Wreckhunter.net

Hunting New England Shipwrecks

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Searching for Wrecks

After you've done your research, it's time to serch for the wreck. Searching usually requires a boat and a variety of specialized tools and techniques. For details on searching, see our Searching for Wrecks page. 

The pictures below show some of the tools and techniques used in searching for wrecks. Some of them have been in use for centuries, others are new high-tech stuff. For best results, you'll probably want to use a combination of old and new techniques. Click on the thumbnails below to see a larger image in a new window. Close the window to return here.

wreck-valley.JPG (16541 bytes) piloting-books.JPG (19883 bytes) chart-tools.JPG (22204 bytes)
You'll probably need
a boat - here's Dan Berg's
(Wreckvalley.com)
A knowledge of boat
operation and tides tables
(Photo by author)
You'll also need up-to-date
charts -- paper or electronic
(Photo by author)
range-diagram.JPG (11288 bytes) binocs-comp1.JPG (18480 bytes) sextant1.JPG (22352 bytes)
Wreck locations can be
pinpointed with ranges
(Photo by author)
You may also need binoculars
and a hand-bearing compass 
(Photo by author)
Triangulations can be
measured with a sextant
(Author's collection)
gar-gps.jpg (6139 bytes) gar-fishfinder.jpg (14575 bytes) towingfish-sciam.gif (25767 bytes)
A GPS is a great tool
for locating wrecks
(Garmin.com)
You can check bottom
contours with a fishfinder
(Garmin.com)
And if you're well-connected
or rich you can use
side-scan sonar
hamilton1.JPG (28494 bytes) hamilton-sketch.JPG (36394 bytes) marker-float.JPG (13677 bytes)
Here's a side-scan image
of a sailing ship
(National Geographic)
And here's an artists sketch
of what the sonar shows
(National Geographic)
Once you find the wreck
drop a weighted marker float
(Photo by author)
grapnel1.JPG (13408 bytes) intowater3.JPG (30140 bytes) towsled1.JPG (27134 bytes)
Hook the wreck with
an anchor or grapnel
(Photo by author)
Then it's time to hit the water
and see what you've found
(Photo by author)
A tow sled is a good tool
for surveying a wreck site
(Sketch by Bob Mannino)

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Copyright 2001 by Dave Clancy
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