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The Sunken 1758 Fleet

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  • Open for Recreation: Generally from Memorial Day until Columbus Day
  • Fee: Free
  • Contact Information:
    • DEC Region 5 Ray Brook Office (M-F, 8:30 AM - 4:45 PM), 518-897-1200; Info.R5@dec.ny.gov
    • Enforcement Matters: 518-408-5850 (24/7) or 911
  • Location: Town of Lake George, Warren County
  • Map: Google Earth || State Lands Interactive Mapper

From 1755 to 1763, Britain and France fought in the French and Indian War. During the autumn of 1758, Lake George was a focal point for this struggle. One type of warship used by both sides in this conflict was the bateau (French for boat).

Bateaux drawing
Bateaux were widely used in the 1700s for moving
troops and supplies (Mark Peckham drawing)

Bateaux had flat bottoms, flaring sides and raked bows and sterns. They usually were propelled by oars and poles and steered by a stern sweep. Bateaux were typically 25 to 35 feet long. Built of pine planks with simple oak frames, bateaux could be produced rapidly and were widely employed in the eighteenth century for moving troops and supplies.

Whenever possible, Colonial armies moved via water to avoid marching through dangerous and roadless wilderness. As many as 900 bateaux were used against French-held Fort Carillon (later named Fort Ticonderoga) in the summer of 1758. Some 260 bateaux reportedly were sunk in Lake George in the autumn of 1758 to seal them under winter ice and prevent their capture or destruction by French forces.

Seven of eight bateaux at the preserve site are part of "The Sunken Fleet of 1758." The eighth bateau, the southernmost one, is a replica built by local school children and teachers. In 1997, the 23-foot replica bateau was sunk near the site to enhance the preserve visit for divers, to test Colonial sinking techniques, and to study the deterioration process of a wooden vessel in a freshwater environment.

The seven 1758 bateaux, sometimes referred to as the "Wiawaka Bateaux Cluster," are 25 to 36 feet long and 4 to 5 feet wide. Archaeological research by Bateaux Below, Inc. has documented design features and construction elements typical of mid-18th century bateaux. These warships lie roughly perpendicular to shore over a 450-foot long area, suggesting they were all scuttled at once. Only the bottom planks, the lower part of the ribs, some cleats and garboards remain. Stones, apparently used to help sink them, can be found on the bottom planks.

Additional historical research may reveal why these bateaux were not recovered. They were listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places in 1992. A historic marker about these shipwrecks was erected on shore. It overlooks the southernmost bateaux and is visible from the mooring buoy area.

Featured Activities

Scuba Diving

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See diving guidelines for using New York's Submerged Heritage Preserve sites.

This is an intermediate level dive and is open on a first come, first served basis. The fleet is located in 25-50 feet of water. Do not touch or damage the bateaux, which are fragile. Be courteous to neighbors. Do not approach or use any docks in the vicinity of the site.

Directions

This site is approximately one mile north of Lake George Beach in the south basin of the lake at 43.4269°N, 73.6972°W - Google Maps (leaves DEC website).

Coordinates provided are in decimal degrees using NAD83/WGS84 datum.

Rules and Regulations for Submerged Heritage Preserves Sites

New York State and federal laws make these resources the shared cultural and historic legacy and property of the people of New York. These laws help preserve this heritage so that future generations can enjoy and learn it.

Please take nothing but photographs. Removing artifacts or damaging resources is forbidden by law and deprives others of the opportunity to view and study them. Removing artifacts or damaging shipwrecks, trail lines, signage or buoys in the preserve system may also jeopardize continuation of the Submerged Heritage Preserve sites. These shipwrecks are fragile; please do not touch them.

If you observe a violation, please report it to authorities by dialing 911 (*911 from a cellular phone). All violations will be investigated and violators prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

State Lands and Facilities

Gas can be found in the nearby communities of Bolton, Lake George and Queensbury.
Food and other supplies can be found in the nearby communities of Bolton, Lake George and Queensbury.
Dining opportunities can be found in the nearby communities of Bolton, Lake George and Queensbury.
Lodging can be found in the nearby communities of Bolton, Lake George and Queensbury.
Public Boat Launches can be found at Bolton and Lake George.
Marinas can be found at Bolton, Lake George and Queensbury.

Adirondack Regional Tourism Council (leaves DEC website) and Warren County Tourism Department (leaves DEC website) can provide information about other recreation, attractions and amenities in this area.

Numerous guide books and maps are available with information on the lands, waters, trails and other recreational facilities in this area. These can be purchased at most outdoor equipment retailers, bookstores, and on-line booksellers.

Additional information, outdoor equipment, trip suggestions and guided or self-guided tours may be obtained from outdoor guide and outfitting businesses. Check area chambers of commerce, telephone directories or search the internet for listings.

Consider hiring an outdoor guide if you have little experience or woodland skills. See the NYS Outdoor Guides Association (leaves DEC website) for information on outdoor guides.


More about The Sunken 1758 Fleet :

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  • For help with PDFs on this page, please call 518-623-1200.
  • Contact for this Page
  • NYSDEC
    Submerged Heritage Preserves
    Region 5
    Route 86, Box 296
    Ray Brook, NY 12977-0296
    518-897-1276
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