The Shipwreck |    Dive Site Conditions
Historical Background   |    Salvage (if any)    |    Sources


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Vineyard Sound

 Description: Lighter; Wood
 Dimensions:   length - 128.4 ft.    width - 30.9 ft.   depth - 10.1 ft.
     Tonnage:     gross - 349            other -
 Propulsion: Steam, single propeller
 Machinery: 2, single crank steam engines; 2, Scotch type, firetube boilers; Steam Winch

The Shipwreck

  Date Sunk: August 5, 1924
         Cause: Collision
     Location: Off Nahant
Coordinates:  Latitude, 42o - 25" - 05"N   Longitude,70o - 51" - 25"W
         Loran: 13961.2 and 44297.1.
   A thick fog had settled over the waters of Broad Sound as the steam lighter Herbert made her way to Ipswich, from her homeport of Boston. Unknown to Herbert's Captain the passenger steamer City of Gloucester was on a collision course.
   While still about 3 miles east of Nahant the south bound passenger steamer shot out of the fog ahead of Herbert and plowed into the smaller steamers port bow, about 20 feet aft of the stem. Seeing their vessel was doomed, Herbert's crew abandoned ship and were picked up by the City of Gloucester. Mortally wounded, Herbert sank in fifteen minutes. Miraculously there was no loss of life.
   Both Captains were found to be at fault, their licenses were suspended for 15 days and they and the owners of their vessels were fined.

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Dive Site Conditions

    Depth in feet:    maximum - 97   minimum - 90
Visibility in feet:     average -

   The vessel's bow is unrecognizable, just scattered debris on a sandy bottom. Swimming aft, the first identifyable structure found is the vessel's steam operated winch. Herbert had a clam shell excavator, which can be found about 20 feet off the starboard side of the wreck, near amidships. The winch is heavily corroded and encrusted with marine life. Continueing aft, little but an outline remains of the vessels staunch wooden hull. Her two massive boilers stand upright at the stern.
   When I dove this wreck, in 1997, I got the impression the boilers were oil fired, due to the relatively small stoke holes. However these holes may have been access hatches to ash pits, the actual stoke hatches may have been corroded shut. It was a tight squeeze between the boilers but well worth it. On the other side I found myself surrounded by machinery from the age of steam. Two, tall single cylinder steam engines stand side by side, partially shrouded by fishing nets. What information I've dug up so far has led me to believe Herbert was a single propeller vessel. The shafts of these two engines lead into a large unidentified piece of machinery, which might comprise some form of reduction gear to a single propeller. Herbert's stern is a confused mass of wreckage, there was no sign of shafts or propellers.

Click on the image to go to the MapTech Map Server,
for additional navigation information.

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Historical Background

Constructed:    year - 1910;    where - Noank, Connecticut
                      builder - Robert Palmer & Son
Construction details:
Crew: 12 ;     Master:
Owners: Boston Sand and Gravel Company
Home or Hailing Port:
Former Name(s) and date(s):
Official number: 207913      Country: U.S.A.
Other Comments:
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Fishable Wrecks and Rockpiles; Coleman & Soares, 1989
MapTech Mapserver
Merchant Vessels of the United States; 1924
Merchant Vessels of the United States, Vessels Lost Chapter; 1925
The Fishermen Magazine; February, 1989

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   These files are under construction. Any information, specifically dive site related, would be greatfully appreciated.  

Send comments to: Chris Hugo

Copyright 2000 by Christopher C. Hugo
Massachusetts Board of Underwater Archaeological Resources
All Rights Reserved