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Steamboat Champlain II

Part of the Lake Champlain Underwater Historic Preserve System , freely available to any certified SCUBA diver. Please Register Annually to dive this system.

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Plan drawing of steamboat Champlain II
Steamboat Champlain II.

The Champlain II was originally named the Oakes Ames when it was launched in Burlington in 1868. It was built to ferry railroad cars from Burlington to Plattsburgh. In 1874, the Champlain Transportation Co. converted Oakes Ames into one of the line vessels for passenger transport and renamed it the Champlain II.

Champlain II's career ended on the night of July 16, 1875. While at dock in Westport, NY, the pilots changed shifts with John Eldredge taking over the wheel from Ell Rockwell. Rockwell would later recount that John Eldredge had "appeared glum." The Champlain II headed north out of Westport, and a short time later the enormous steamer ran aground near Barn Rock.

Champlain II Aground
Steamboat Champlain II aground.

Rockwell immediately returned to the pilothouse to see what was amiss. Eldredge turned to Rockwell and asked, "Can you account for my being on the mountain?" All persons on board were safely disembarked on shore. An investigation found that Eldredge had been taking morphine to relieve the symptoms of a disorder called gout.

Champlain II was only insured against fire. The Champlain Transportation Co. tried to recoup some of its losses by salvaging the engines and superstructure, but the submerged stern section was allowed to remain.

Features of Interest

Diving Information



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Please Register Annually to dive the Lake Champlain Underwater Historic Preserve system.