Port Hope, Ontario, September 7, 2013
Save Ontario Shipwrecks (Toronto Chapter), with generous support from the Ontario Scuba Community, the Municipality of Port Hope, the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture, & Sport, and the Canadian Coast Guard, successfully placed a mooring system on the historical shipwreck of the P. B. Locke today.
The operation involved the lowering of two 2-ton concrete blocks and the installation of a Canadian Coast Guard-approved mooring buoy equipped with radar reflector, flasher, and tagline. The mooring system will help promote, protect, and preserve this piece of Port Hope’s maritime history for all Ontarians and, in particular, those who participate in the sport of scuba diving.
The P.B. Locke was built in Ohio in 1873, and the 136 foot, three-masted wooden schooner served for many years in the Great Lakes before being repurposed as a barge for Point Anne Quarries Ltd. out of the Bay of Quinte. She eventually sank during a fierce storm in 1912 while carrying a cargo of stone. Now lying in 80 feet of water on the sandy bottom of Lake Ontario, she was discovered by 3 divers from the Nautilus Scuba Club of Cobourg & Port Hope in 2000, after a lengthy search.
Ontario is increasingly becoming known as the freshwater shipwreck diving capital of the world. The mooring of the P.B. Locke is one of more than a hundred historical shipwrecks moored in Ontario, and is the first shipwreck to be marked in the Northumberland area. Along with increasing scuba diving-related tourism to the area, the mooring buoy is expected to reduce fishing tackle entanglement and anchor damage to the shipwreck.
Future plans include unveiling a commemorative plaque and conducting an underwater baseline archaeological survey.
For more information on the P.B. Locke and how to have an SOS mooring system installed on a shipwreck in your area, please visit SOS’ website at www.saveontarioshipwrecks.ca or contact Raimund Krob, Chair, SOS Mooring Program, at 416-283-0467 or firstname.lastname@example.org