Sunken discovery: scuba diver finds ship in Lake Ontario

Ship discovered

HENDERSON, N.Y. (WWNY) - A north country man’s hobby may have uncovered a piece of history.

Boating on Lake Ontario is nothing new. It goes back centuries.

But imagine going scuba diving and potentially discovering a centuries-old ship. Daniel Gildea might have done exactly that.

“If there is a time where you lose your breath underwater and that was it,” he said. “There’s this big wooden ship that’s 116 feet long laying underneath the lake that nobody knew was there.”

Gildea was tipped off when a friend of his got his anchor caught on something in the Henderson Bay area, originally thought to be a piece of wood.

Gildea took up scuba diving as a hobby eight years ago. He grabbed his gear to check it out.

“It kind of got my interest perked up to, what was that piece of wood and what exactly was the anchor caught on?” Gildea said. “So it drove me to do a little bit of research in the area and find that there was potentially more there to go explore and I grabbed my scuba gear and I just went looking.”

But what is this ship? Gildea’s been in contact with several maritime historians in the state to figure out the ship’s identity.

Gildea says he’s almost certain he was the first person to find it.

“There’s historical data that says, ‘we found this ship,’” he said “Just recently the Hartford, which was another three-mast wooden schooner, washed up on North Sandy Pond and the media attention that it draws nowadays tells me that this ship hasn’t been found or somebody would have said something about it to this point.”

Gildea also said that as cool as it is to find a shipwreck, he’s more interested in the ship’s story: what is the history behind the ship and what kind of artifacts may have been left behind?

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