2015 PLANS

IMH will have two large field projects in 2015, plus at least one 4-day field school in site mapping in low visibility, and several weekends of coxswain training.  We will also deploy a new half-ton mooring for the dive boat buoy at the U-1105 Historic Shipwreck Preserve.  For the schedule and a brief summary of the two big projects please see the attached .pdf.

As always, for more information or to sign up for fieldwork and training please click the “contact” button on our home page.

Fall 2014 recon at Widewater VA

Attached is a summary report of our reconnaissance of wooden steamships from World War One at Widewater VA in September and October.  We will return to the site in September +/- October 2015 to continue work.  Please contact me if you would like to participate.

Dunmore reprise

During the fall and winter of 2014 and spring of 2015 we will resume our search for any remains of Lord Dunmore’s “Floating City” from 1776.  See attached summary.

2014 fieldwork plans, updated

IMH’s field projects for 2014 include the following —

1    Help Scott Tucker assess a 1680s site (done)
2    Search for eight sites in St Mary’s River for Maryland Historical Trust (July)
2a  Inspect a storm anchor in St Mary’s River, Maryland (July)
3    Assess a dozen WWI wooden steamers at Widewater, Virginia (September – October)
3a  Assess 14 Pootomac sites en route to Widewater (September)
4    Continue mapping Civil War wrecks at Quantico, Virginia (October)
5    Resume search for Lord Dunmore wrecks at St George Island, Maryland (July – Augusr and November)
6    Help LAMP search for French wrecks from 1565 off Florida (July – August)
7    Assess possible SS “Express” (1878) wreck near Patuxent River, Maryland (August – September?)

Specific dates will depend on weather and participants.  For more information or to join in fieldwork please click the “contact” button in the top right corner of this page and say which projects interest you.

Roper Finishes Overhaul and Heads South

RV Roper, the steel workhorse of the Institute of Marine History (IMH), spent three weeks on the hard for annual maintenance.  Major work included removing, tweaking, installing and re-aligning the engine, rebuilding the dry exhaust stack, professionally sandblasting the underwater hull, applying four coats of epoxy and two of non-ablative bottom paint, painting her topsides, fixing the on-board computer system, and installing a new Humminbird 1199 sidescan sonar.

Captain Brendan Burke, an underwater archaeologist from the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum in Florida, came to Tall Timbers for two weeks of sandblasting, welding, grinding, sanding, painting, wrenching, cursing, boat yoga, and the other joys of yotting.  Eighteen other volunteers gallantly joined the effort.  They included IMH members Dawn Cheshaek, Isabel Mack, John Dowdle, Sam Glover, Bill Isbell, Dan Lynberg, Kirk Pierce, Jim Sanborn, Ted Sargent, and Dave Howe; friends Kathleen Lowe, Kirk Esco, Mike Gates, Kathleen’s fiancé Brian, Hugh McKeever, and Hunter McNee; and Florida crew Tom Arnold and Brian McNamara.

On Saturday morning, 17 May, Brendan, Tom, and Brian McNamara started Roper south for Florida.  She passed through Great Bridge Lock at midnight, averaging 7 knots on her new, hard, clean bottom.  She will spend June working a shipwreck from 1782 as part of the Lighthouse’s annual field school in underwater archaeology, and July and August searching for French shipwrecks dating from 1565.  She will come home to Tall Timbers in September, spend six weeks mapping a dozen World War One wrecks near Aquia and two Civil War wrecks near Quantico, and retrieve the U-1105 mooring buoy on 1-2 November.


Roper haul

Our workboat Roper has begun her annual yard period in preparation for the 2014 field season.  Initial report attached, others to follow occasionally,  For a video of last year’s haul and fieldwork, compiled by Brendan Burke of LAMP, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVTUm-4hCVA&feature=youtu.be

IMH and BAREG on U-1105 wreck

If weather and luck are kind, BAREG and IMH will deploy the mooring buoy on the U-1105 on 12 April as we do every year to support the Maryland Historical Trust and the Naval History & Heritage Command.  Once the buoy is on, the site is open to the public for diving.  As a reminder to divers who are new to the site, the U-1105 is an Historic Shipwreck Preserve and is protected by federal and state law.  Do not disturb, move, or remove anything on the site.


2014 fieldwork plans

World War One started 100 years ago this August.  As we reach its centennial, IMH plans to map and assess the remains of approximately 15 large, wooden steamships from that war.  They were built for the US Shipping Board’s Emergency Fleet Corporation, and now lie submerged or partially exposed in an area of the Potomac River called Widewater, near Aquia Creek and near Mallows Bay, Maryland, where more than 150 of their sisters were burned for scrap in the 1920s.  We will also search for other wrecks in the vicinity, assess perhaps 15 more sites in transit, and report all findings to the Maryland Historical Trust or the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, depending on site locations.

Fieldwork is scheduled for the period from 13 September to 5 October.  This project will provide an excellent opportunity to engage volunteer divers in the assessment of a large number of large wrecks from a crucially historic period whose effects are still keenly felt today, in an area that is geographically convenient to Washington DC, and in diving conditions that are benign, if somewhat turbid.

Please review the attached project summary.  Then, if you are interested in participating, either click the “Contact” button above, or email david.howe@maritimehistory.org.