EXPLANATORY NOTES to this shipwreck database
Except in the "OTHER NAMES" line, information which is speculative is enclosed in parentheses "( )." Information enclosed in brackets "[ ]" is for clarification. An asterisk "*" may be used to divert the reader to a continuation on a lower line or a footnote in the same entry.
Entries are set up in the following format:
Other names :
Official no. :
Type at loss :
Build info :
Date of loss :
Place of loss :
Type of loss :
Loss of life :
NAME: The "official" or, if not available, the most commonly accepted name of the vessel at the time of loss. Official names come from Merchant Vessels of the U.S., U.S. Custom House Registries and National Archives of Canada. It should be noted that, although MVUS is generally accurate, it does have occasional errors. [Note on the alphabetization scheme: Vessels with single-word or "standard" multi-word names are listed alphabetically. Vessels with compound names (i.e. named after people) are alphabetized by the last name of the person (this is done because many of these vessels are referred to in the press and elsewhere by their "last" name). Some names appear to be 1st/last names, but aren't (i.e. LAURA BELLE, JOHN MARK). Vessels named after people with formal or informal titles are alphabetical by the title (i.e. COMMODORE JACK BERRY in the C's, DON QUIXOTE in the D's, LADY ELGIN in the L's ). Vessels given "CITY" or "STATE" names (i.e. CITY OF DETROIT, STATE OF MICHIGAN) are in the C's or S's, respectively. An attempt has been made to cross-reference all names which might cause confusion.]
OTHER NAMES: Other official names used either before or after the accident. Date of name change may follow in parentheses. Also shown are nicknames and common erroneous spellings, so that the reader may recognize them. "None" means there was no other name for the vessel. "?" means that there may have been another name, but it is unknown.
OFFICIAL NO.: The official registration number of the vessel. Numbers with no prefix are U.S. official numbers. Numbers with "C" prefix are Canadian registered, BR for British, etc. "?" means registration number is unknown, but vessel is probably American. "C?" means number is unknown, but vessel is probably Canadian. "None" means vessel was unregistered or was lost in the era before official numbers were assigned to all vessels (1868 for U.S. vessels).
TYPE AT LOSS: Type of vessel, material of construction, type of cargo normally carried and number of masts (sail vessels only) at time of loss. "Propeller" means the method of propulsion, not the class of passenger and freight vessels known as propellers. This line may also contain a specific term for the vessel type, such as "rabbit" or "steambarge."
BUILD INFO: Year, builder and city of construction of the vessel. May be followed by US or Canadian official number, if the vessel had changed national registration.
SPECS: Dimensions and tonnages of the vessel at time of loss. Figures are rounded to the nearest unit. Measurements are in feet and take the following form: length of keel x beam x molded depth. "(oa)" stands for overall measurement. Tonnages have the following abbreviations: g for gross tonnage, n for net tonnage, gc for gross tonnage (Canadian measure), nc for net tonnage (Canadian measure), t for unspecified tonnage, bbl for barrel capacity, om for "old measure," the earlier U.S tonnage measure used before about 1868.
DATE OF LOSS: The date of the accident which led to the loss of the vessel.
PLACE OF LOSS: Specific location of the accident, as far as can be determined, referenced to some prominent geographic point. In general, geographic names in use at the time of the loss are shown. Loran or GPS numbers are not provided. Divers or others wishing the exact locations of known wrecks should consult local sources.
LAKE: Great Lake where the loss occurred. Accidents in rivers or connecting waters are referenced to the lake with which they connect. The Detroit and St. Clair Rivers and Lake St. Clair are treated as separate bodies. For purposes of this list, the Great Lakes' downbound end is approximately on a line between Clayton, NY and Kingston, Ontario, at the head of the St. Lawrence River.
TYPE OF LOSS: The major cause of the accident. A few entries have multiple major causes (e.g. storm/fire).
LOSS OF LIFE: Number of lives known to be lost by most reliable source. Includes lives of lifesaving crewmen or bystanders, if they were lost at the same time as the accident.
CARRYING: Cargo, passengers or other lading carried at time of loss. "Light" and "in ballast" mean without cargo.
DETAIL: Contains such important detail on the accident as is known as well as additional detail and historical information on the vessel itself. All known detail is not included for reasons of space. If known, the name of the ship’s master (captain) is included, with a (d) following if he died in the wreck. Some wrecks have insurance loss figures included. These are not usually a reflection of the total value of a vessel, as underwriters usually insured only part of a ship’s replacement cost. There was virtually no inflation in the U.S. until after the turn of the 20th century, so figures for 1840 correspond roughly with those of 1890. Since then the value of the dollar has decreased by about 22 times. To see approximately what a 19th-century insurance loss [or any figure] would be in today’s dollars, multiply the old figure by 22. See http://www.westegg.com/inflation/ for a simple inflation calculator.
SOURCES - Sources and contributors used for wreck information or to identify the vessel. The order in which sources appear has no significance. In some cases, sources in which the vessel would be expected to be found, but is not found, are shown as "not in ..." [e.g. Canadian bark EMPIRE, a large vessel owned out of Chatham, Ont., should be in mmgl, but is not, hence the notation "not in mmgl."] Click here for source list