Little Known Facts: The Chester Poling

By Chet Vider

The wreck of the Chester A. Poling is probably the most popular boat dive in the Cape Ann area. It is the only penetrable wreck and is an excellent advanced training dive. Although she isn't an old wreck by most standards, some of her history is lost to many local divers. Following are some facts of interest:

In the winter of 1977, the tanker Chester Poling broke in half in a violent storm just outside of Gloucester harbor. Although many people mistakenly think that the Blizzard of 1978 was the demise of the Poling, she actually sank a year earlier. The body of one of the crew was never recovered. A machinist mate, who was a giant but unlucky man, was the only life lost. This might explain the recent rumors of bones in the engine room. The Blizzard of '78 moved the stern section from a depth of 70 ft. to its present location at 90 ft. Imagine the power of the storm that could move that much mass. Metrowest member Paul Adler was one of the first to dive the wreck of the Poling. He actually dived her many times right after she sank, recovering many outstanding artifacts. The wreck is also the site of another, much older wreck, appropriately nicknamed the pipe wreck. The Poling apparently rests on top of the older wreck and a number of 19th century clay pipes (her apparent cargo) have been recovered. And if you are someone who likes a live fish story, there is a resident wolf eel under the hull near the break at the forward end. It is huge!

The bow of the Poling lies upside down in 185 ft. of depth further off of the coast of Cape Ann. It is occasionally dived by local technical divers as a training dive for deep New York wrecks. It offers little to see since its interior is completely inaccessible and the general area is dark and empty.

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This Page was Last Updated 10/11/97

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