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The Kenosha Shipwreck  New York's Wreck Valley
Historical and current New York's Shipwreck Information and images for scuba divers and fisherman.
 
Shipwreck Kenosha 

 This wreck, which has always been known as the Fire Island Lightship, lies in 105 feet of water, ten miles southeast of Fire Island Inlet. Until 1986, she was still a mystery to us. Although a few sources report the Lightship sinking on May 8, 1916, she really didn't. On this date, the liner, Philadelphian, collided with the Fire Island Lightship, but although damaged, she was towed to Staten Island where full repairs were made.

 "After diving this wreck and finding a wood hulled ship, I discovered and confirmed that this truly could not have been the steel hulled Lightship, but a wreck given the name for its location". This was taken from the original Wreck Valley book, but we now have discovered her true identity to be that of the Kenosha.

 On August 13, 1986, aboard the Research Vessel Wahoo, a group of divers steamed toward the Lightship. After the first dive, Marc Weiss surfaced with the ship's brass windlass cover which turned out to be the key to identifying the wreck. Engraved on it were the words " Madagascar, James Davidson, American Shipbuilders Company." With this information, I started to research the wreck. Although all of my usual channels of information produced nothing on a vessel named Madagascar sinking off Long Island, I eventually discovered that the Madagascar, which was a 243 foot, wood hulled inland freighter built in 1894, had changed names in 1907 to Kenosha, before foundering on July 24, 1909. At the time of her sinking, she was carrying a cargo of coal and had twelve crew on board. It was not until October of 1989 that I was finally able to locate a topside photograph. We could see at last what this vessel had actually looked like.

 The Kenosha is one of the best and my favorite lobstering wrecks in the area. Five pound lobsters are almost commonplace, and lobsters up to 15 pounds can still be seen by divers who look deep inside her crisscrossed ribs. But just because divers can see them, it doesn't mean they can catch them. It's like sticking your hand in a cookie jar and grabbing a big handful. You can easily put your hand on a big bug, but more often than not, you can't pull your hand out of the hole with a fistful of lobster.  

During the summer of 2006 I was swimming around the wrecks engine. I have been on this wreck many times and always swim around the engine looking for lobsters. This time I spotted a brass handle sticking out of the sand. Vis was better than 30 feet. With just a little tug I pulled out the wrecks brass steam whistle. Within only 10 minutes of jumping in the water I had sent the artifact to the surface on a lift bag.

The late Harvey Lenoard with a monster lobster he caught on the Kenosha. Courtesy Capt. Dan Berg Wreck Valley Collection.

Capt. Dan Berg with steam whistle recovered from the Kenosha Wreck in 2006. Photo by Mel Brenner.

Mark with the capstain cover he recovered from the wreck. Courtesy Capt. Dan Berg Wreck Valley Collection.

Underwater sketch of the Kenosha wreck site. Courtesy Capt. Dan Berg Wreck Valley Collection.

Capt. Hank Garvin with two big bugs found on the Kenosha wreck. Photo by Dan Berg

Capt. Dan Berg with two big bugs caught while diving the Kenosha. Photo by Steve Bielenda.

Courtesy Capt. Dan Berg Wreck Valley Collection.

Capt. Bob Cass with a nice size lobster from the Kenosha. Courtesy Capt. Dan Berg Wreck Valley Collection.

Capt. Steve Bielenda holds the cappstain cover that lead to wrecks identification. Photo by Dan Berg

Photo: Capt. Dan Berg recovered the Kenosha's Steam Whistle in 2006. Photo by Mel Brenner.
Top Photo: Kenosha Shipwreck. Courtesy Capt. Dan Berg Wreck Valley Collection.

 

 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 

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