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Standard Canal Boat: Wreck P4 (VT-AD-1022)


Preliminary archaeological drawing of Wreck P4.
Drawn by Chris Sabick and Joanne DellaSalla.

Wreck P4 is a standard canal boat located in 1992 by the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum during a side scan sonar survey. The site, which lies in Vermont waters, was identified as a standard canal boat during the 1992 dive verification work. It was relocated during the 2003 Lake Survey, and dive verified in August 2005.

The remains of Wreck P4 are almost completely buried into the lake bottom sediments. Along the sides only the frame tops and the upper edge of one hull plank are visible. Slightly more of the bow is visible which appears to be fairly intact, the stern is either broken up or completely buried. The visible hull remains measure 80ft (24.4m) in length but it is unclear if any further remains of the vessel may be buried and thus unnoted. Beam measurements were consistently 14ft (4.3m). These measurements suggest that this vessel was built prior to 1858.


Sonar image of Wreck P7 documented
during the 2003 Lake Survey.

The bow of wreck P4 is exposed to a height of 4ft (1.2m) above the mud. Like the rest of the vessel it is built in the plank-on-frame tradition. The bow has a very bluff shape and the stem appears to be vertical with no lean back noted. The planking of the bow was protected by at least two rubrails, which, like the stem, had an iron plate on their forward face. Along the sides of the vessel the hull planking is approximately 2in (5.1cm) thick and supported by 4in (10.2cm) square frames that are spaced 14in (35.1cm) to 15in (37.6cm) apart. Three deck beams remain on the site, they measure 4in (10.2cm) sided and 8in (20.4cm) molded. Each was supported by large knees on either side with a stanchion and saddle arrangement amidships. Only a few vertically oriented timbers protrude through the mud at the stern of the vessel, therefore it is impossible to determine the vessel’s stern type.

Information Source:
Adam I. Kane, A. Peter Barranco, Joanne M. DellaSalla, Sarah E. Lyman and Christopher R. Sabick, Lake Champlain Underwater Cultural Resources Survey, Volume VIII: 2003 Results and Volume IX: 2004 Results. Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, 2007.