State ID: 18CH511
Vessel Type: Merchant vessel (steamship)
Location: 38°28'28.16"N, 77°16'8.16"W (38.47448, -77.26893) (Duke University, 2016)
Length: 281 feet 10 inches
Breadth: 45 feet 2 inches
Deadweight Tonnage: 3,500
Builder: Jahncke Shipbuilding Corporation, Madisonville, Louisiana
Owner: Titled to the State of Maryland under the Abandoned Shipwreck Act
Flora & Fauna: Vegetation grows principally in the stern and at the forepeak
Significance: United States Shipping Board vessel built for World War I effort
The remains of Bayou Teche lie on its keel, partially submerged, and oriented east to west, with the bow facing the shoreline, with the port side running parallel with the spit. Surveys of the remains recorded the length to be approximately over 268 feet, and approximately 44 feet at beam (width). The stern post and rudder post are both intact. There is the presence of the engine platform, located just aft amidships. There is evidence of ferrous cross strapping and fastenings. Three bulkheads have been identified along with the stem. One of the more intact vessels, such as Aowa, that remain in Mallows Bay, Maryland.
Bayou Teche was built in 1918, by the Jahneck Shipbuilding Corporation at the Jahncke Shipyard along the Tchefuncta River in Madisonville, Louisiana. It was a Ferris-type wooden hulled cargo steamship built for the United States Shipping Board (USSB) as part of the large war effort of World War I. The Jahncke Shipyard employed close to 2,200 workers and went on to build six wooden cargo vessels, like Bayou Teche, for the USSB. Madisonville, Louisiana, continued to be a center for shipbuilding after World War I and into the post-World War II era, but the influx of activity due to the USSB contracts was never quite seen again.
Bayou Teche was among the 95 USSB steamships in the celebrated "Tidal Wave," of national ships launching on July 4, 1918. On this date, close to 100 vessels launched from shipyards all across the United States, marking the greatest ship-launching day in history. Following its launching, Bayou Teche made voyages to Havana, Cuba; Galveston, Texas; and Bordeaux, France. But with the end of the war and a reduction of need for cargo vessels for military and commercial use, Bayou Teche, along with many of the USSB wooden cargo vessels, went out of service. On July 10, 1920, Bayou Teche along with 14 other USSB vessels, including Afrania, were ordered out of service and to be tied up to docks near Norfolk, Virginia. Ultimately, Bayou Teche was transferred to Mallows Bay, Maryland, for salvage and the hull has been in its present location since at least 1929.