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Shipwrecks in the Long Island Sound

Updated: Sep 16, 2023

Discover the amazing shipwrecks lying at the bottom of the Long Island Sound ... The Long Island Sound is a section of water between Long Island and ... Connecticut, ... Europeans made their way to that neck of the woods in the early 1600s. ... But, it is not known to have significance in terms of immigration like ... Ellis Island. ... Fascinatingly enough though, Long Island Sound does have ... a bit of a dark past ...

More than 140 shipwrecks are at the ... bottom of Long Island Sound, ... that’s why divers coined it ... "Wreck Alley" ... for its impressive collection of sea vessels at ... its depths. ... At the bottom of the sound, you’ll find a what’s-what of sea vessels — from ships to schooners to steamboats and submarines. Let’s take a look at some of the most famous shipwrecks (and other sea vessel wrecks) located at the bottom of the Long Island Sound. ... We’ll also add a little history of the Sound and a few fun facts ...

Because of the overflowing from the rivers after glaciers melted thousands of years ago, the Long Island Sound is both ... fresh and saltwater ...

... The Capitol City Wreck ... Probably the most infamous shipwreck in Long Island Sound, the sinking of the Capital City happened on March 31, 1886. With dense fog as an obstacle, the captain ran into some rocks by Rye Beach and the ship started sinking. The 12 passengers on board loaded onto a boat safely and only the steamship sunk to the bottom of the sound.

... The Benjamin F. Packard Wreck ...

Originally a cargo ship that transported much equipment and such for decades, the Packard found new life in the 1930s as an attraction for tourists and visitors. The Packard turned into a museum of sorts with exhibitions. There was also a restaurant for those wanting a dining experience by the water. On a fateful night, thunderstorms hit the Packard and unfortunately, she sank into the Sound. ... The Oscar C. Aiken Wreck ... It was common in the 19th century for sea vessels to sink to the bottom of the sea. Oscar C. Aiken, a schooner that transported coal across the Sound, was doing just that on October 25, 1898. Unfortunately, it struck a rock near Plum Island and sank. Luckily, the captain and crew made it to shore safe and sound. Divers recently found the wreckage site of the poor schooner and recovered several artifacts and a lot of coal.

... The Milford Wreck ... This wreck is quite a loss but the recovery is quite a good find! The Milford was a ship that would carry cargo across continents in the 1700s. In her untimely and ultimate voyage, the brig sank carrying a cargo full of French wine. Divers discovered the wreckage and some of the wine. Whether the divers that discovered the wine opened a few bottles to see if it was good, we’ll never know.

A tidal estuary, the Long Island Sound formed over 800,000 years ago.

... The Steamboat Explosions ... The Long Island Sound has the distinction of having not one, but two, steamboat explosions happen in those waters. It was in March 1927, the boiler of the steamboat Oliver Ellsworth exploded. The explosion killed one person and injured several more crew members. Ultimately, the steamship went down to the bottom. The Lexington was the other steamboat that exploded. It was traversing the Sound headed for Stonington, Connecticut when it caught fire. This was a hugely tragic loss because all 60 passengers and crew died during the sinking in 1840.

... The Experimental Submarine Wreck ... This submarine did not sink by accident. In fact, divers just found the wreckage of the Defender in the spring of 2023. But back in 1907, millionaire Simon Lake built the new-fangled submarine that could traverse on the bottom of waters with wheels. It was meant to be a bid for a US Navy contract, which ultimately did not happen. The submarine was retrofitted for minesweeping but sadly nothing happened. It was abandoned and the US Army Corps of Engineers destroyed the submarine on purpose by plummeting it to the bottom of the Sound indefinitely.

Long Island Sound History ...

Of the marine life living in Long Island Sound, there are crabs, mussels, clams, lobsters, shrimp, soft-shell crabs, and oysters.

Many native tribes inhabited the surrounding regions of the Long Island Sound. But it wasn’t until 1614 that the first Europeans sailed into the Sound. Dutch explorer Adriaen Block made his way into the Sound from the East River. Coming into contact with the Sound was quite a shock for Block, as the waters were treacherous. Not only is the passage from the river to the sound atrocious, the waters in the Sound itself were dangerous. Stories from both natives and Europeans have indeed reflected that, so much so that Europeans coined the Sound “the Devil’s Belt.” Not only that but the reefs around the sound are called “the Devil’s Stepping Stones.”

Thus began the history of shipwrecks inhabiting the depths of the Sound. The Industrial Revolution did nothing to curb the accidents, either. The Sound was used primarily for manufacturing purposes like textile and fishing, including oyster harvesting. Eventually, as the Environmental Protection Agency became law and more stringent environmental laws were enacted, conservation efforts for the Sound became more prominent to clear up Long Island Sound’s excessive pollution.

Today’s Sound ...

Today there is a flourishing marine life that has been the subject of much study. However, Climate change is a culprit that is endangering aquatic animals that live in and near the Sound. Oysters eat microplastics which could endanger them and be dangerous for human consumption.

To this day, ferries and commercial ships pass by everyday. Fishing is still popular in the Sound and there is still some development like electricity cables that are lined up at the bottom of the sound.

Facts About the Long Island Sound ...

Long Island Sound is a marine sound and tidal estuary of the Atlantic Ocean. It is a place where salt water from the ocean mixes with fresh water from rivers that are draining from the land. This occurs predominantly between the U.S. state of Connecticut to the north and Long Island in New York to the south. The deepest channel in Long Island Sound is known as the RACE. The depth of this channel ranges between 60 feet and 350 feet deep. This estuary is created from high winds and has two high and low tides a day. ... This makes it perfect for boating.

Sources ...

Discover the Amazing Shipwrecks Lying at the Bottom of the Long Island Sound ... Written by ... Patrick MacFarland ... Published: August 20, 2023 ©


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