Lake Champlain shipwrecks are one of the most interesting historic features of Vermont.
The lake, one of the most historic lakes in North America, became a vital transportation corridor in the 19th century. It 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 the Lake Champlain shipwrecks 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.