Sloop Island Canal Boat (Wreck Z)

The Sloop Island Canal Boat is a standard canal boat from the last generation of canal boats on Lake Champlain. The Champlain Canal locks expanded over time, and with them the size of canal boats. At 97 feet long and 17½ feet wide, the Sloop Island Canal Boat was built after the 1873 canal expansion. Standard canal boats had no independent means of propulsion, and were towed by mules or horses in the canal and by a steamboat or tug on Lake Champlain.

Line drawing of Sloop Island Canal Boat (Wreck Z).

The name and exact details of the sinking of the Sloop Island Canal Boat are unknown. An archaeological study in 2002-2003 indicated that the boat sank in distress around 1915. The entire artifact collection from the cabin was recovered and conserved, and a selection placed on exhibit at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s Basin Harbor facility. The artifacts suggest that a family consisting of a man, woman and at least one child lived on board. An entire household of goods is represented: glassware, dishes, silverware, a woolen coat, and woodworking tools. The cargo hold is filled with bituminous coal mined in western Pennsylvania. Timbers removed from the cabin during excavation are stored in the hold below the walkways: please do not disturb.

Features of Interest

  • Wreck is 97’ long, 17 ½’ wide
  • Bow still contains a windlass, anchor and deck lights
  • Wheel and steering mechanism amidships
  • Cable still wrapped around the port side cleats
  • Cabin roof lying off the boat’s starboard side

Diving Information

  • Experience level: Advanced
  • Depth of water: 90’
  • Underwater lights are necessary
  • Buoyancy should be carefully controlled to avoid damaging this intact shipwreck


  • 44 18′ 45.72″N 073 18′ 29.458″W
  • The wreck lies approximately ¼ mile north of Sloop Island

3D Models of the Sloop Island Canal Boat fore deck and bow