Three Miles from Safety - USS Conestoga 100th Anniversary

March 25, 2021

Robert Schwemmer, West Coast Regional Maritime Heritage Coordinator for NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries; and special guests Peter Hess, family descendant of George Franklin Kaler, Chief Machinist's Mate USS Conestoga; and Alexis Catsambis, Archaeologist for Naval History and Heritage Command

On March 25, 1921, USS Conestoga departed San Francisco Bay's Mare Island en route to Pearl Harbor and vanished with 56 sailors. One of the top unsolved maritime mysteries in U.S Navy history, Conestoga's final resting place was unknown for 95 years.

During a NOAA Maritime Heritage cruise in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary in September 2014, a previously undocumented multibeam sonar target thought to be a shipwreck was investigated. Utilizing a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) launched from the research vessel Fulmar, three survey dives were conducted to characterize the target, which proved to be a 170-foot-long steel-hulled steam-powered ocean-going tug of late 19th or early 20th century vintage.

On March 23, 2016, after additional investigation and research, NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and the U.S. Navy announced the discovery of the wreck of USS Conestoga within the sanctuary waters, closing the ship's final chapter and honoring the lost sailors.

Relive Conestoga's history, final voyage, and ultimate discovery. Learn about the technology and detective work that goes into shipwreck identification. Find out about NOAA maritime heritage resources and before the webinar, watch "Three Miles from Safety: The Story of the USS Conestoga," a Blue Ocean Film Festival finalist.

This webinar is presented by NOAA's Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary and the U.S. Navy History and Heritage Command.