John J. Boland, Lake Erie

Pictures by Warren Lo 2007

Ship Type: Steel Freighter
Lifespan: Built 1928, Sunk October 1932
Length: 252ft
Depths: 130ft
Location: Lake Erie, Barcelona NY
GPS N42.22.794 W079.44.000

The John J. Boland, built in England in 1928 originally as the Tyneville, was a steel bulk freighter. On October 5, 1932, she was hauling a load of coal enroute from Hamilton, Ontario to Erie, PA when she foundered in rough seas. She was carrying an excess load of coal which could not fit below decks, so a hatch was left open. As water washed over the deck, the open hatch allowed water to fill the hold and eventually she lost steering and subsequently capsized. There were four crew memebers who were lost in the sinking, while eleven others made it to the lifeboat and rowed to shore. 

Sitting in approximately 130 ft of water, the wreck lies on her starboard side and is at the deep end of recreational limits. Because there is much to explore, technical decompression dives can be done for longer bottom times, however, there is still more than can likely be seen on one dive. One of the most prominent features is the four bladed propeller and rudder that adorn the stern. The railings, ladders, and portholes on the ship are still intact, as are the cargo holds. 

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All Photos copyright Warren Lo, 2007



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