Oswego – Bay of Sunken Houseboats
October 7, 2017
While searching for historic shipwrecks off Oswego we occasionally find modern boats on the bottom of Lake Ontario, the majority of which have been houseboats. Experienced boaters know that the lake can sometimes change very rapidly from calm waters into high waves without much warning. Taking a houseboat on a +50 mile journey across the lake from Oswego to Kingston or the St. Lawrence River can be a perilous journey with a very high potential of risk. Houseboats are not designed to accommodate large waves more than a few feet. Over the years some people who took that risk lost their boat and sometimes their life.
Here are a few of the houseboats that sank off Oswego that never made it to their final destination:
With a final "Glug, Glug, Glug" this yet to be identified houseboat ended in 337 feet of water about 6 miles north of Oswego. The heavy growth of mussels on the boat would indicate it has been on the bottom for a long time. A New York registration number of NY 1921 DS appears above one of the side windows. Perhaps someone can remember the details of this long gone houseboat.
In September 1973, the owner of a shipyard in Clayton, NY set out on Lake Ontario to deliver a 32 foot houseboat to the new owner in Oswego. He was last seen around 6 PM at a marina in Cape Vincent were he filled both gas tanks for the +50 mile trip to Oswego. Travelling at night added another level of risk to his lake journey. The houseboat sank in deep water enroute between Galloo Island light and Oswego. His body was never found.
Harborfest - Houseboat
During Harborfest '93 northwest winds were kicking up eight-foot waves on Lake Ontario. A 32-foot houseboat was out on the lake that day. The little, calm-water vessel didn't stand a chance, and foundered in 32 feet of water two miles west of Oswego Harbor. The two men aboard were rescued by the Coast Guard. The houseboat is now the new home of plenty of bass and perch. The real name of the vessel is all but forgotten. Local divers began referring to it as the "Harborfest Houseboat". The name stuck after it appeared in a newspaper's trivia article in 1996.
E Zee CRUZ'N
In July 2003, grandparents with a 3 year old child attempting to return to Canada encountered six foot waves which overturned their houseboat when 8 miles off Oswego. They had been advised by the US Coast Guard not to set out in the lake but decided to go anyway. They radioed the Coast Guard for assistance but provided incorrect GPS co-ordinates. Fortunately this happened during the 2003 Pro-Am Fishing Tournament and fishing boats Trout One and Candy saw the flares that were fired signaling distress. The E Zee CRUZ'N sank within a few minutes. The couple and young child were rescued by the fishermen and brought to the Oswego Coast Guard station for observation and then released.