Standard Canal Boat (Wreck F4) (NYSM 11627)

Wreck F4 is a canal boat located in 1992 by the LCMM. An archaeological diver verified the shipwreck after its 1992 discovery; however dive conditions were poor and prevented documentation of the site. The wreck was relocated during the 2003 Lake Survey and verified by archaeological divers in August 2005.

The 2005 fieldwork revealed the site to be a largely intact standard canal boat. The vessel is 88ft (26.8m) long and a 14ft (4.3m) in beam, indicating that Wreck F4 was built between 1858 and 1872 based on the known expansions of the Champlain Canal locks. The exposed boat remains stand 4 to 5ft (1.2 to 1.5m) above the bottom sediments and consist of the sides, bow, walkways, hatch coamings, deck beams, railing, and rudderpost.

Preliminary archaeological drawing of Wreck F4. Drawn by Pierre LaRocque and Joanne DellaSalla.

The wreck is constructed plank-on-frame. The canal boat has one large cargo hatch which is 64ft (19.5m) long and 8ft (2.4m) wide. Partially preserved walkways were noted on either side of the cargo hatch. No cargo was apparent in the hull. The boat’s sides are preserved up to the gunwale, however, the starboard side in the stern has splayed outboard. The stern is poorly preserved with the stern deck, cabin roof and trunk no longer present. The foredeck in the bow is also missing.

Wreck F4’s most interesting feature is a railing which runs along the outboard edge of nearly the entire vessel. The railing is approximately 16in (40.6cm) high and is fastened to the framing. Railings are an uncommon feature on Champlain canal boats.

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.