Lake Champlain Maritime Museum Logo; Click to return to our Home Page.

Sailing Canal Boat O.J. Walker

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

Click here to register for drive charters to Underwater Historic Preserves with Waterfront Diving Center, Burlington, VT.

Plan drawing of canal schooner O.J. Walker
Sailing Canal Boat O.J. Walker.

The O.J. Walker was built in 1862 in Burlington, Vermont, and was named after one of the region's leading merchants, Obadiah Johnson Walker. The vessel was a cousin to the General Butler, both were schooner-rigged sailing canal boats.

The O.J. Walker had a working career of 33 years and was employed hauling heavy cargoes. Like so many other canal vessels, it had the dual purpose of a work boat and family living quarters. One of its owners, Captain Weatherwax, lived on board with his family for over 9 years.

The boat's last owners operated Browns Brickyard in Mallett's Bay and hired various lake captains to use the O.J. Walker to transport their products. Captain Shell Parkhurst, who died while sailing, was at the time the "oldest boatman" on the lake at age 75. His daughter, Mrs. Rock, took over the vessel and became the only woman Captain of a canal boat plying between New York and Burlington.

The O.J. Walker's final voyage came on May 11, 1895. A severe wind storm caught the crew off guard. The boat began leaking severely, and, as the crew disembarked into a small rowboat, the O.J. Walker tipped, spilling much of its cargo into the lake. It righted itself briefly before sinking.

Features of Interest

Diving Information



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