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Kennard & Co. strike again, discover historic shipwreck in Lake Ontario

Club Fellow James Kennard FN’13 along with partners Roger Pawlowski and Roland Stevens, have continued their survey of Lake Ontario for historic shipwrecks, and have come up in spades once again. This time they’ve found the Ocean Wave, a schooner bound for Oswego in the winter of 1890 that hit gale force winds just 15 miles short of its destination.

Flying Explorers Club Flag #202
L to R: Roland Stevens, Jim Kennard, Roger Pawlowski

Kennard explains that “the waves created by these high winds may have exceeded 12 feet in height. The following day there were several reports from ships coming into port that they had passed what appeared to be the schooner Ocean Wave now bottom up and floating in the lake. A section of the stern with lath was seen floating northward. A tugboat was sent out from Oswego to rescue any survivors and possibly retrieve the sinking ship. The schooner was observed to be on its port side with just a portion of the starboard rail above the water and her spars floating nearby. The stern had been washed away and only a small portion of the lumber cargo remained in the hold. The yawl was still attached to the schooner but there were no survivors. The squall must have come very fast and hit hard, not giving the crew any time to reach the yawl and possible safety. Because the Ocean Wave was so badly broken up and the cargo of lumber nearly gone it was not worth towing back to Oswego.”

Wreck of the schooner Ocean Wave
Courtesy and copyright of Roland Stevens

The three men discovered the wreck last year using DeepVision side scan sonar, and returned this summer with a VideoRay ROV to survey and identify the vessel. To learn more about the history of the Ocean Wave’s fate, the ongoing Historic Shipwrecks of Lake Ontario Project, and the three men behind these discoveries, please read the full expedition report at

Click Here to read about Kennard, Stevens and Pawlowski’s discovery of the Atlas earlier in the summer, another historic schooner that met its fate on the rough waters of Lake Ontario.

Side scan sonar image of the wreck of the schooner Ocean Wave
Courtesy of Jim Kennard


Top Image: The ribs of the wreck of the schooner Ocean Wave which now lays flat as a pancake on the bottom of Lake Ontario. Courtesy of Roger Pawlowski.

This piece was adapted for the site from a report provided by Jim Kennard and

Published by : Kevin Murphy

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Background image photography courtesy of members Christoph Baumer, Neil Laughton, Matt Harris and Don Walsh's image of the Bathyscape Trieste