The worst maritime disaster in Puget Sound and Seattle history. 45 to 54 people died when the excursion steamship Dix went down in less than 5 minutes.
500 ft (152.4 m)
One of the only known photos of SS Dix.
The Dix lies in 500 feet of water off Alki Point, West Seattle near the Bremerton to Seattle state ferry route at the bottom of Elliot Bay, one of several key bays and inlets on Puget Sound. Due to its depth and cold temperature, the wreck of Dix is a technical diving site, best reserved for ROV and manned submersible usage. On November 18, 2006, local excursion company Argosy Cruises provided a memorial cruise to the site of the sinking, commemorating 100th anniversary of the tragedy. The author and his father were present, both living in Seattle at the time. In 2011, the wreck of the Dix was discovered by divers Laura James, Joel Perry and Scott Boyd.
~ GPS Shipwreck Location ~
Latitude: 47° 35' 31.2" N Longitude: -122° 25' 12" W
The Dix lies on her starboard side, amazingly well intact despite being made of wood, albeit covered in local marine life. The wheel house and superstructure, often absent on wrecks of her type are still in place and highly recognizable, as is the propeller. This could be attributed to the cold temperatures of Puget Sound and the outstanding depth the Dix lies at.
The steamboat Dix was built at the shipyard of Crawford and Reid in Tacoma, Washington for the Seattle and Alki Point Transportation Company in 1904. She was part of the "mosquito fleet", a general term for the small excursion steamships that sailed Puget Sound. Although a commonly used vessel, Dix was known to have stability problems which originally kept her from seaworthiness certification, but in the end made her hard to handle. Her usual route was between Alki Point in West Seattle to downtown Seattle, across the Elliot Bay. In 1906, Dix was covering for the steamboat Monticello, when she collided with a cargo steamship, the Jeanie, the fault of Dix's crew. The Jeanie rammed the Dix forcing her onto her side and pushed her underwater, sinking the Dix in 5 minutes killing 45 to 54 people. Anyone below the main deck never had a chance. Dix is the worst maritime tragedy on Puget Sound and in Seattle's history.