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The Sandy Hook (Pilot Boat) 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.
 

 

The Sandy Hook was built at the Crescent Ship Yard in Elizabeth, New Jersey, back in 1902.  She was originally named the Anstice when sailing as a private steam yacht.  She was later renamed the Privateer and finally Sandy Hook when commissioned and refitted as a pilot boat in 1914. 

On April 27, 1939, while sailing in a dense fog, the steam powered, 361 ton pilot boat was rammed aft of the port beam and sunk by the Norwegian ship, Oslofjord.  All 20 pilots and six crew members were rescued with little or no injuries. Robert Peterson, one of the pilots aboard the Sandy Hook, gave the following account to the NEW YORK POST. " I was in the main saloon, prepared to board the vessel as she neared. Suddenly I looked out the porthole and there was the bow of the boat almost on top of us. I jumped and ran out of the cabin. The next instant, she hit us. Everybody ran for the boats as mast and booms crashed on deck smashing a life boat".   (Capt. Ed Slater with a decorative wall lamp.)

A side story to the Sandy Hook's sinking is the presence of royalty aboard the Oslofjord. Crown Prince Olav and Princess Martha of Norway, on their way to visit President Roosevelt, were slightly detained due to the accident. The Prince reported that on board the Oslofjord they barely even felt the collision that sent one vessel to the bottom.

 About four years ago, I ran my boat to this wreck. Diving partners Rick Schwarz, Dennis Berg and I descended and within ten minutes, I had sent a porthole to the surface. Unfortunately it was still attached to a steel hull plate and required a 500 pound lift bag. Although we tried, we couldn't get the cumbersome artifact onto the boat, and had to cut it free. We have made many dives on this wreck since then, but I've never been able to relocate the porthole. I figure, it's lying in the sand somewhere, just east of her bow section.

 Today, the Sandy Hook, also known as the Pilot Boat wreck, rests in 100 feet of water just east of Ambrose Light Tower, seven miles southwest of Debs Inlet. Her bow is broken and lies on its starboard side. Behind the bow lies a debris field, and further back sits the intact stern section. The water over this wreck is usually clear but also dark. A dive light and navigation reel are mandatory gear for this dive! Everything from portholes to lamps and glassware has been recovered from this site.

Nick Sinnott with porthole recovered from the Pilot Boat wreck on 5-12-07  

 


Pilot Boats anchor. See additional photos of salvage. Photo by Dan Berg

Porthole backing plate recovered by Mel Brenner and Dan Berg 7/10/10

 

Sandy Hook shipwreck. Photo courtesy Dan Berg Wreck Valley Collection.

Capt. Dan Berg, Phil Senk, Art, Aaron Hirsh and Capt. John Lachenmayer with anchor salvaged from the Pilot Boat Shipwreck.

Dan Berg with portholes from the Sandy Hook shipwreck. Photo courtesy Dan Berg Wreck Valley Collection.

Sandy Hook shipwreck. Photo courtesy Dan Berg Wreck Valley Collection.

Rick Schwarz with artifact from the Sandy Hook shipwreck. Photo courtesy Dan Berg Wreck Valley Collection.

Capt. Ed Slater and Dan Berg with portholes from the Sandy Hook Shipwreck. Photo by Aaron Hirsh.

Frank Persico recovered this wall lamp from the Sandy Hook shipwreck. Photo courtesy Dan Berg Wreck Valley Collection.

Underwater sketch of the Sandy Hook shipwreck. Photo courtesy Dan Berg Wreck Valley Collection.

Sandy Hook shipwreck. Photo courtesy Dan Berg Wreck Valley Collection.

Sandy Hook shipwreck. Photo courtesy Dan Berg Wreck Valley Collection.

Capt. Ed Slater with a porthole recovered from the Pilot Boat shipwreck. Photo by Dan Berg

 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 

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