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The R.C. Mohawk Shipwreck  New York and New Jersey's Wreck Valley
Historical and current New York and New Jersey Shipwreck Information and images for scuba divers and fisherman. 
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The Revenue Cutter, Mohawk, was built in 1902 in Richmond, Virginia. She was commissioned on May 10, 1904, and was owned by the Treasury Department. The Mohawk was 205 feet, six inches long, 32 feet wide, powered by steam and displaced 980 tons. On April 6, 1917, she was temporarily transferred to the Navy. The Mohawk served coastal duty for convoy operations.

 On October 1, 1917, the single screw cutter was sunk due to a collision with the British tanker, SS Vennachar. According to the Navy's report of the incident,  " The British vessel struck the Mohawk nearly at right angles, her stem cutting into the side amidships, abreast the engine room, between the launch davits, smashing the surf boat and cutting into the ship's side to such an extent that the use of a collision mat was out of the question.... Pumps were started at once, the general alarm sounded and all hands called to take stations for abandoning ship". The ship filled rapidly and began settling by the stern. She took one hour to go down which left plenty of time for all 77 crew members to be rescued by the USS Mohigan and USS Sabalo. The USS Bridge arrived on the scene and attached a cable to the Mohawk's bow bit. She then attempted to tow the Mohawk into shallow water. Before rescuers were able to generate any forward movement, it was noticed that the Mohawk had begun to sink rapidly and list heavily to port. The commanding officer of the Bridge was forced to cut the tow line and throw both engines into full speed ahead to get clear. " With her bow high in the air, the Mohawk settled slowly emitting quantities of smoke".


Painting of the RC Mohawk by Byron A.Nilsson. Byron is the son of one of the RC's crew members. Copyright 2004



 Today, the R.C. Mohawk rests on a silty bottom, ten miles south of Debs Inlet, 12.5 miles from Sandy Hook in 105 feet of water. Her bow sits upright, amidships is broken down. Her boilers are recognizable, while her engine remains upright and her stern lies on its starboard side and is now collapsed flat. For many years, her location was not too suitable for divers or fishermen, since its was almost directly under a sewage dump location, but this is changing with the new offshore dumping laws. In fact, the wreck has been cleaning up, visibility is better, and the bottom is becoming less silty. Just as an example, I have made many visits to this wreck over the past few years and have never until this year had more than two feet of visibility. On two trips this year, I've seen visibility upwards of 15 feet. As a side note, I would still not recommend eating any lobsters from this site due to the previous years of dumping, but she is definitely recommended  to divers looking for artifacts.



The above painting was done by Byron Nilsson who's father served aboard the Mohawk from 1909-1915. Mr. Nilsson also sent me this picture which depicts his father and crew. His father is top
row, second from the left, holding kitten.


This photo of the USRC Mohawk was taken in dry dock after the vessel ran aground in Hells Gate.

Above image courtesy Byron Nilsson. Photo is of the crew of the RC Mohawk ,
lined up and ready to march in the 1909 Hudson-Fulton celebration.  
This is actually a post card that was sold during the event.   This was
a colossal (never to be repeated) event with navy ships from all
maritime nations and activities on the Hudson River from NYC to Albany. 
In the parade, on Fifth Ave,  the Mohawk crew marched behind the Spanish 
seamen.   The Mohawk monitored  activities  such as  crew (rowing)
races.   Mr Nilsson's dad is in this photo he is in the second line; his head is
between  the heads of the  first two men   in first line.... left side
of photo. 

Above image courtesy Byron Nilsson. On original photo with a magnifying glass  you can read Mohawk on Crew members Nilsson's cap.   He's sitting, left side of photo; the other guy has his
hair bunched in front of cap.

Crew photo courtesy Byron Nilsson. Mr Nilsson writes "Part of the crew aboard ship; cook sprawled on the deck. This appears to be near the elevated  stern.  Note one boat swung in and
davit near the crew appears swung out.    I don't think that we are
seeing the  landing for the boat. I believe the person taking the photo is standing on the boat landing and the boat crew is merely holding the boat for the photo".

RC Mohawk in a bottle


In 2010 Byron Nilsson emailed photographs of a beautiful model of the RC Mohawk. This model was built from scratch and was based on blueprints of the Mohawks sister ship.



Deck gun recovered from the RC Mohawk by diver John Gorman. Photo by Dan Berg

Capt. Ed Slater with silverware and a dish recovered from the RC Mohawk wreck.

Diver Fred Belise with a gold pocket watch recovered from the Mohawk shipwreck. Photo by Dan Berg

Bell recovered from the RC Mohawk by Aquarians dive Club. Photo by Dan Berg


R.C. Mohawk Shipwreck. Photo Dan Berg Wreck Valley Collection.

Frank Persico recovered these portholes.

Capt. Rick Schwarz with sounding weight from the R.C. Mohawk Shipwreck. Photo Dan Berg Wreck Valley Collection.

R.C. Mohawk Shipwreck. Photo Dan Berg Wreck Valley Collection.

Sketch of the R.C. Mohawk Shipwreck. Photo Dan Berg Wreck Valley Collection.

Telegraph from the R.C. Mohawk Shipwreck. Photo Dan Berg Wreck Valley Collection.






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