Dive team investigates sunken vessel near Locks

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is sending its dive team to look at the remains of a 165′ light ice breaker Coast Guard Cutter Onondaga that is under 25 feet of water near the Ballard Locks.

USCGC Onondaga, photographed during World War II, probably in Pacific Northwest or Alaskan waters.

From the EPA release:

The Team will inspect the vessel for any hazardous materials, batteries, fuel tanks, etc. The Cutter is lying on the bottom of the Lake Washington ship canal, in approximately 25ft. of water, near the Ballard Locks. The survey is being done to support EPA’s “Puget Sound Initiative” to help protect both fish and wildlife habitat and local residents from possible water pollution threats.

The Onondaga was commissioned in 1934 and decommissioned in 1947. It was then sold to Foss Launch and Tug Company in 1954. According to this site, it was then sold to a private owner and was abandoned and later sank.

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Boardbrown
Member
Boardbrown

Wow, that’s crazy! 25 feet doesn’t seem like nearly enough water to hide a boat that big for so long.

Morgan
Guest
Morgan

It is not exactly hidden. You can see it on Google Earth or Maps if you search for Ballard Oil and then zoom in to the south end of their longest dock. Part of the ship is still above the water.

Morgan
Guest
Morgan

It is not exactly hidden. You can see it on Google Earth or Maps if you search for Ballard Oil and then zoom in to the south end of their longest dock. Part of the ship is still above the water.

Dweezil
Member
Dweezil

Wow you’re right. I see it two docks west of Ballard Oil. And it looks like a boat is using it to tie off.

dennis
Guest
dennis

The boat is not “under 25 feet of water” but it is “in 25 feet of water” and parts of it actually protrude above the water surface.

Donaup
Guest
Donaup

It is an historically interesting vessel in that it was in Dutch Harbor when the Japanese attacked and was one of the few sources of return fire against the marauding aircraft. My father told of sailing on the “Rolling O” as a Coast Guardsman in support of the Loran station on Middleton Island in the Gulf of Alaska. Rough weather had the ship living up to her nickname rolling through 90 degrees, sailors traversing fore and aft passageways with one foot on deck and one on alternate bulkheads. He mentioned the bow had been reinforced with extra plating for ice duty. In the late 80’s I was rowing in the ship canal and noted an interesting older ship with a painted name obscuring the welded plate name Onondaga. I drifted toward the bow where the extra plating was evident and realized I was looking at a ship my father had been on in a far away war. Later, after it sank at its mooring, I drifted over its much reduced deck, a lot of the superstructure had been removed, marveling at how small it was compared to what I had imagined. Little do the vessels that pass it now on… Read more »

Boardbrown
Member
Boardbrown

Thanks for clarifying, I can see that now. Very cool!

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Nice boat.

cdpenne
Member
cdpenne

Damn… that’s what happened to my boat. I wasn’t that drunk, for that … long.

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