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Standard Canal Boat (Wreck Q7) (NYSM 11678)

Wreck Q7 appears on a 1930 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ chart of Lake Champlain. In 2003 the sonar survey of the area did not produce a sonar return suggesting the presence of a shipwreck. In August 2005 LCMM divers searched the area and encountered the poorly preserved remains of a canal boat.


Preliminary archaeological drawing of Wreck Q7. Drawn by Chris Sabick.

Wreck Q7 is located in very shallow water (8-10ft [2.4-3m]) close to the New York shoreline. Portions of the bow, stern, and bottom structure are extant though portions of each are buried and separated from their original positions. The sides of the vessel are either completely missing or have fallen flat onto the lake bottom and are now buried. The remains of Q7 measure 97ft 8in (29.8m) in length and have a beam of 15ft (4.6m) suggesting that this vessel is an 1873 class canal boat.

In the stern of wreck Q7 the once vertically oriented framing timbers have collapsed outward but still have several horizontal hull planks attached to them. Along the centerline of the vessel the upper surface of the keelson is visible right at the mud line. This timber is sided 12in (30.5cm). Probing along the side of the keelson revealed framing that measured 5in molded and 4in (10.2cm) sided that extended to either side for a distance of 7ft 6in (2.3m).

The bow of this wreck is relatively well preserved, though disarticulated. The 4in (10.2cm) square bow framing is present, but it has collapsed outward in a radial fashion carrying the attached hull planking with it. The stem is extant as is the large chock that once supported it. The chock measures 4ft 7in (1.4m) in length and stands 2ft (61cm) high, it is fastened to the top of the keelson with iron drift bolts. The lower corner of the chock’s forward face has a 2in (5.1cm) square notch cut into it. This notch would have seated a corresponding 2in (5.1cm) square flange on the after end of the stem. The stem itself stands up 8ft (2.4m) from the lake bottom. The stem’s forward face is protected by a 1/4in (6.3mm) thick iron plate. A large iron axle and drum were located near the bow. It is unclear whether these are the remains of a large windlass or simply a piece of debris that was dumped onto the wreck.

Wreck Q7 has significant research potential. The fact that the vessel is mostly disarticulated would make a detailed examination of its lower structure relatively easy. This would be particularly valuable in understanding the construction of the lower bow. On the majority of other canal boat sites the lower portions of the hull are deeply buried and therefore very difficult to access. In the case of Q7 there is at most 12in (30.5cm) of silt covering the bottom structures. This, combined with the wreck’s shallow water location, would make this an ideal location for future examination.

Information Source:
Adam I. Kane, A. Peter Barranco, Joanne M. DellaSalla, Sarah E. Lyman and Christopher R. Sabick, Lake Champlain Underwater Cultural Resources Survey, Volume VIII: 2003 Results and Volume IX: 2004 Results. Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, 2007.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Lake Champlain Local Surveys, chart No. 174 (1930).