From Jim Kennard
Minimal Benefits for a Federally Funded Lake Ontario NOAA Marine Sanctuary
There are areas of the country where a NOAA marine sanctuary has provided a benefit via increased recreational activities and tourism due to unique opportunities that exist in those areas, but these do not apply to the proposed Lake Ontario Marine Sanctuary.
For the past 45 years our shipwreck discovery team has located 15 of the 21 shipwrecks described in the proposed Lake Ontario Marine Sanctuary. We have thoroughly researched the 47 potential submerged resources and found that over 50% were incorrectly reported. In May 2019 the National Museum of the Great Lakes published my book Shipwrecks of Lake Ontario – A Journey of Discovery which details the discoveries along with the historical research and imagery of all 21 shipwrecks listed in the proposed area. Listed below are my reasons why I believe there are minimal benefits for federally funding the proposed Lake Ontario NOAA Marine Sanctuary based on my knowledge of the shipwrecks that exist in the proposed area and the general public interest that I have observed,
- No shipwreck observation opportunities by the public
- Potential submerged resources have been grossly overstated
- Federal and State laws already protect shipwrecks in New York State waters
- Monitoring shipwrecks without being able to stop the buildup of quagga muscles – A waste of funding
- Research, documentation, and imagery is published in Shipwrecks of Lake Ontario
- HMS Ontario is a war grave, and is not located in Lake Ontario eastern basin – do not include
- Several local museums currently have shipwreck displays for their area
- A centralized shipwreck facility could pull public interest away from visits to other towns
- General public interest today in shipwreck presentations is declining
- Recommendation: Individual townships promote the history of ships wrecked off their shores
Minimal recreation diving opportunities
There are only 6 recreational diving (limit of 130 feet) opportunities off the southern shore of Lake Ontario. Among those the only real shipwreck of historic interest is the schooner St. Peter off Pultneyville. There is very little remaining of the steamer David Mills except ribs and a boiler near Oswego on Ford Shoals. Two of the other wrecks, a house boat and tugboat, are totally smashed up. The tug Cormorant and overturned USCG cable barge are post 1950’s wrecks. The remaining 15 shipwrecks in the proposed marine sanctuary, which our team discovered, are way beyond the recreational diving limits. The recreational diveable wrecks that are that exist in the northern area of the proposed preserve are far from land and not economically worthwhile for dive boat charters operating in the St. Lawrence River.