Article By: David Surovec, Published: April 22, 2008
PHOTO CREDIT: JOHN PAPES
Ohio Sea Grant has launched a new interactive website, Shipwrecks and Maritime Tales of the Lake Erie Coastal Ohio Trail, available to browse at www.ohioshipwrecks.org. The website was designed to help promote the protection of Lake Erie's shipwrecks and increase awareness of its rich maritime history. With the help of Sea Grant Extension, divers now have the information necessary to discover shipwrecks in Lake Erie.
"There was a pressing need for a website such as this," says Joe Lucente, Ohio Sea Grant Extension Educator. "Now an online database of Lake Erie shipwrecks exists for people to access and learn about Lake Erie's maritime history or find a wreck to explore."
The site gives those who may be unfamiliar with Lake Erie shipwrecks access to details of the wrecks in a convenient location. The hope is that people will be inspired to go out and explore the shipwrecks and enjoy the history and opportunities Lake Erie has to offer.
The website features the locations of many of the 277 known wrecks and more detailed information on 28 specific wrecks, including GPS coordinates, location information, and the history of each ship, as well as photographs. The interactive map allows users to browse and discover the locations of every known wreck, including the Morning Star, whose remains lie 70 feet under water after a collision with another ship in 1868. Some of the shipwreck listings feature underwater videos, so a website visitor can get a glimpse at the sites beneath the surface.
"Whether you are a seasoned scuba diver or a maritime history aficionado, we believe you will not only learn more about Lake Erie's maritime heritage but will also gain an increased respect for the need to preserve and protect Ohio's historic shipwrecks," states Dave Kelch, Ohio Sea Grant Extension Specialist.
The project is linked to the Lake Erie Coastal Ohio Trail, one of 126 national scenic byways designated by the Federal Highway Administration. This signed route travels from Conneaut to Toledo and celebrates the natural resources and historic treasures along Lake Erie.
Lake Erie claims more shipwrecks than any other Great Lake with over 1,700. To date only 277 have been found, salvaged or located by divers. The remains of these wrecks lay scattered across the Lake's floor and provide an exciting opportunity for outdoors people, tourists and scholars alike.
This project was jointly funded by the Ohio Lake Erie Commission and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Office of Coastal Management.
Dave Kelch and Joe Lucente are two of 11 Ohio Sea Grant Extension agents located across Ohio's Lake Erie counties. Ohio Sea Grant Extension is part of Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Sea Grant College Program, one of 32 NOAA Sea Grant programs dedicated to the protection and sustainable use of marine and Great Lakes resources.
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