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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 barge, collier, wood.
Dimensions: length 184.4 ft., width 35.1 ft., depth 16.2 ft.
Tonnage: gross 839, other.

The Shipwreck

Date Sunk: February 13, 1907.
Cause: burned.
Location: Nantucket Sound, east of Nobska Light, Woods Hole.
Coordinates: latitude 41° 28.9' N; longitude 70° 31.6' W.

While bound from Boston for South Amboy, New Jersey, the schooner barge Pemberton caught fire off Nobska Point and burned to the waters edge. There were no fatalities. Valued at $25,000 the vessel was uninsured.

Dive Site Conditions

Coordinates given by the Massachusetts Board of Underwater Archaeological Resources put Pemberton off Hedge Fence Shoal in about 70 feet of water.

Primary source documentation, however, only list the vessel as having "burned to the waters edge off Nobska [Point]."

Brad Luther, in his 1965 publication The Vanishing Fleet, puts Pemberton; "11/4 miles E X N of Nobska Light, Woods Hole", in 37 feet of water at coordinates 41° 31' 14" N and 70° 37' 38" W.

Historical Background

Constructed: in 1899, at Bath, Maine by builder Kelly, Spear & Company.
Construction details: 3 masted.
Crew: 3; Master: E.L Snow (1899).
Owners: Staples Coal Company (1899).
Home or Hailing Port: Fall River, Massachusetts.
Official number: 150815. Country: U.S.A.


A Maritime History of Bath Maine; Vol.II, Baker, 1973
Merchant Vessels of the United States; 1906
Merchant Vessels of the United States, Vessels Lost Chapter; 1907
New York Maritime Register; February 20, 1907
The Vanishing Fleet; Luther, 1965

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