The wreckage of what is believed to be an original Erie Canal boat has been discovered in the Oswego River south of Fulton, New York.
The canal boat has sunk deep into the bottom of the Oswego River with less than a foot of its upper structure visible. The sonar imagery has provided excellent details of the size, shape, and the deck structure of the vessel.
Early canal boats prior to the 1850’s were limited in length to 78 feet as the locks of the original Erie and Oswego Canals were built to only 90 feet. The size of this canal boat was determined by sonar measurements to be approximately 13½ wide by 75½ in length. The size of this canal boat is consistent with those being utilized during the period between1830 to 1850, prior to the canal locks being increased in length. These were shallow boats with a draft of only 3½ feet.
"The vintage on this canal boat is somewhere in the 1830s to 1850s because of its size — not only its length but its width," said Kennard, of Perinton. "It looks like it was a line boat, which would have had a flat deck, might have had a cabin on board."
Kennard and his partners have discovered more than 200 submerged vessels in the Great Lakes, Lake Champlain, the Finger Lakes and the Ohio and Mississippi rivers.
In 2008, Kennard and former Greece resident Dan Scoville discovered a 200-year-old dagger-board schooner about 10 miles offshore of Oak Orchard, Orleans County, on Lake Ontario. In that same year, they discovered the HMS Ontario, a 22-gun British warship that sank in the lake during a 1780 storm.