Alice M. Lawrence

Find information on this shipwreck and dive site managed by the Massachusetts Board of Underwater Archaeological Resources (BUAR).

BUAR classifies certain shipwrecks and other underwater archaeological resources as "Exempted Sites" for a variety of reasons, including (but not limited to): commonly known location, previous salvage, recreational value, educational value, or lack of significant archaeological or historical value. Recreational diving activities on these sites, including casual artifact collection, do not require a BUAR permit. However, any major disruption of the site is prohibited. The intent of creating an exempted shipwreck site is to preserve such sites for the continued enjoyment of the recreational diving community, who is encouraged to protect these sites for the continued enjoyment of all.

Note: All dives are conducted at your own risk. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts accepts no responsibility for loss of any kind, including personal injury or property damage. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts assumes no liability for inaccuracies in dive information contained in these pages including site locations and dive conditions.

Vessel Details

Description: Schooner, 6-masted, wood.
Dimensions: Length 305.1 ft., width 48.2 ft., depth 22.6 ft.
Tonnage: Gross 2,230, other draft 3,132.
Propulsion: Sail.
Machinery: Steam operated pumps, ten horsepower generator.
Cargo: Empty.

The Shipwreck

Date Sunk: December 5, 1914.
Cause: Stranded.
Location: Tuckernuck Shoal, Nantucket Sound.
Coordinates: Latitude 41° 24' 13" N; Longitude 70° 13' 00" W.

The schooner Alice M. Lawrence struck Tuckernuck Shoal the evening of December 5, 1914 while "bound light" (without cargo) from Portland to Norfolk, probably to pick up a cargo of coal. Heavy seas soon opened its seams and it would have filled completely if not for her powerful steam operated pumps. Running almost constantly, it was all they could do to stem the rising flood. The Revenue cutter Acushnet went to the Alice M. Lawrence's assistance and would have pulled it off, if not for the fear of the schooner's captain that it would fill with water and sink. A wrecking tug from New London was soon alongside the schooner with hopes of refloating it. However, the evening after it struck, 60 mph winds drove the schooner higher on the shoal and seas battered it heavily. Subsequent gales broke the vessel's back before local wreckers could attempt to refloat it.

Historical Background

Constructed: 1906, at Bath, Maine by Percy and Small.
Construction details: Built of white oak and yellow pine she was fastened with galvanized iron and copper fastenings; 2 decks, full poop; fitted with electric running lights, an 800 candlepower searchlight and 75 incandescent lights in its quarters and work areas.
Crew: 13; Master:Captain W.B. Wormell.
Owners: J.S. Winslow & Company.
Home or Hailing Port: Portland, Maine.
Former Name(s) and date(s):
Official number: 203715. Country: U.S.A.
Other Comments: The third of five, six-masted schooners built under contract for the J.S. Winslow Company of Portland Maine. The Alice M. Lawrence was rumored to be the first American-built schooner to be fitted with electric lights. Although that honor more likely belongs to a Rockland built vessel, it was undoubtedly one of the first.

Salvage

December 14; the schooner's crew, who had remained aboard since it grounded, abandoned their ship after stripping it.

Sources

Encyclopedia of American Shipwrecks; Berman, 1972
Merchant Vessels of the United States; Vessels Lost Chapter, 1915
New York Maritime Register; December 9, 16 & 23, 1914
The Maritime History of Bath Maine; Vol.II, 1973
The Record, "American Lloyds," American Bureau of Shipping; 1915

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