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Steamboat Phoenix

Part of the Lake Champlain Underwater Historic Preserve System , freely available to any certified SCUBA diver. Please Register Annually to dive this system.

Plan drawing of steamboat Phoenix
Steamboat Phoenix.

The Phoenix, built by the Lake Champlain Steamboat Company and launched in 1815, was the second commercial steamboat on Lake Champlain. The steamer, commanded by Captain Jehaziel Sherman, maintained a regular schedule between Whitehall, NY and St. Johns, Quebec, with stops at other Lake ports along the route.

At 11:00 P.M. on September 4, 1819, the Phoenix left Burlington for Plattsburgh, NY, with 46 passengers and crew, under the command of Captain Sherman's son, Richard. An unusual glow in the amidships galley provided the first warning that a fire had broken out on board, but the discovery was made too late to save the Phoenix. The passengers were roused from their cabins and loaded into two small boats. Unfortunately, in the confusion, a dozen people (including the captain) were left to fend for themselves on the burning ship.

Sherman and several others were rescued from the Lake in the morning but six others were not so lucky and perished in the Lake's cold, dark waters. The cause of the fire was said to have been a candle carelessly left burning in the pantry; however, circumstantial evidence suggests that the fire may have been intentionally set by competing lake sailing interests.

Information about the wreck of the Phoenix is exhibited at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum's Basin Harbor facility.

Features of Interest

Diving Information

Location

PHOENIX IS A DEEP DIVE
WATCH YOUR DEPTH AND TIME
MONITOR YOUR AIR

Please Register Annually to dive the Lake Champlain Underwater Historic Preserve system.