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The Forward Underwater Classroom

Located in Lake George, New York

History of the Forward

The motor launch Forward was constructed about 1906. It is reported to have been one the earliest gasoline-powered vessels on Lake George. The Forward was owned by the estate of William Bixby of Mohican Point, Bolton Landing. William Bixby's son, Harold, was a chief backer of Charles A. Lindbergh's solo trans-Atlantic flight in 1927. Reportedly Harold Bixby named Lindbergh's plane - The Spirit of St. Louis.

Vessels like the Forward were ideally suited for inland waterways. The boat's primary purpose was to transport passengers on pleasure excursions around the lake.

In its later years, the Forward reportedly was used by Alden Shaw and Leonard Irish, two local excursion-boat entrepreneurs, as a commercial tour boat. Anecdotal evidence indicates that the Forward sank in the 1930s east of Diamond Island. The circumstances and reason for its sinking are not known.

Built of wood, the Forward is 45 feet long, just under 8 feet wide and just over 4 feet high. The open cockpit often was covered with a canopy when the vessel was in use. Two gasoline engines are visible amidships. The Forward lies upright on a very soft sediment slope with her bow in deeper water.

The vessel provides us with a glimpse of an earlier, perhaps more grandiose, time in the history of Lake George. The Forward was listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places in 2008.

In 1997-1998, the preserve was transformed into "The Forward Underwater Classroom." With grant support from The Fund for Lake George, a triangular-shaped trail system of several stations was created for divers to visit.

A map and underwater signage directs divers to these stations that include vegetation and geology signage, a zebra mussel monitoring station, a fish observation zone, a simulated underwater archaeology site, a Secchi disk for divers to measure water transparency, a navigation course and thermometers, slates and pencils to record water temperature patterns.

Location of the Forward Preserve

This site is located approximately 1500 feet east of Diamond Island in the South Basin of the lake.

Special Diving Conditions and Guidelines for the Forward Preserve

Depth of Water - 25 to 45 feet
Experience Level - Intermediate

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