The Boston Harbor Shipwreck Website is a project of the Hull Lifesaving Museum, funded in part by Mass Humanities, which receives support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and is an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Established in 1973, the Massachusetts Board of Underwater Archaeological Resources (BUAR) is the sole trustee of the Commonwealth's underwater heritage, promoting and protecting the public's interests in these resources for recreational, economic, environmental, and historical purposes. No person may remove, displace, damage or destroy any underwater archaeological resource except in conformity with permits issued by the Board.
Navigational aids such as the Boston Lightship have been a primary reason for the sharp decrease in shipwreck. Introduction of steam allowed a ship to maneuver under power, rather than be at the mercy of the howling wind. On occasion the sea is still master.
The Town of Hull mariners and Boston salvage companies were ingenious and industrious at stripping a vessel of her rigging and cargo before the sea claimed the remains. Because of the frequency of wrecks a brisk business took place, primarily in the 1800s.
The "hard hat" divers were generally called upon to raise sunken craft or salvage valuable property. Cargo of the brig "Ewan Crerar", which bilged close to Boston Lighthouse, in 1860, was recovered by divers and included beer, iron, oil, hides, and arsenic.
Captain Joshua James - 11/22/1826 to 3/19/1902. America's greatest lifesaver and a "surfman" who devoted 60 years to rescuing those shipwrecked. He was a member of the Massachusetts Humane Society, and U.S. Life Saving Service, forerunners of the U.S.C.G.
Mass. Humane Society Boat "Nantasket"
The "breeches buoy" saved many lives.
Shore set-up for the "breeches buoy".
A schooner broadside to the pounding surf off Point Allerton. The locale was a focal point for a large number of disasters in Boston Harbor due to it being exposed and shoal. Sailors dreaded such perilous "white water." Deer Island was also very dangerous.
A stern example of nature's terrible fury. This particular type of scene was not uncommon near Stony Beach or Toddy Rocks, Hull. One of the major wrecks which occurred in Broad Sound was that of the five-master schooner "Davis Palmer" with a cargo of coal.
"A Calm After the Storm." A "square rigger" stranded on the hard sand of Nantasket Beach might appear as this craft. The most historical wreck in the harbor was that of the French 74 gun man-o-war "Magnifique" while the American Revolution was in progress.