Lake Union Relics

 The Center for Wooden Boats, who see Lake Union as a “cultural and natural museum,” has initiated a project with the Department of Natural Resources to explore beneath the lake. The goal is to learn about Lake Union’s maritime heritage by investigating the sunken ships that lie on the bottom.   

DCS Films and the Maritime Documentation Society will work closely with DNR to record the dimensions of each vessel as well as High Definition video images. Later DCS and MDS will assist in research to identify each wreck and tell its story. The Submerged Cultural Resources Exploration Team will be assisting the CWB and DNR as well, with video imagery and research work.

DCS Films and MDS are also working with divers Ron Jacobsen, Erik Foreman, and Chris Borgen who have spearheaded the exploration of Lake Union for several years.

In the first phase of the project, sonar mapping of the lake bottom found 19 possible sunken boats, with many more uncharted. The second phase will be the dive teams descending to visit the targets. Lake Union is closed to diving so both teams will work closely with the Seattle Harbor Patrol to aid in safety.

Researchers will compare the divers’ descriptions with archival evidence and oral histories to piece together a story for each ship. Washington’s vast amount of submerged cultural resources has mostly gone undocumented, until now. Through this project, DNR is proud to contribute to local community heritage and uphold its role as a good steward of these precious resources.

Courtesy UW Archives

Courtesy Tacoma Public Library

Copyright art by Willie Davidson

A short documentary by Vaun Raymond of our survey in Lake Union. Also the day we discovered Phil Irwin.

Excellent documentary on our Lake Union survey made by Tammy Weyers and Barry Ford at the Art Institute.

NEW documentary by Vaun Raymond!

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