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The Forward Underwater Classroom

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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 Queensbury, Warren County
  • Map: Google Earth || State Lands Interactive Mapper

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 Lindbergh's solo trans-Atlantic flight in 1927. Harold Bixby reportedly 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 was often 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.

Featured Activities

Scuba Diving

scuba diving

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 Forward is located in 25-45 feet of water in very soft sediment, with her bow in deeper water. Do not touch or damage the wooden hull of the Forward which is fragile. Do not treat the site's hardware improperly.

A map and underwater signage directs divers to the trail system 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.

Directions

This site is located approximately 1,500 feet east of Diamond Island in the south basin of Lake George at 43.4584°N, 73.6712°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 Forward Underwater Classroom:

  • Important Links
  • Links Leaving DEC's Website
  • PDF Help
  • 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
    Send us an email
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