Scuba Diving The C.B. Benson Schooner

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The published report below was reproduced from:

Buffalo Evening News 
Wednesday, October 18, 1893

The Schooner Lost In Gravelly Bay Is The C.B. Benson for Toledo.

The schooner sunk in Gravelly Bay is the C.B. Benson, which left Buffalo Friday for Toledo. She had seven men on board, all of whom are drowned. 

Capt. D.W. Carter of Port Colborne telegraphs: “Tugs visited the wreck and she is loaded with coal. Her foremast is gone and the remaining topmasts are painted black. I believe it is the C.B. Benson. Have just sent another tug with a diver and will telegraph you later.” 

No bodies have been found. Not a single body of the crew of nine men on the J.C. Finnelly, which went down last fall in the Bay, was ever recovered. The G.M. Case, the Monticello Onticello and E.P. Dorr were lost near the same spot and only one man’s body found.

Captain Duff of the C.B. Benson was one of the best-known navigators in this county. 

Benson
C.B. Benson

Scuba diving the C.B. Benson

She is a beautiful 3-masted Barquentine schooner situated off Gravelly Bay, just outside Port Colborne in 78 feet of water, and the video was produced by Dan’s Dive Shop.

In 1873, at Port Clinton, Ohio, the C.B. Benson was built with the idea of improving bulk trade between the Great Lakes and Europe. Made with heavier timbers, a larger sheer and barquentine rigging she was certainly built for ocean passage and the builders had faith in the schooner’s efficiency. C.B. Benson’s maiden voyage was to be from Toledo, Ohio, to Cork, Ireland.

Her recognition contributed to several years of trips across the Atlantic before she permanently returned to the Great Lakes in 1880. On October 14, 1893, she experienced a massive storm, when she was bound on Lake Erie for Detroit. It was Lake Erie that took her underwater to her final resting place after taking everything that the mighty Atlantic Ocean gave her.

Today the C.B. Benson sits upright and is a 136 foot long, well-preserved shipwreck. A great photo opportunity is the ship’s wheel, just ahead of her lifeboat davits, dead eyes, fife rails and belaying pins, booms and bilge pumps. Visibility varies between 15′-25′ to 50′

Dive the C. B. Benson with Dan’s Dive Shop. They have regular dive charters available to the C.B. Benson and many of the other Lake Erie and Lake Ontario Shipwrecks.

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Learn more at: https://dansdiveshop.ca/

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Kathy is the owner of Kirk Scuba Gear, a passionate Scuba Diver, Ocean Advocate and Managing Editor of The Scuba News Canada

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