The Malta 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.
DIRECTIONS: (Belmar, Monmouth County)
Take the Garden State Parkway to Exit 100 and head east on Rt 33.
Turn right on Main St, then left on9th Ave. The wreck is off Ocean
Ave at the base of 9th.
The Malta was originally built in 1852 as the Queen Of The South.
She was then re-named Milford Haven. In the early 1870s she was
converted to sail and renamed Malta. The Malta was 244 feet long,
had a 40 foot beam and displaced 1,600 tons.
The Malta was en-route from Antwerp to New York with thousands of
empty petroleum barrels. At3:30 AM November 24, 1855, the Malta ran
aground during a fierce northeast gale. Within minutes of running
aground the surfmen from the nearby Lifesaving Station came to the
rescue and attempted to shoot a rescue line across the bow of the
stricken vessel. On the third try, the crew aboard the Malta caught
the line and secured it twenty feet up the foremast. Lifesavers used
a breeches buoy to rescue 23 of the 24 crew. One sailor apparently
delirious with fear attempted to swim to shore rather than waiting
for his turn on the breeches buoy. His body was found six miles away
the next day.
After many futile attempts to pull the Malta into deeper water the
ship finally gave in to the constant pounding of the surf and broke
amidships on December 11, 1885.
Today, the wreckage of the steamer lies about 100 yards off the
beach in 20 feet of water. Visibility around the wreck ranges from
one to 15 feet. The Malta's cargo included wood barrels, some of
which can still be observed on the site. According to Bill Davis,
the exposed section of the wreck is metal and measures approximately
ten feet by five feet wide. Her anchor can still be seen rising from
the sand off the wreck, but is often overlooked due to the marine
growth that disguises it. Diver Bill Schmoldt tells us that her
rudder was standing up for years and that not too many artifacts
have been recovered from the site, probably because most the wreck
is always buried.
No diving is permitted off the shore here between 9:00 AM and 5:00
PM from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Best conditions are at high tide
and divers should wait for a calm day. Captain Kevin Brennan reports
that at low tide her rudder post protrudes through the surface,
which makes locating the wreck site simple.
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