The USS TARANTULA 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.
known as the Gun Boat, the identity of this wreck had been unknown since she was
originally located by Jay Porter. She was given the name Gun Boat by divers who
noticed the armament that she had carried.
1985, Billy "Bubbles" deMarigny, a local diver, found and recovered
the ship's brass bell. Inscribed on the bell was the ship's true name,
Tarantula. The Tarantula was a private steam yacht. But why would a yacht be
armored?. Through some research, I believe I've found the answer.
researching the name, Tarantula, I came across two ships. Both were yachts owned
by W.K. Vanderbilt, one built in 1902 and the other in 1912. I thought I had
found the answer when I read that the ship built in 1902 had been commissioned
by the Canadian Navyduring WW I.
This ship was renamed the H.M.C.S. Tuna and would have certainly explained the
wreck's guns, but unfortunately my early assumption was wrong. The Tuna had
never sunk; she was sold in 1918 and eventually stripped for salvage. The Gun
Boat wreck off of Long Island was the 128 foot by 19 foot, 159 ton U.S.S.
Tarantula, built by George Lawley and Son Corp in 1912. She was in service with
the U.S.Navy at the time of her loss. After a collision with the Royal Holland
Loyd Line steamship, SS Frisia, on October 28, 1918, the Tarantula sunk.
1988, Steve Bielenda and I were filming the marine life on this wreck. I was
filming a three foot Angler fish swimming over some low lying wreckage when we
both noticed the outline of another angler fish hidden in the sand. The second
fish was huge, almost five feet long and most definitely the largest fish of
this species either Steve or I have ever seen. We also found a few 40 pound cod
fish and an eight pound lobster. We were both amazed at the quantity and size of
marine life inhabiting this little wreck.
the U.S.S. Tarantula lies 22 miles off Jones Inlet in 115 feet of water. If you
want to dive on her or fish over this wreck, most captains know her as the Good
Gun Boat wreck. The remains are very low lying with only her boilers coming off
the bottom about seven feet. She lies in a straight line. Her bow, which only
protrudes about three feet off the bottom, still has a navy anchor in place on
the starboard side. Divers can dig just ahead of the boilers for ammunition or
behind the boilers for china and silverware.
in a Bottle.
Replica of the Tarantula built by Capt. Dan Berg in 2010. To see
additional shipwrecks in bottles or to learn about building ship
in a bottle click link below.
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