Standard Canal Boat (Wreck GG)

Wreck GG (VT-AD-1134) was located with side scan sonar in the deep water of the lake’s main channel. The vessel is a standard canal boat that exhibits several uncommon features. ROV footage revealed that the canal boat rests on an even keel in very thick silt which has drifted over and into large portions of the wreck, filling much of the hold up to deck level. The silt in the hold has made it impossible to determine if the vessel’s cargo remains below the mud.

Plan view of Standard Canal Boat GG. Inked by Adam Loven.

The outside hull of the canal boat is relatively intact and demonstrates a remarkable state of preservation. In several places portions of the white paint that once covered the vessel can still be found. There is obvious damage to the wreck in the stern quarter of the starboard side. There is also no deck planking in this stern area. From slightly aft of amidships to the rear of the stern cabin the starboard side of the vessel has peeled open, carrying away the deckhouse. All that remains of the main living quarters on Wreck GG is a jumble of disarticulated timbers that have collapsed into the hold. The exposed timbers of the starboard side reveal that the vessel was frame built and not edged fastened.

Several deck planks along the starboard side are missing, revealing the knees that supported the deck. The bow is devoid of decking, though two large bits and the composite iron and wood windlass are still present. The bits are in the extreme bow and rest against the after edge of the breasthook that joins the sides of the surprisingly finely shaped bow.

Sonar image of Wreck GG.

While the relatively fine entrance in the bow was surprising, the rounded shape of the stern was quite unexpected. Canal boats with rounded sterns are rare in Lake Champlain with only one other found to date, Wreck JJ. The planks along the side of the vessel are bent around in a tight corner to join the sternpost. There is an overhang in the stern through which the rudderpost passes. Six large knees give an additional measure of support to this overhang. Though the extreme depth of the site precludes visitation by divers using recreational diving technology, this site may be examined further with ROVs in the future.

For further information see:
Kane, A. and C. Sabick, Lake Champlain Underwater Cultural Resources Survey, Volume IV: 1999 Results and Volume V: 2000 Results. Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, 2002.