The wreck of Paul Palmer

November 2018

Off the coast of Massachusetts, a lonely shipwreck has rested on the seafloor for almost a century. Today, take a trip to the wreck of Paul Palmer in Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary and learn what makes this shipwreck so special!


In Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, a collection of shipwrecks lies on the seafloor, including the schooner Paul Palmer.

[historical photos] At the turn of the 20th century, Paul Palmer carried coal and other cargo along the East Coast.

On Friday the 13th in June 1930, the vessel started its last voyage. While underway, it caught on fire and sank off of Race Point, Massachusetts.

It now lies on a flat sandy bottom at a depth of 80 feet.

Over time, wrecks create homes for many types of organisms.

[use Matt’s drawings] At first fish like cod and wolffish shelter in the structure.

Then, invertebrates coat the wreck, creating an “artificial reef” providing shelter and food for other animals.

Historic wrecks like Paul Palmer are time capsules that hold our stories from the past, while also creating habitat for the animals of today.

Read more about shipwrecks in the sanctuary.