Learn More About The J. S. Seaverns Shipwreck

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The J. S. Seaverns was a cargo ship built in Saugatuck, Michigan in August 1880 and sank in Lake Superior near Michipicoten, Ontario on May 10, 1884. Dan Fountain and four other divers discovered the wreck in 2016. The J.S. Severans was 130 ft (40 m) in length and had a 15-member crew and 45 passengers, all of which survived.

Seaverns Shipwreck
Image credit: Terry Irvine

Originally, the boat was the J.P. Ward and had a colourful past. She was the property of the USA. In Detroit, she was designed by J. L. Wolverton and was used as a sidewheel tug in 1857 and as a boom tug on the Saginaw River until July 1865, when she caught fire. She was re-born/re-built and converted to the J. S. Severerns, at a total cost of $40,000 and became Canadian.

Seaverns Shipwreck
Image credit: Terry Irvine

On a bright night in May of 1884 crewmen unloaded supplies from the Severerns at the tiny port of Michipicoten, on Lake Superior’s northeast coast. These provisions were food and supplies and also contained materials for the Canadian National Railway.

Seaverns Shipwreck
Image credit: Terry Irvine

During calm weather, the Seaverns sunk. As she was backing away from the pier, she hit a rock and began to take on water. The Severns tried to limp across the harbour but failed. She went down on an even keel because of the calm weather. Lake Superior’s dark, clear waters helped preserve the wreck. The anchors are visible on the deck and dishes can be seen inside the wreck. This wreck is inside the limits of scuba diving.

Seaverns Shipwreck
Image credit: Terry Irvine

Thanks to Terry Irvine for his photo contributions.

Seaverns Shipwreck
Image credit: Terry Irvine

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About Author

Kathy is the owner of Kirk Scuba Gear, a passionate Scuba Diver, Ocean Advocate and Managing Editor of The Scuba News Canada

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