Proposed Lake Ontario National Marine Sanctuary

NOAA is asking the public to comment on the possibility of designating a national marine sanctuary in eastern Lake Ontario to protect historically significant shipwrecks and related maritime heritage resources. The agency will hold four public meetings on the proposal announced on April 17, 2019, in the Federal Register. This is the first step in the designation process.

The proposed 1,700-square-mile sanctuary, adjacent to Oswego, Jefferson, Cayuga, and Wayne counties, would protect 21 known shipwrecks and one military aircraft representing events spanning more than 200 years of our nation's history. An additional 47 shipwrecks and two aircraft are also likely located within the proposed sanctuary boundaries, based on historical records.

The proposed sanctuary also includes a separate area surrounding the HMS Ontario, which is both the oldest confirmed shipwreck (1780) and the only fully-intact British warship discovered in the Great Lakes.

The public is invited to weigh in on the proposal during a comment period through July 31, 2019.

The images and videos below can be downloaded in high resolution and may be freely used for press purposes.

screenshot of the document

Proposed Lake Ontario National Marine Sanctuary Summary Document

Credit: NOAA

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Map showing boundary and approximate location of shipwrecks in the proposed national marine sanctuary.

Map showing boundary and approximate location of shipwrecks in the proposed national marine sanctuary.

Map: NOAA

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Divers examiening St Peter shipwreck

Underwater video of the St. Peter shipwreck.

Credit: Nick Zachar/NOAA

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Diver swimming near shipwreck

Underwater video of the David W Mills shipwreck.

Credit: Nick Zachar/NOAA

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divers swim above the St. Peter ship wreck

The wreck of the St. Peter

Credit: NOAA

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divers examing the bow of the St.Peter

The wreck of the St. Peter

Credit: NOAA

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divers examing the bow of the St.Peter

The wreck of the St. Peter

Credit: NOAA

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The wreck of the St.Peter

The wreck of the St. Peter

Credit: NOAA

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A diver swims along the deck of the St.Peter

The wreck of the St. Peter

Credit: NOAA

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A diver swims near the wreck of The St.Peter

A diver swims along the wreck of the St. Peter

Credit: NOAA

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Two divers usining an underwater camera

Two divers using an underwater camera

Credit: NOAA

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historcial photo of the david w. mills

The wreck of the steamer David W. Mills, a typical 19th century cargo vessel, lies within the proposed sanctuary.

Photo courtesy of the Collection of Bowling Green State University

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A diver inspects the bow of a shipwreck

A diver inspects the bow of the suspected steamer Homer Warren.

Photo courtesy of Jill Heinerth

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engraving of british ships attack fort ontario

An engraving by William Steele of the British attack on Fort Oswego in 1814.

Image: William Steele, courtesy of the Collection of Paul Lear

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A diver inspects the bow of Queen of the Lakes

A diver inspects the bow of Queen of the Lakes where the anchor remains in place.  

Photo courtesy of Jill Heinerth

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A diver inspects the stern of Queen of the Lakes

A diver explores the stern of Queen of the Lakes, which remains upright and intact with all three masts still standing after sinking with a cargo of coal in 1906.

Photo courtesy of Jill Heinerth

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view of a lighthouse and a house next to it

Tibett's Point Lighthouse is one of nine lighthouses within the proposed sanctuary area.

Photo courtesy of Ted Van Pelt

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