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Lake Winnipesaukee Dive Sites
Lady of the Lake - "The Lady" was built in 1848-1849 by the Winnipesaukee Steamship Co. She was a side wheel paddle wheeler, 125 feet long, and went on to dominate commercial lake traffic until 1872, when the steamship "Mt. Washington" was launched. In 1893, she was docked in Glendale Cove (now named Smith Cove), stripped of machinery, and used for temporary housing for the workmen building Kimball's Castle. In 1895, her keel was filled with rocks and she was going to be sunk in deep water north of Rattlesnake Island. While being towed, she sank unexpectedly in the middle of the cove. She rests upright in 30 feet of water in front of Marine Patrol Headquarters. She is one of the easiest and most popular dive sites in the lake. The water temperature ranges between 65-78 degrees in the summer, requiring full wetsuits. The average visibility is 20-25 feet. The double layered oak hull and decking remain intact allowing for diving through the deck holes and peeking out the portholes. There is a tremendous fish population living on and around the wreck including; small & large mouth bass, yellow perch, sunfish, hornpout, and an occasional cusk or eel. Click here to see renderings of "The Lady", before and after.Steam Barge - This wreck sank in the early 1900's near Weirs Beach. It can be found in about 45 feet of water due east of the black and white buoy off of Doe Point. It was a work barge designed for driving pilings into the mud. The wreck is intact. It sits upright and the crane and boiler are still attached. This is a cold dive (52 degrees F in the summer) so a hood and gloves are strongly recommended. "Empty Pockets" and The Diamond Island Dory - These 2 wrecks are located close to one another off the NW point of Diamond Island. "Empty Pockets" is a twin engine cabin cruiser about 28 feet long. It rests in about 55 feet of water. Registration suggests that it sank in the late 1970's. The hull is intact but the helm station has begun caving in.
The Diamond Island Dory is located to the southeast of "Empty Pockets" about 40 yards towards the island. This 19 foot boat is in about 35 feet of water. There may still be a line running from the starboard side bow rail of "Empty Pockets" to the Dory.Old Navy Underwater Laser Testing Site - Just south of "Empty Pockets" is the location of the Navy's old underwater laser testing site that dates back to the mid-1950's. The Visibility Lab of the SCRIPPS Institution of Oceanography conducted testing to study laser transmission through water. A railcar that ran on a track, like a coal-mining railcar, was used to measure how fast the laser beams were traveling through water. One of the railcar staging towers can be found in 45 feet of water. A few pieces of the railcar track can be found laying on the bottom. Ship Island Wrecks - There are two wrecks located off the eastern side of Ship Island. The 1st wreck lies directly east of Ship Island on a rocky slope at a depth of 30 feet. It appears to be a 25 foot cruiser with a closed bow from the 1950's. The hull is visible along with a big block motor and shaft and batteries. The 2nd wreck lies north of the 1st wreck in 85 feet of water. This wreck is about 18 feet long, a red hull with white decking and a steering wheel. There is no motor and no visible hardware. Both wrecks can be found on a single dive.
To locate the shallower wreck, anchor off the east side of Ship Island in 15-20 feet of water directly facing Little Barndoor Island. Check the following compass headings from the surface.
150 degrees to eastern black marker buoy off Moose Island.
Swim down the slope to 27 feet of water on a heading of 90 degrees. Keep the bottom about 3 feet below yourself. At 27 feet, turn south and follow the slope at 27 feet until the wreck is found. It is behind a big rock.
The deeper wreck is north of the 1st wreck. You will want a hood, gloves and a light for this dive. To locate the deeper wreck, first find the shallower wreck. Then swim east down the slope to 38 feet and turn north. Find a small rockpile and beer can. There is a line attached and marked with some pink surveyors tape. Follow the line, which turns into a white fibertape line, to the wreck in 85 feet of water.Horseboat Barge - This flat-bottomed vessel was one of the earliest on the lake. Typical of Yankee ingenuity, the barge was powered by two horses on a treadmill with a large stern sweep for steering. It was used primarily to deliver coal and other goods to the islands in the 1850's and 1860's. This type of barge eventually became obsolete with the invention of the steam engine. There are only two known examples of this type of boat left in the United States. This 60 foot long wreck lies near the western end of Bear Island, just south of the mail boat dock. The bow rests in 22 feet of water while the stern slopes down to almost 40 feet. The hull remains mostly intact but there is no evidence of any decking left. The bottom and sides are still in good condition. Some tools and pieces of coal can be found around the area of the barge. This area was also a dump site for a prominent hotel located on Bear Island, so many artifacts can be found here as well. Parker Island - Interesting rock formations were formed when the glaciers pushed through the area creating very distinct cuts, tunnels, and striations. Quartz veins have been exposed. The rock ledge forms what appears to be a staircase made for a giant, which starts in about 15 feet of water and descends down to 60 feet. Loon Cove - The wreck of the Echo Junior lies in about 38 feet of water on the south side of the red buoy in Alton Bay. The 28-foot hull is still intact. It burned to the waterline on its maiden voyage. The engine of the 1940's speedboat is a 12-cylinder Allison Aircraft engine. Clark's Point - An excellent location for a shore dive. This site is accessible from McKinney Park. The dive starts off in a shallow, rocky area with some sandy patches, great for practicing skills. Move away from shore and there are enormous rock formations with the depth dropping to about 30 feet. Continue out to a depth of about 45 feet and the "wall" starts. The "wall" drops down to 90 feet with a maximum depth of 105 feet. There are some interesting wall contours, with a few resident eels. There is also a cavern at the bottom of the wall. Goodhue and Hawkins Navy Yard - A lot of boat hulls, barges, and engines were sunk throughout the mooring fields during the many years of the yard. To the right of the anchored sailboats, there is a single engine steamship located in 39 feet of water. Next to the steamship is the hull of a small cruiser. Rum Point - Located on the shores of West Alton, this site has tremendous rock and wall formations. There is an assortment of fish life. Join us in the hunt for the sunken logging truck that sank in 1965 towards Echo Shores or the missing shipment of illegal rum. This point was one of the popular launching sites during prohibition and a load was lost.