Description: freighter, iron.
Dimensions: length 274.3 ft., width 41 ft., depth 31.3 ft.
Tonnage: gross 2638, other.
Propulsion: steam, propeller.
Machinery: 2500 indicated horsepower, 3 cylinder triple-expansion engine with cylinder diameters 23 inches, 39 inches, 66 inches and a stroke of 42 inches; 2, coal fired, Babcock and Wilcox Co., water tube boilers; solid bronze propeller.

The Shipwreck

Date Sunk: March 7, 1944.
Cause: stranded.
Location: Martha's Vineyard, under the cliffs of Gay Head.
Coordinates: latitude 41° - 20.9' N; longitude 70° - 50.5' W.

As so often is the case with World War II shipwrecks, news of the Herman Winter's demise was withheld from the general populace so as not to cause panic, should the loss be attributed to enemy action. As a result, information concerning this vessel's fate is very limited.

Dive Site Conditions

The broken remains of the Herman Winter can be found scattered over the rocky bottom directly in front of the Red Clay cliffs of Gay Head. To find the wreck form a right angle between the cliffs and the buoy marking the Devils Bridge, the reef where the steamer City of Columbus wrecked in 1884 with a great loss of life. According to author Brad Luther, the steamer's remains lie at the intersection of these two lines.

Historical Background

Constructed: in 1886, at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by builder Wm. Cramp & Sons S.& E.B.Co.
Construction details: built of iron and steel; 3 decks; transverse framing; 4 watertight bulkheads to the freeboard deck; 4 hatches measuring 16'X20'; 2 holds measuring 92 ft.; fuel capacity, 482 tons of coal.
Owners: War Shipping Administration, Washington D.C.; Operator - Dichmann, Wright & Pugh, Inc.
Home or Hailing Port: New York, N.Y.
Official number: 95903. Country: U.S.A.
Other Comments: Wm. Cramp & Sons Hull Number 252; Babcock & Wilcox Co. boilers built in 1925.


Encyclopedia of American Shipwrecks; Berman, 1972
Merchant Vessels of the United States, Vessels Lost Chapter; 1945
New England Shipwrecks; Luther, 1967
The Record, "American Lloyds," American Bureau of Shipping; 1944