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  • Writer's pictureJames Tokuc

Unveiling the Mysteries: Shipwrecks in Lake Ontario Near Jordan Harbor Marina


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Lake Ontario, with its vast and deep waters, has been a witness to numerous maritime activities over the centuries. Among these are shipwrecks that lie silently beneath the waves, each with its own story to tell. Jordan Harbor Marina serves as a perfect base for exploring these underwater time capsules. In this blog, we delve into the fascinating shipwrecks of Lake Ontario, offering a glimpse into the past and the tales these sunken vessels hold.


1. The Hamilton and Scourge

Historical Background.

The Hamilton and Scourge were American warships that met their fate during the War of 1812. These schooners sank during a violent storm on August 8, 1813, and their wrecks were discovered decades later, offering a well-preserved glimpse into early 19th-century naval warfare.

Diving Details

Located in deep waters, these wrecks are accessible primarily to experienced divers. The cold, fresh waters of Lake Ontario have helped preserve these vessels, allowing divers to see cannons, muskets, and other military artifacts that provide a vivid connection to their historical significance.


2. The HMS Ontario

Historical Background

The HMS Ontario, a British warship, sank during a fierce storm on October 31, 1780. This brig-sloop was lost with all hands, including British soldiers and their families. The wreck was discovered in 2008, remarkably intact, lying at a depth of about 500 feet.

Diving Details

The HMS Ontario is one of the best-preserved shipwrecks from the 18th century in the Great Lakes. Divers exploring this site can witness the structural integrity of the ship, which provides significant insights into naval architecture and life aboard British warships of that era.


3. The Frontenac

Historical Background

The steamer Frontenac, launched in 1816, was one of the first steam-powered vessels on Lake Ontario. It played a pivotal role in the development of steam navigation on the Great Lakes but tragically sank in 1827 after catching fire near the Niagara River.

Diving Details

The wreck of the Frontenac lies in relatively shallow waters, making it accessible to a wide range of divers. Artifacts such as the ship’s engine and paddlewheel components are still visible, providing a tangible connection to the early days of steam navigation.


4. The George A. Marsh

Historical Background

Built in 1882, the George A. Marsh was a schooner that transported goods across the Great Lakes. It sank in a storm on August 8, 1917, while carrying coal. The wreck represents the typical cargo ships of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Diving Details

Located at a depth of around 80 feet, the George A. Marsh is popular among recreational divers. The hull remains largely intact, and divers can explore the cargo hold and remnants of the ship’s equipment, offering a vivid snapshot of maritime commerce from that era.


5. The Oconto

Historical Background

The Oconto was a wooden barge that sank in 1886 while transporting grain. This vessel highlights the importance of grain trade and barge transportation in the late 19th century.

Diving Details

The Oconto lies in shallow waters, making it accessible to both divers and snorkelers. The wreck’s preservation allows for the study of its wooden hull and cargo holds, providing insights into the construction and operation of grain barges during that period.


Diving and Exploring Shipwrecks

Jordan Harbor Marina is the ideal starting point for exploring these historical shipwrecks. The marina offers various services and facilities to support divers, including fuel, pump-out services, and amenities like washrooms and showers.


Preserving Our Underwater Heritage

Exploring shipwrecks is not just an adventure; it’s a journey into history. It’s crucial to approach these underwater sites with respect and care, ensuring their preservation for future generations. Responsible diving practices and adherence to guidelines help protect these valuable archaeological resources.


Plan Your Visit to Jordan Harbor Marina

Jordan Harbor Marina provides the perfect blend of historical intrigue and modern amenities. Whether you are a seasoned diver or a history enthusiast, the marina offers a gateway to the mysteries of Lake Ontario’s shipwrecks. Plan your visit today and immerse yourself in the rich maritime heritage that lies beneath the waves.

For more details on Jordan Harbor Marina and to plan your visit, check out their official website.


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