been identified.

But don't ask where the wrecks are. It's a state secret.

A wise precaution against looting.
Archaeologists say that while many of the wrecks probably have little historic significance — several overturned barges, for example, have already been identified by their distinctive outline — the likelihood is high that the river will yield at least a few long-held secrets.

What appears to be a largely intact 19th-century sailing sloop — something that historians and sailors have hungered after for years and never found — has been located in Haverstraw Bay, about 35 miles north of Manhattan, for instance, and the suspected remains of a half-dozen Revolutionary War vessels scuttled in 1777 have been tentatively identified farther north.

The surveys have also turned up more mysterious structures, including a series of submerged walls more than 900 feet long that scientists say are clearly of human construction. They say the walls are probably 3,000 years old because that was the last time the river's water levels were low enough to have allowed construction on dry land.

Posted by David on December 19, 2002 4:19 PM


where can I find any further info on the shipwrecks of the Hudson? Am an armchair Robert Ballard. Want to see any photos or drawings. Before or after of any ship or type that met its fate on the hudson.

Posted by: Peter on June 19, 2003 9:56 PM

Interested in 1777 Revolutionary War ships..
Found written history of same and wish to look near where I live for several wrecks from topside.
Have an idea on how to pinpoint locations using simple science but must keep it quiet for now.
Coast Guard has 133 listed wrecks from this area and that is only LISTED...there are many other possibilites...

Posted by: Margaret O'Brien on May 16, 2004 7:44 AM

The heck with the ships. Who was building 900 foot long walls in the northeast North America is 1000 B.C or earlier?

Posted by: K. McCarthy on April 28, 2005 6:02 PM

It figures the greedy state would want to keep it a secret. O could never understand and prpbably never will why people are like this. Who care's if people salvage it. What good is it doing resting in the merky darkness. Bring it up where veryone can see and enjoy its beauty and even learn from it. I am a Metal Detectorist and I sometimes ask people for permission to detect in there feilds. Most times they say yes but sometimes no, Why not what good is the items doind rotting away in the ground. Lets all see it... Bring it up lets learn maybe our history books can be rewritten with something found in there.

Posted by: Howard W on November 28, 2006 1:52 PM

There was a tragic shipwreck, on the Hudson River in 1902 or 1903 involving mostly women and children on an afternoon outing. Does anyone remember the ships name and exact date of occurence????

Posted by: Bert Mccarren on February 11, 2010 1:51 PM
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