History of Lake Champlain Shipwrecks | Happy Vermont

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Underwater Treasures: Lake Champlain Shipwrecks

Lake Champlain is one of the most historic lakes in North America. The lake, which became a vital transportation corridor in the 19th century, was a location for military activity and battles during the French and British military conflict, the Revolutionary War, and the War of 1812.

Resting at the bottom of Lake Champlain are about 300 shipwrecks dating back to the 1700s, including commercial, military, and private vessels. A handful of these wrecks are part of the state’s Underwater Historic Preserves and are open to scuba divers to explore. You can also catch a glimpse of some of these shipwrecks wrecks (and stay dry) on a special boat tour that uses a remotely operated vehicle equipped with an underwater camera.

Also, the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum is proposing to open a Shipwreck Center at the old Moran Plant, just north of the U.S. Coast Guard Station on Burlington’s waterfront. The center’s permanent exhibits would focus on the shipwrecks of Lake Champlain with recovered artifacts, replica vessels, and collection objects.

You can see a partial list of Lake Champlain shipwrecks on the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s website, www.lcmm.org. The list includes the names and backstories of dozens of boats that sank in Lake Champlain, including the diesel ferry Roosevelt II, the lake schooner Sarah Ellen, and the sailing canal boat General Butler.

Burlington, Chittenden County, History, Lake Champlain, shipwrecks, Travel Tips
  • Susan
    Posted at 18:21h, 26 April Reply

    That’s a stunning photo of the Adirondacks! I love Lake Champlain and have taken the ferry a few times from New York without realizing we were travelling over shipwrecks. Brockville Ont also has a dive museum in the St. Lawrence River that you might want to check out…it’s a very popular destination among the dive community.(DiveBrockville.com)

  • Erin @ I Heart New England
    Posted at 22:24h, 26 April Reply

    I would love to visit that museum… so fascinating!

  • Alyson (New England Living)
    Posted at 22:42h, 26 April Reply

    I loved my trip to Lake Champlain a couple of years ago! I didn’t realize about the shipwrecks though. That is very interesting!

  • Erica Houskeeper
    Posted at 00:18h, 27 April Reply

    Hi Susan, the ferry ride is really pretty across the lake. I will have to look into the dive museum you mentioned. Thanks!

    Thanks Erin. I know — the museum sounds really great.

    Hi Alyson – It’s such a nice lake, and it was beautiful on the waterfront on Saturday when I took these photos. The shipwrecks are such an interesting part of Vermont’s history. The stories about how the ships sank are incredible, and in some cases, very sad.

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 21:30h, 17 May Reply

    Now more people could have an opportunity to visit beautiful lake Champlain. Town of Burlington is going to have a real Hostel for people traveling on a budget which is opening
    in June 2010. And It’s developing website is http://www.theburlingtonhostel.com

  • Hotel Chicago
    Posted at 15:02h, 12 June Reply

    It is amazing to hear about the history and what is beneath the surface of this Lake. Living in the Great Lakes region I am always amazed at what treasures and stories are buried beneath the surface of lakes. Thanks for sharing!

  • Erica Houskeeper
    Posted at 12:03h, 18 June Reply

    Hi Hotel Chicago — I hear that the Great Lakes have some wonderful underwater treasures as well! Thanks for stopping by.

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